April 4, 2013
As university's first Lawrence scholar, doctoral student is researching at national laboratory
Kansas State University doctoral student Clint Frye is receiving national recognition for his success as a student and his research developing new semiconductors.
Frye, doctoral student in chemical engineering, Haddam, has been named a Lawrence scholar by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif. He is the university's first recipient of the prestigious award and one of 12 scholars chosen this year.
The Lawrence Scholar Program recruits scientific and engineering talent to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. As a scholar, Frye will spend four years conducting collaborative research at the laboratory and at the university. Frye is spending 75 percent of his time researching at the California laboratory and 25 percent of his time performing related research on semiconductors at Kansas State University.
"This is a researcher's dream," Frye said. "There are such great facilities and scientific expertise at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and I have access to so many resources, including scientists who are the best in their fields."
While at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Frye is performing research with principal investigator Rebecca Nikolic on betavoltaics, which are devices that directly convert nuclear radiation to electrical energy. By coupling a semiconductor and a radioactive beta particle emitter, the researchers want to develop betavoltaic cells that can provide power for decades. These types of batteries can provide a small amount of electricity for a long time, making them useful for powering satellites, deep-sea monitors or even pacemakers and other medical devices.
Frye is learning to design, fabricate and test these semiconductor devices using novel materials.
"This type of research is very promising," Frye said. "This type of battery has been around for awhile, but now research efforts are focusing on making these batteries more practical."
During his time at Kansas State University, Frye is continuing research with his adviser James Edgar, professor and head of the department of chemical engineering. As part of Edgar's research team, Frye is working on semiconductors that can be used for radiation detection.
"The Lawrence scholar program is a wonderful opportunity for Clint to work at one of the world's best research facilities," Edgar said. "While at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Clint will have access to excellent materials synthesis and characterization facilities and experts in the field of his research. This experience will greatly advance and amplify Clint's research and should help our work to gain wider recognition. This experience will help to achieve K-State's 2025 goal of being recognized as a Top 50 public research university."
Being named a Lawrence scholar also helps propel Frye's career goals of working in a research laboratory. He said he was looking forward to building his academic network and developing new collaborations.
"This is what I want to do and it is a fantastic opportunity at one of the world's premier laboratories," Frye said. "It will enable me to do research that I might not be able to do anywhere in the country or the world."