Abdurrahman is a 2nd Year PhD Student in the Optical and Semiconductor Devices Group and is supervised by Dr Kristel Fobelets.

Where and what did you study for your undergraduate degree?

I studied here in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at Imperial for my undergraduate degree.

Why did you choose to study at Imperial?

Initially I was looking at undergraduate degrees in the UK which combined engineering with management studies as well, so I applied to universities running those sorts of courses, and was successful with a place here.

Why did you decide to stay to do a PhD here?

I did my final year undergraduate project with Dr Fobelets, and I asked her if there was any chance carry on with the project at PhD level, and if there were any funding opportunities available. The department offered me a scholarship.

Could you summarise your PhD Project:

My project is looking at energy generation and storage using silicon nanostructures. Initially, as with my final year project, I was looking into converting heat energy into electrical energy, which could be used in waste heat energy recovery. Recently, I’ve been looking into harnessing the increased surface area of the nanostructures for use as a supercapacitor, an electrical storage device similar to a rechargeable battery, with improved power delivery and cycle life.

What do you enjoy most about your PhD?

It’s very flexible, and I like the GTA work because it means that I get to work with the first and second years undergraduates who are studying what I did four or five years ago.  

What do you think of the facilities?

The facilities are very good. Most of my work is done in the clean room facilities, I spend a lot of my time in the lab fabricating devices and testing them out.

What are you hoping to do after your PhD? 

It’s a bit early for me to say. I am not certain, but I think it’s most likely that I will stay in Academia, but whether in research or teaching I am not sure.

What’s it like living and studying in London?

Central London is one of the best places to study I would say.  You can get everything here. There is a wide mix of people and places which is good.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to study a PhD here?

It’s important to realise that it’s a very big transition from undergraduate studies or taught postgraduate courses to a PhD, in the sense that you are not told what to do. You are more on your own and you have to think about how to do and plan things. The supervisor guides rather than tells you what to do.  The objectives are not always clear and you have to define them as you go along. This transition can take a while to get used to.