August 22, 2014  

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Southern Miss Students to be Recognized at Governor’s Energy Summit

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Several University of Southern Mississippi students currently involved in solar cell research will be recognized for their efforts as part of Gov. Phil Bryant’s “Energy and Economic Development in the 21st Century” summit set for Oct. 4 at the Jackson Convention Complex.

The student researchers are working closely to identify renewable energy sources under the direction of Southern Miss professors Sarah Morgan and James Rawlins in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials and professors Gordon Cannon and Sabine Heinhorst in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“Renewable energy is an exciting growth industry for Mississippi,” said Morgan. “Our Governor recognizes the great potential of our students to innovate and contribute. We are delighted that our students will be recognized in this important event.” 

The student researchers will be recognized on stage prior to lunch and before the keynote address by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Those scheduled to be recognized include: undergraduate students Kelly McLeod, Alexandria Jarriel and Robert Boswell; graduate student Qi Wu; and post-doctoral fellows Mithun Bhattacharya and Biswas Avijit.

The Southern Miss research team is utilizing nanotechnology to improve the conversion efficiency and cost-effectiveness of organic – or polymer-based – solar cells, which provide renewable energy through the capture of sunlight and conversion to electricity.

Polymer organic photovoltaic cells (OPVs) feature distinct advantages over silicon-based conventional solar cells due to their ease of fabrication, lower weight, flexibility and reduced cost.

To learn more about the solar cells research project and see a related video, visit: http://www.usm.edu/news/article/researchers-look-ways-provide-portable-energy-organic-solar-cells