Engineering in Academia

Here is an interview with Jinhui Song, who is currently a candidate for a doctorate in philosophy of engineering.  this is a growing field that focuses on engineerings ethical and philisophical questions, while requring the candidate to be in the engineering field rather then of a liberal arts backround.  This is something in dire need today where we must ask questions of science rather then blindly moving forward, or doing something simply because we can.  This growing field can also focus on the many ethical scientfic issues of our time from global warming, to cloning and abortion.

Jinhui’s  English is not perfect so please understand that. I tried to edit it as much as possible to make more sense. to understand the article better read more about it here, then read about piezoelectric properties of Zinc Oxide ZnO, and therefore its ability to be a sustainable self generating source of energy.  The potential for this to help with sustainable “green energy” is infinite, in addition to providing advancements with life saving implanted medical devices.

-Can you briefly summarize what you do and what you’re working on right now?

1. I am a postdoc in School of Materials Science and Engineering of Georiga Institute of Technology. I am doing research on nanogenerators.  Nanogenerator are small generators based on nanoscaole materials. The nanogenerator we fabricated is based on ZnO nanowires. The typical ZnO nanowires are around 50 nanometer in diameter, 1 to 2 micrometer in length. As the mechanical deformation is made to the ZnO nanowire, antisymmetry of the ions would accumulate potential difference.  Then the device could convert the energy from its mechanical form to electrical (electricity).
2. Technique becomes critical when going to nanoscale. The nanogenerator we made has huge potential in applications. First, it can be made on the nanoscale. Many nanosensors have been fabricated today. Those nanosensors need power supply. But there is no technique which can provide the power in the same dimension as those sensors, (due to their small size) which impedes the application in bio-related research and applications. For example, the sensors(device) in a living cell,  which still needs power to work. But it is very difficult to implant a normal battery or any power source in a micro meter scale living cell?  Second, some modern equipment needs to work wirelessly. the nanogenerators we work on could harvest energy from the environment such as virbration energy, ultrasonic wave, muscle stretch ing, et al..

-In your abstract on self-powered nanosystems, nanoscale size technology harvests energy from their environment, how do you believe your research in piezoelectricity, could impact sustainability?

3. As a researcher on materials science and engineering. I have great interest to find new materials and technique which could bring human benefits. People could live more comfortably and convenience.

-What advice would you give to a new graduate considering a doctorate in your field.

4. For a new graduate, I strongly recommend them to read more and know the front of current research. To Find them the  major they would want to pursue. Foundational fields such as math and physics should be solidified.
Thanks professor and good luck with your intriguing research.


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