Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Ian Trauffer and Philip Vendola

Simulating Diffusion Through Digital Crystals

Department: Computer Science and Engineering
Advisor: Ivan Biaggio (Physics) and John Spletzer

Solar Power is becoming increasingly prevalent as the world transitions toward renewable sources of energy that are emission friendly. To encourage this transition, scientists are searching for materials that can both efficiently absorb energy from sunlight, and broaden the range of light effectively absorbed by current solar panels. Towards this goal, organic crystals are being researched for implementation in solar cells because of their photon absorption and energy transport properties. The rate of research is limited not only by the vast number of candidate crystals, but also the time it takes to grow and analyze crystals for experiments. Our aim is to provide a customizable simulation tool which can explore energy diffusion properties in a variety of crystalline materials. Additionally, our model enables confirmation and visualization of unobservable processes occurring inside of crystals. We see this tool as a starting point in determining candidate crystals for experimentation. Through our research, we hope to enable a more rapid exploration of organic crystal properties in order to improve current solar research.

About Ian Trauffer:
Ian Trauffer is a 4th year Physics and Computer Science student. He has been conducting computational research relevant to Professor Biaggio’s optical experiments in organic crystals since Spring 2016. Aside from his research, Ian works on campus as a TRAC Fellow. He meets with students and professors to create a more engaging process for specific writing assignments. Additionally, Ian is the B-Team Captain of the Lehigh Men’s Rugby Team, and encourages involvement of anyone interested in the sport. Ian is a member of Delta Upsilon, in which he has held the positions of steward and accreditation chair. Away from campus, he enjoys activities such as carpentry, hiking, scuba diving, and skiing. After graduating with a Physics degree this semester, Ian plans to remain another semester and complete a Computer Science degree, after which he hopes to pursue either a graduate degree or a career in computational physics.

About Philip Vendola:
Philip Vendola is currently a 4th year student at Lehigh University, pursuing a B.S. in both Computer Science and Physics. He has performed computational research for both Dr. Rotkin and Dr. Jedlicka since Summer 2015, creating analytical and computational programs for projects relating to graphene, Raman spectroscopy, and cellular mechanotransduction. Outside of academia, Philip works on campus as a Lehigh Admissions Fellow, interviewing prospective Lehigh Freshman as part of their application process. Additionally, he is a member of Delta Chi, having served in the roles of President and Risk Manager, as well as Brotherhood, Scholarship, and Community Service chair. After graduation, Philip plans to pursue a career in software development, putting his experience and knowledge towards building programs and applications on a professional level.