Student Spotlight

The Grossman Group, Priyank Vijaya Kumar


Hometown, Country
Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Academic history prior to coming to MIT
B. Tech. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India.

What brought you to MIT?
In addition to being one of the top technological schools in the world, MIT faculty’s key areas of investigation lie in energy and nanotechnology with an emphasis on computational materials science, and overlap with my own research interests. I learned that work at MIT is not just limited to one’s lab space, and that there are ample opportunities for students to explore and learn from the outside world, which I felt was an essential part of being a grad student.

What problem are you trying to solve with your current research and what are some possible applications?
Currently, I’m trying to understand key optical and electronic properties of a novel nanomaterial called graphene oxide through computational and experimental research. Graphene oxide is a cheap, yet important functional material, but at present its deployment in devices is limited by poor sheet properties owing to its amorphous nature. My goal is to design the material for enhanced sheet properties using various post-processing treatments or alternative synthetic procedures. Finally, I would like to use graphene oxide to build energy conversion and storage systems such as solar cells, solar thermal fuels, and thermoelectrics.

What interests you most about your research?
The ability to combine both computation and experiments to understand and design nanomaterials. I also enjoy collaborative research and have the opportunity to interact with various international communities.

What are your future plans?
I would like to be a professor or a research scientist in a company with emphasis on materials science.