June 14, 2023

Brandon Clarke, a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in engineering mechanics under the advisement of Professor Emeritus Kenneth Liecthi, was presented with two presentation awards at the annual Adhesion Society meeting in February.

Clarke was awarded the Peebles Award which selected and supported his participation in the student presentation contest. Clarke won that contest, and the received the Alan Gent Award for his winning presentation titled "Characterizing the Adhesive Behavior of Polymeric Photo-switchable Adhesives." Co-authors on presentation include Yudian Wu (Ph.D. student in chemistry), Prof. Zachariah A. Page (assistant professor in chemistry), and Prof. Kenneth M. Liechti.

Clarke answered a few questions for us about this research presented during the conference, his favorite part about the work he does and what his plans are once he completes his Ph.D.

Presentation Summary: 2D materials like graphene offer the potential to improve semiconductor performance. To address the challenges associated with incorporating these materials into semiconductors, we proposed a process to use an adhesive that changes its stickiness in response to ultraviolet light to transfer graphene from a growth substrate to silicon. Working towards that end, in this work we presented experimental results characterizing the toughness and strength of our adhesive. 

Favorite Aspect of Research: My favorite aspect of my research is applying different fields of study within mechanics to solve an interesting and challenging problem.

What’s Next: My current plans are to work as a researcher in the fields of fracture and polymer mechanics at a national laboratory after completing my Ph.D. program.