Ece Aktas, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Emilio Palomares, has defended her PhD thesis entitled “Low-Molecular Weight Molecules as Selective Contacts for Perovskite Solar Cells” (assigned to the Physical and Inorganic Chemistry Department of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili) publicly on October 4th.
The members of the evaluation committee were: Prof. Jenny Nelson (Imperial College London), Prof. Josep Pallares (URV) and Annamaria Petrozza (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia).
Ece Aktas is from Erzincan, a small city in Turkey. She obtained her masters’ degree in Chemistry at the Middle East Technical University in 2016. She then moved to Tarragona and joined ICIQ to pursue her PhD in the Palomares group. She likes reading at home, but also running, swimming, and hiking with ICIQ’s mountain group.
Why did you become a scientist?
When I was a child, I defined myself as an explorer because I liked to learn new things about animals and nature. In high school, I became interested in chemistry thanks to my teachers and the experiments I did. Now, I am interested in working in the sustainable energy field and improve the technology we have now available.
From the skills developed at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
During these years I had to write various manuscripts and proposals so my writing skills really improved. This has also helped me to write a better thesis and I think it will be helpful in the future.
What surprised you the most the first time you came to ICIQ?
That I didn’t feel alone. Everybody was so helpful, from my group to the receptionists, including the officers at the scientific facilities or administration. Thanks to this it was easy to begin in this new environment.
From your experience at ICIQ, what do you think we can improve?
I would like for ICIQ to have more social activities – when it’s safe for everyone to do so, of course. In my opinion, these activities would be especially helpful for foreign researchers, since there are people of different nationalities that don’t have English as their native language. I enjoyed the mountain group, but I would hope for other activities too, like movie nights (as it was proposed before the pandemic) or some games for the nerds.
Where are you going next? What will you do there?
I will begin a postdoc in the Prof. Antonio Abate group (Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II). Where I will continue working on perovskites, but without using lead this time. The idea is to avoid using harmful chemicals.
If you were a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?
A thermoshaker, it’s a multipurpose and useful instrument if you do not enjoy cleaning tiny magnetic stirrers. I used it during my PhD and my internship. I love to use it!
What is your favourite molecule?
The water molecule! It has partial negative/positive charges and hydrogen bonds that give it unusual properties. Also, it’s a good solvent for reactions but you can still drink it!