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.

Daphné Lubert Perquel

The CDT provided me with the tools to develop my career as a researcher and to participate in Outreach activities to broaden my skills. I really enjoyed my time as a student in the CDT and look forward to continuing collaborations with the research groups there.