Hi! I'm Raj Giridharagopal. In a former life people called me "Rajiv" but I haven't gone by that in 8+ years.!
I'm currently at the University of Washington in Seattle working on polymer solar cell materials characterization and advanced scanning probe microscopy development as a postdoc in Prof. David Ginger's lab. Another word for "polymer" is plastic, so what I work on are plastic materials that can absorb sunlight and convert that into useful electrical energy in a renewable, environmentally benign fashion. These materials are very important, with startup companies like Solarmer, Konarka bringing these materials to market, and even big companies like Intel and DuPont have expressed interest. The problem is that plastics are messy, and the performance of a solar cell is therefore critically dependent upon how the polymers are arranged on the surface. Scanning probe microscopy is a technique in nanoscience that lets us image surfaces with resolution of a billionths of a meter. The most famous scanning probe instrument is the atomic force microscope (AFM). I use optoelectronic AFM methods that can image a polymer solar cell while at the same showing which areas actually generate solar power.Before my current position, I was a student at UT Austin and a former graduate student in the Electrical Engineering department at Rice University. My research focused on atomic-scale investigation of conducting polymers using the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), under my advisor Kevin Kelly. Our group made some minor news with the nanocar and the so-called "single pixel camera."
No, I was not involved in either project. Go me!
If you'd like more information on either, there are some terribly embarrassing, but nonetheless informative, videos I have made over the years.
-One of my doctoral papers is discussed here(shot and edited by yours truly, and it shows)
-A review I wrote as a postdoc is summarized by my boss Prof. David Ginger and I here.
Even when finding those links I made sure to not watch them again. Especially the second one, which was filmed at 8 AM and I had stayed up quite late in the lab the night before. With acting chops like this, is it any wonder I didn't get a part in my seventh grade class production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"?
I also spent some small amount of time playing around with MATLAB and the card game "War." It's pretty stupid, but I get a few emails a year about it, I think because it got linked to on Wikipedia or something for some reason? Until I redo this website, that's where it'll be.