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NMSU engineering student awarded Sandia fellowship

New Mexico State University engineering student Joshua Hill has been awarded a $40,000 fellowship at Sandia National Laboratories.

NMSU chemical engineering student Joshua Hill has earned a $40,000 fellowship at Sandia National Laboratories. Hill's research is focused on lead sulfide nanostructure and its application in optoelectronics and telecommunications. Earlier this summer, he attended the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany. (Courtesy photo)

A chemical engineering graduate student, Hill earned the funded fellowship through his nanomaterial research with lead sulfide.

"My goal is to lay a foundation for device fabrication," he said. "Some of the most promising applications for lead sulfide as densely packed nanocrystalline solids include field effect transistors, devices for the emission of light, as well as photodetectors. I will focus on the investigation of lead sulfide superlattices (layer structures) under pressure, and the potential use of the mechanically sintered nanostructures in optoelectronics and telecommunications."

Optoelectronics is the study of electronic devices that detect and control light.

Hill was introduced to his research topic through his adviser, Hongmei Luo of the chemical engineering department and Hongyou Fan, a staff scientist at Sandia.

Real world applications for Hill's research include optical sensors, optical triggers, lasing media and transistors.

"The material is limited only by imagination and physics - physics will only let you get away with so much," he said. "The challenge is being able to make changes to synthesis reaction to achieve a desired outcome and explaining why it happens. The most rewarding part is when a change is made to the synthesis conditions and the outcome is as expected."

A graduate of Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, Hill said he credits Career Enrichment Center, an Albuquerque magnet school, for fostering his interest in science, technology and engineering.

Hill graduated with a bachelor of science in chemical engineering and a minor in chemistry from New Mexico Institute of Mining in Technology in 2010.

Earlier this summer, he attended the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany. He was one of 625 post- and undergraduate students from 78 countries who participated in the meeting.

The annual conference consists of lectures, discussion sessions, master classes and panel discussions, and facilitates the interaction between Nobel Prize winners and international researchers.

"Joshua is a highly motivated student," Luo said. "He is truly committed to science and application of nanomaterials."