Mr Arjun Ashoka (2019)
Having grown up in sunny, dry India I was exposed early on to issues of sustainability due to severe water shortages in my school and the surrounding regions. The capacity of science to systematically develop sustainable and renewable technologies has become apparent to me through my BSc in Physics at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai and my MASt in Physics at Cambridge. One of the most exciting areas of development is that of photovoltaics. We have so far been limited in our capacity to harness energy from the sun due to our inability to control sunlight - solar panels require direct sunlight. Harvesting diffuse light - the kind that bounces of buildings and clouds - is in some sense 'forbidden' due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics - diffuse light is 'disordered', and 'ordering' it means we reduce the entropy of the system. I plan to spend my PhD in the optoelectronics group at the Cavendish exploring ways around this limitation - through the use of Luminescent Solar Concentrators and carrier multiplication photophysics. In order to effectively study these systems and tweak their entropy management, I will explore the fundamental processes of thermalisation and localisation. Through my PhD in Physics I will strive to develop an understanding of the fundamental physics of these systems in order to eventually make a pass at efficient harvesting of diffuse light.