Louise OldhamStart date: 04-10-2021
Academic department: Chemistry
Title of research: Fabrication and Kinetic Evaluation of Heterojunction Photoelectrodes for Solar Driven Fuel Generation
Academic supervisor: Professor James Durrant
Native country: UK

How has the scholarship award enabled you to pursue your ambitions?

The main motivation in my career is to use my scientific skills to contribute to global sustainability solutions. I was lucky enough to carry out my Master’s research project in the Durrant group, investigating a photoanode material for photoelectrochemical water splitting. This introduced me to the field of solar fuels, a method of capturing and storing solar energy, and I loved using such interesting science to tackle our global energy challenge. It was a fantastic opportunity to work in such a collaborative and supportive group alongside driven, motivated, and accomplished scientists. I was keen to continue my work in the Durrant group through a PhD, and the Schrödinger Scholarship has made this possible.

Why did you choose to study at Imperial?

I first came to Imperial in 2019 for the MRes course in Green Chemistry: Energy and the Environment. I was drawn to Imperial for the strong theme of sustainability that runs through so much of the research that takes place here, as well as the opportunity to study at one of the world’s leading universities in the middle of such a vibrant city. Following on from my MRes project, I was keen to stay at Imperial to contribute to the exciting research being carried out in the Durrant group.

What are your thoughts about the programme so far? What have you been up to since you started?

My work so far has focused on spectroscopic measurements of bismuth vanadate-based photoanode materials, as well as supporting a Master’s student in a related project.

Outside of the lab, I have been continuing my outreach work at Imperial, helping out with the Centre for Processable Electronics’ activity at the Great Exhibition Road Festival in October 2021, running a Saturday Science Club session at Imperial's Invention Rooms, and most recently co-hosting a green energy-themed webinar for the Great Exhibition Road Festival at Home series. I am also part of the third cohort of the Transition to Zero Pollution Initiative and am looking forward to getting stuck into our Challenge Team group project this year.