UMN Banner hanging in the fall

Zachary Robinson’s research interests include charge and energy transport in nanocrystal films

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (09/14/2017) — The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science announced today that University of Minnesota physics graduate student Zachary Loren Robinson is one of only 52 graduate students from across the nation selected for DOE’s 2017 Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program Award.

Robinson will be conducting research in ultrafast materials and chemical sciences at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico for DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences program. At Los Alamos, he will be studying “exciton transport in nanocrystal films.” Excitons consist of bound electron-hole pairs, and an understanding of their diffusion mechanisms is useful for next generation solar and LED industries, as well as interesting on a fundamental science level. He’ll be studying exciton dynamics in nanocrystals on the femto and pico second timescales and observe how excitons move in real time.

DOE’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program was established to provide supplemental awards for graduate students to spend three to 12 consecutive months at a DOE national laboratory conducting graduate thesis research in a priority research area in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist.

The award provides support for inbound and outbound travel to the laboratory and a monthly stipend of up to $3,000 for general living expenses while at the host DOE laboratory during the award period. The graduate students’ research projects are also expected to advance the graduate awardee’s overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories.

Robinson’s research interests include charge and energy transport in nanocrystal films: insulator-metal transition and exciton dynamics. At the University of Minnesota, he studies charge and energy transport in nanocrystal films under the supervision of mechanical engineering professor Uwe Kortshagen, with close collaboration with physics professor Boris Shklovskii. He’s also worked on insulator metal transitions in collaboration with Ben Greenberg, a grad student in the mechanical engineering department. The goal of his research is to find way to make electronic devices more efficient in the future.

Robinson received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Colorado State University in 2014.

For more information, visit the Department of Energy website.


Rhonda Zurn, College of Science and Engineering, (612) 626-7959,