Skip to main content

 Students research Milky Way, build their own OLED light 

 

SPOTLIGHT

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2010
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:

Office: 724.738.4854

Cell: 724.991.8302

                                                                                                                         

Students research Milky Way, build their own OLED light

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Astronomers have been gazing toward the heavens in search of knowledge since ancient times.  Slippery Rock University students Christine Carmichael and Chanel Jackson expanded their understanding of space by researching the characteristics of the most famous galaxy, the Milky Way.
            "The Milky Way interested me because everyone looks at the stars at some point or another," said Carmichael, a theatre major from Erie. "It is only when we look further into the structure of the universe that we realize how incredibly small our solar system and in fact our galaxy, really are."
            Their project, "The Wonders of The Milky Way," surveyed the structure, shape, movement and new discoveries about the Milky Way galaxy. They overviewed theories about how the galaxy formed, its composition and interrelated material to its surroundings. Both students presented at SRU's research symposium this spring.
           "In order to create our poster, we had to complete extensive research regarding the Milky Way galaxy through academic journals, textbooks and Internet sources," said Jackson, a communication major from Pittsburgh. "I was astonished to discover that the Milky Way is 100,000 to 120,000 light years in diameter."
               The Milky Way includes our own solar system and all of the stars that can be distinguished in the night sky. Astronomers estimate the Milky Way consists of up to 400 billion stars and is only one of billions of galaxies in the universe.
            Carmichael and Jackson collaborated with Krishna Mukherjee, assistant professor of physics, and began their research during her honors astronomy class. The students said they focused on some of the new discoveries about the Milky Way. Until recently, it was thought that the Milky Way was a spiral galaxy with stars orbiting a massive black hole at the center. Based on infrared observations with the University of Wisconsin's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists now believe the Milky Way is bar shaped. The bar spans 14,000 light years in length from either side of the black hole. The solar system is located about 26,000 light years away from its center, the students learned.
            "We did not set a goal to prove anything or discover anything new," Carmichael said. "We simply wanted to provide people, including ourselves, with a bit more than the basic knowledge about the Milky Way. It was more like digging a bit more beyond the surface to see what we could unearth, without bringing out the backhoe. We did not receive any information that we were shocked by, but much of it was very new and therefore exciting and intriguing to us."
          The pair explored the latest theories about the galaxy's origin.  Jackson said most astronomers now believe the Milky Way didn't come together at once time but gradually formed from dwarf galaxies. Jackson said she was surprised by the immensity of the galaxy. "It is important to acknowledge how insignificant humans are in the universe," she said.
           Jackson, who graduates Saturday, said the research experience and presenting at SRU's research symposium boosted her interpersonal skills.
        "The poster is currently in my online portfolio, which I can show to prospective employers," she said. "Before entering SRU, I never imagined all the opportunities that I would participate in that have strengthened my character and made me a well-rounded student. I appreciated that SRU gives students the opportunity to display their research."
            Carmichael said, "The project helped me as a scholar because I was able to focus on helping others to understand a topic that I spent so much time. It is very important to be able to express ideas to anyone. This project helped me greatly in this area."
          "
Chanel and Christine are both in the Honors Program, where students are encouraged to appreciate academics from all perspectives," Mukherjee said. "One major component of academia is doing research. They did an extensive literature survey from journals and by presenting a poster at the SRU symposium they learned how to present their ideas in a coherent form in the format of a poster."
            Steve Graner, a physics major from Ingram, has been busy as well this spring conducting physics research at SRU. He researched and then constructed an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) light bulb from scratch. OLEDS are composed of organic compound materials that emit white visible light when current passes through them. They are powerful and extremely efficient compared to standard light bulbs, he said. An OLED light bulb is actually a thin film of material that emits bright, white light.
            Graner and David Allen, a physics major from Orlean, N.Y., researched the relationship between the amount of current applied to the OLED and its intensity, thus finding the optimal current for the OLED light they created so that they could compare it to something a company could produce. Using photosensitive paper, they exposed their light at various voltage and found that 6.5 volts created the largest exposure on the paper, Graner said.
            "It is interesting research because this is new technology. It's not in the stores yet," Graner said. "It is still being perfected, tested and made cost effective as we speak. We wanted to take a hands-on approach and build our own OLED light from scratch to really understand how it works."
          "The interesting thing about OLED technology is it is very applicable, since it is very ductile," Allen said. "OLEDs can be stretched, bent, cut and layered to produce the desired shape. One application that we considered was making OLED wallpaper. They could light a room and change the color of the wall based on the preference of the occupants of the room."             Mukherjee said OLED technology could revolutionize television display screens that would be lighter and more flexible than liquid crystals displays. Scientists are experimenting with OLEDs in the hope of creating televisions that are 3 mm (0.1 inches) thick, she said.
            "We would like to thank Dr. Mukherjee and the physics department especially for encouraging us through this experience and providing us with funding to follow through with what we really wanted to do," Graner said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students research Milky Way, build their own OLED light

