Seán Kavanagh visits the Max Planck Institute in Germany

Seán Kavanagh

In this news item Seán Kavanagh reflects on a recent successful collaboration with colleagues at the Max Planck Institute.

In October & November 2021, I had the fantastic opportunity to visit and work alongside the  research group of Dr Christoph Freysoldt (and in fact the entire MPIE Computational Modelling department, headed by Prof Jorg Neugebauer) in the Max Planck Institute in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Picture of Seán Kavanagh
Seán taking in the view of the Rhine and Fernsehturm (TV Tower) on a cold Sunday afternoon in Düsseldorf

It was a hugely beneficial experience for my development as an early-career researcher. Being exposed to a very different research environment, with a much smaller group size and a more intense ‘hands-on’ approach (due to the relatively short period of my stay), gave me many new perspectives. Dr Freysoldt and I had many deep scientific discussions about our work, and as he says, we learned a great deal from each other on our respective areas of expertise. I particularly appreciated the non-scientific insights I picked up from many lunchtime discussions with Dr Freysoldt, learning about important aspects of career development that are often overlooked by aspiring academics.

In working closely and intensively with Dr Freysoldt, we were able to combine the expertise in non-radiative recombination (developed in my PhD with Profs Scanlon & Walsh) with that of Dr Freysoldt (modelling defect processes), to produce cutting insights into the dynamic behaviour of point defects in solids and the potential impact on device performance in solar cells and LEDs. This work has since been written up and will be discussed at the Faraday Discussions conference in Bath, July 2022.

Seán thanks the Max Planck Institute and the Thomas Young Centre for partly funding this visit through the ‘Coffee with Max Planck’ and ‘Junior Research Fellowship’ awards.

Joshua Bailey

Being part of the CDT-ACM was an all-round fantastic experience; I not only received great training in a range of advanced characterisation techniques, but I also made strong links with industry and strong bonds with my cohort which have both led to fruitful collaborations.