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Clean Energy Solutions for Public Health in Puerto Rico

Electrical engineering PhD student Mareldi Ahumada installs solar panels with a Jayuya community member. Photo: Dennis Wise / University of Washington

Chemical engineering professor Lilo Pozzo and a group of CEI researchers and public health scientists traveled to Jayuya, Puerto Rico this spring. The team visited homes and community centers, interviewing dozens of caregivers and residents who use electronic medical devices, as part of a long-term field study on the impact of power loss on public health. They also donated and installed 17 solar-battery nanogrid systems — prototypes of a sustainable, clean energy infrastructure that can buoy public health in rural areas when power grids fail (in addition to the four systems they installed on a November trip). Read about their work here. Pozzo and her team hope to return later this summer.
Pushing Magnetic Materials to the Atomically-Thin Limit

Researchers sandwiched two atomic layers of CrI3 between graphene contacts and measured the electron flow through the CrI3. Photo: Tiancheng Song

Magnetic materials are the backbone of modern digital information technologies, such as hard-disk storage. A UW-led team has now taken this one step further by encoding information using magnets that are just a few layers of atoms in thickness. This breakthrough may revolutionize both cloud computing technologies and consumer electronics by enabling data storage at a greater density and improved energy efficiency. In a study published in Science, the researchers report that they used stacks of ultrathin materials to exert unprecedented control over the flow of electrons based on the direction of their spins — where the electron “spins” are analogous to tiny, subatomic magnets. The team used instruments in CEI’s Research Training Testbed for this research. Read the full story featuring physics grad student Tiancheng Song and physics postdoc Xinghan Cai from CEI member faculty Xiaodong Xu’s lab here.
Inspiring Future Engineers

Gabriella Tosado building solar cars with middle school students. Photo: Tara Brown / University of Washington

Gabriella Tosado is a CEI Education Fellow and chemical engineering PhD student. Read about her clean energy research and passion for inspiring underrepresented students - particularly young women and students of color - to pursue STEM disciplines and careers here. 
Copyright © 2018 University of Washington Clean Energy Institute, All rights reserved.

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