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Graduate Researcher Recognized at National Technology Conference

By: Cienna Madrid   Published 12:43 pm / July 20, 2017

Twinkle Pandhi standing with a conference sponsor.

Twinkle Pandhi (right) receives her award from Mike Banach, technical director of research and development at FlexEnable, a poster award sponsor.

Twinkle Pandhi, a graduate student in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering, received a student travel award and a second-place poster award at the 2017 FLEX Conference, the nation’s leading forum for flexible, printed and hybrid electronics technology. The conference hosted more than 26 technical sessions and featured international presenters who share the common goal of creating faster, smarter and more economical electronic devices for everyday use.

“The Flex Conference was truly a valuable experience for me,” said Pandhi. “I was really amazed to see the cohesiveness between industries and universities in creating a resourceful environment for emerging flexible and printed technology.”

Pandhi’s research focuses on understanding the physics behind power dissipation in aerosol jet printed graphene interconnects. Power dissipation relates current flow to voltage in electronic devices, which can lead to severe internal temperature increases. Power dissipation is a limiting factor in current silicon based computer processors. This is why laptops can heat up significantly, requiring cooling technologies to prevent serious burns. New materials such as graphene have shown potential to improve the efficiency of electronic devices by reducing the temperature rise associated with power dissipation.

“To our knowledge, Twinkle’s research represents the first study of power dissipation in printed graphene interconnects,” said Dave Estrada, Pandhi’s graduate advisor and co-director of the Boise State Advanced Nanomaterials and Manufacturing Laboratory. “Understanding the limiting factors in power dissipation of printed graphene may help expedite the adoption of this material in flexible and printed electronics applications, particularly if it can be printed in a roll-to-roll fashion.”

Pandhi continues to conduct her award-winning research in collaboration with the PrintTronics Research Group at Air Force Research Laboratories led by Emily Heckman, Jessica Koehne of the Center for Nanotechnology at NASA Ames Research Center and assistant professor Feng Xiong’s group in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. The team’s diverse expertise allows a comprehensive approach to research that encompasses materials synthesis and characterization, device fabrication and characterization, and multiphysics modeling. This method of collaborative research has led to new insights that demonstrate the effects of materials structure, properties and processing on the performance of printed graphene devices. Printed graphene devices have dozens of potential uses, such as touch screens in consumer electronics, wearable and stretchable biosensors for monitoring hydration and stress, and environmental monitoring systems for managing the condition of temperature-sensitive inventory like agricultural products and pharmaceuticals.

Pandhi received an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2015, she enrolled in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering graduate program. Pandhi is a valued graduate research assistant in the Advanced Nanomaterials and Manufacturing Laboratory, which is co-directed by Estrada and Harish Subbaraman in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Pandhi continues her collaborative research on printing two-dimensional materials and devices over a summer internship at the Center for Nanotechnology at NASA Ames Research Center.