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Astronomers have been gazing toward the heavens in search of knowledge since ancient times.  Slippery Rock University students Christine Carmichael and Chanel Jackson expanded their understanding of space by researching the characteristics of the most famous galaxy, the Milky Way.
            "The Milky Way interested me because everyone looks at the stars at some point or another," said Carmichael, a theatre major from Erie. "It is only when we look further into the structure of the universe that we realize how incredibly small our solar system and in fact our galaxy, really are."
            Their project, "The Wonders of The Milky Way," surveyed the structure, shape, movement and new discoveries about the Milky Way galaxy. They overviewed theories about how the galaxy formed, its composition and interrelated material to its surroundings. Both students presented at SRU's research symposium this spring.
           "In order to create our poster, we had to complete extensive research regarding the Milky Way galaxy through academic journals, textbooks and Internet sources," said Jackson, a communication major from Pittsburgh. "I was astonished to discover that the Milky Way is 100,000 to 120,000 light years in diameter."
               The Milky Way includes our own solar system and all of the stars that can be distinguished in the night sky. Astronomers estimate the Milky Way consists of up to 400 billion stars and is only one of billions of galaxies in the universe.
            Carmichael and Jackson collaborated with Krishna Mukherjee, assistant professor of physics, and began the work during her honors astronomy class. The students said they focused on some of the new discoveries about the Milky Way. Until recently, it was thought that the Milky Way was a spiral galaxy with stars orbiting a massive black hole at the center. Based on infrared observations with the University of Wisconsin's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists now believe the Milky Way is bar shaped. The bar spans 14,000 light years in length from either side of the black hole and at the two ends have at its center with more loosely bound, spiral arms. The solar system is located about 26,000 light years away from its center, the students learned.
            "We did not set a goal to prove anything or discover anything new," Carmichael said. "We simply wanted to provide people, including ourselves, with a bit more than the basic knowledge about the Milky Way. It was more like digging a bit more beyond the surface to see what we could unearth, without bringing out the backhoe. We did not receive any information that we were shocked by, but much of it was very new and therefore exciting and intriguing to us."
          The pair explored the latest theories about the galaxy's origin.  Jackson said most astronomers now believe the Milky Way didn't come together at once time but gradually formed from dwarf galaxies. Jackson said she was surprised by the immensity of the galaxy. "It is important to acknowledge how insignificant humans are in the universe," she said.
           Jackson, who graduates Saturday, said the research experience and presenting at SRU's research symposium boosted her interpersonal skills.
        "The poster is currently in my online portfolio, which I can show to prospective employers," she said. "Before entering SRU, I never imagined all the opportunities that I would participate in that have strengthened my character and made me a well-rounded student. I appreciated that SRU gives students the opportunity to display their research."
            Carmichael said, "The project helped me as a scholar because I was able to focus on helping others to understand a topic that I spent so much time. It is very important to be able to express ideas to anyone. This project helped me greatly in this area."
          "
Chanel and Christine are both in the Honors Program, where students are encouraged to appreciate academics from all perspective," Mukherjee said. "One major component of academia is doing research. They did an extensive literature survey from journals and by presenting a poster at the SRU symposium they learned how to present their ideas in a coherent form in the format of a poster."
            Steve Graner, a physics major from Ingram, has been busy conducting physics research at SRU as well this spring. He researched and then constructed an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) light bulb from scratch. OLEDS are composed of organic compound materials that emit white visible light when current passes through them. They are powerful and extremely efficient compared to standard light bulbs, he said. An OLED light bulb is actually a thin film of material that emits brought, white light.
            Graner and David Allen, a physics major from Orlean, N.Y., researched the relationship between the amount of current applied to the OLED and its intensity, thus finding the optimal current.
            "It is interesting research because this is new technology. It's not in the stores yet," Graner said. "It is still being perfected, tested and made cost effective as we speak. We wanted to take a hands-on approach and build our own OLED light from scratch to really understand how it works."
          "The interesting thing about OLED technology is it is very applicable, since it is very ductile," Allen said. "OLEDs can be stretched, bent, cut and layered to produce the desired shape. One application that we considered was making OLED wallpaper. They could light a room and change the color of the wall based on the preference of the occupants of the room."             Mukherjee said OLED technology could revolutionize television display screens that would be lighter and more flexible than liquid crystals displays. Scientists are experimenting with OLEDs in the hope of creating televisions that are 3 mm thick, she said.
            "We would like to thank Dr. Mukherjee and the physics department especially for encouraging us through this experience and providing us with funding to follow through with what we really wanted to do," Graner said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to view the Economic Impact Report

Click here to view the Economic Impact Report