Duke ECE Postdoc Wins Beckman Fellowship

May 18, 2022

Rachel Bangle will study the potential for nanoplasmonic metamaterials to enable solar energy storage

Rachel Bangle

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation has announced its 2022 class of Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows in chemical sciences. Among the 14 new fellows is Rachel Bangle, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Maiken Mikkelsen, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke. 

Fellows conduct research in the chemical sciences or chemical instrumentation and are selected after a three-part review led by a panel of scientific experts.The fellowships provide salary and research support to postdoctoral scholars with the highest potential for success in an independent academic career in the chemical sciences. This is meant to assist in moving from mentored yet independent research to tenure-track positions, according to the Beckman Foundation. 

Bangle studies metamaterials, a class of synthetic materials whose many individual engineered featuresproduce properties not found in nature. As an Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow, Bangle will investigate how nanoplasmonic metamaterials could be used in photocatalytic water oxidation, a reaction used to store solar energy as a liquid fuel and to be accessed when the sun is not shining.   

Nanoplasmonic metamaterials paired with lanthanide-doped nanoparticles have the potential to selectively convert low-energy near infrared light to high-energy ultraviolet light, which would make it possible to use a much more significant portion of solar light for this reaction,” explained Bangle.Success in this research would allow more expanded use of solar energy, especially for applications that are difficult to electrify. 

Bangle’s research will begin in July 2022 and is projected to extend to May 2024.  

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