Exciton wins the race at 3MT comp


PhD candidate David Ompong has won the CDU 3MT final

PhD candidate David Ompong has won the CDU 3MT final

The story of the hare and the tortoise has helped a PhD student explain the difference between singlet versus triplet exciton diffusion in organic solar cells to take out the 2015 Charles Darwin University Three Minute Thesis Competition final.

School of Engineering and Information Technology PhD candidate David Ompong also took home the People’s Choice award for his presentation: “Singlet versus triplet exciton diffusion in organic solar cells: the Hare and the Tortoise”.

“It is estimated that within the next 40 to 60 years the world will run into an energy crisis,” David said. “We also have a moral obligation to reduce the use of fossil fuels due to their impact on the environment.”

Adhering to the strict rules of the competition, David used a single PowerPoint slide as his only visual aid and had a three-minute time limit to provide the audience with a summary of his PhD research.

“As part of my research I have created a theoretical model that will assist with extracting the maximum amount of energy from organic solar cells,” he said. “The farther and faster the exciton moves the more energy can be extracted.”

David skilfully likened his research to a well-known fable to address the judging criteria of comprehension and content, and engagement and education.

“It is like the story of the tortoise and the hare,” he said. “The singlet exciton moves very fast, but does not last as long. The triplet exciton moves very slow, but lasts much longer. I am hoping to contribute to the optimisation and design of organic solar cells through exciton diffusion.”

The Three Minute Thesis Competition aims to celebrate the research of PhD candidates, and cultivate their academic, presentation and research communication skills.

As the winner of the CDU final, David received a $1500 research grant. He was also awarded the People’s Choice prize, taking home a further $500 research grant. The runner up was PhD candidate Paul Lawton based at Menzies School of Health Research, who received a $500 research grant for his presentation entitled: “The outcomes of chronic kidney disease amongst Indigenous Australians”.

David will represent the Northern Territory at the Trans-Tasman final, which will be held at the University of Queensland on Friday 2 October, to compete for a share of $8000 worth of research grants.

The judging panel was chaired by Member for Nightcliff Ms Natasha Fyles MLA, who was joined by Northern Territory International Education and Training Hub General Manager Mark Darby and former Principal of Leanyer School and Commonwealth Centenary Medal recipient Henry Gray.


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