Bharati Neelamraju, a PhD candidate in materials science and engineering, is one of the 12 2018 Carson Scholars at the University of Arizona. The scholarship is awarded to graduate students who research environmental issues and provides training for scientists on how to communicate their work to public audiences.
Neelamraju’s research in Erin Ratcliff’s lab is focused on organic semiconductors, which are more cost-effective, flexible and environmentally friendly than their organic counterparts. Flexible electronics could be used for applications like monitoring biomarker levels in sweat or tracking physical activity like a FitBit.
“We’re using organic materials to increase the functionality of the current generation of electronics, most of which are silicon-based,” Neelamraju said. “These are not commercially viable right now, but they will be. That part excites me -- we are working on things that will happen and have not exactly been done before.”