PhD researcher reveals devices of the future at ANU3MT

AMU3MT Winner Ankur Sharma
Thursday 13 September 2018

Last night, ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science PhD student, Ankur Sharma, won the 2018 ANU Three Minute Thesis competition. His energetic and engaging pitch highlighted how his research can lead to flexible, biodegradable and super-fast electronic devices. 

Ankur shared that he has grown a new semiconductor material (pentacene) made completely from organic materials that could replace traditionally used materials such as silicone or the newly invented graphene, in a number of devices. Pentacene is only 0.5nm thick, the same as one single carbon atom.

“These ultra-thin materials make it easy to achieve flexible electronic devices such as foldable mobile phones. Additionally the performance of electronic devices made from this material will be much faster than conventional electronic devices today from our experimental observations,” Ankur said.

Performance and innovation are not the only benefits of his work because, as the consumer love-affair with technology grows, so does the global challenge of dealing with e-waste.

“We need to develop a new generation of semiconductor material for future electronic devices that can be recycled or are bio-degradable. My organic semiconductor material provides that alternative to conventional electronic devices,” highlighted Ankur.

Thrilled with the win, Ankur said this success is validation that his work resonates with a broader audience and that he is on a path to make a meaningful contribution to peoples’ everyday experiences.

“I have realised the power that words have and how our research at ANU can touch and improve so many lives around us. As a professional researcher, it is so gratifying to see people supporting and embracing your years of hard work,” he said.

While Ankur’s work is already turning heads, he is only just getting started.

“We are working on growing this material on a large scale, so it can be industrialised soon. The electronic transport and quantum physics inside this material can open avenues for future electronic device applications such as flexible displays, organic LEDs, quantum computing and solar cells with much higher efficiencies.”

Ankur is no stranger to the winning feeling. He is a member of the ANU team that made the world’s thinnest lens in 2016 and also won an inter-university entrepreneurship competition in 2017, in which he presented a flexible display screen, a product he named the Touch-Flex.

Ankur takes home $4,000 in prize money and has a place in the 3MT Asia-Pacific grand final later this month. 

Congratulations to Ankur and other competitors who made the ANU3MT competition such a grand success by sharing their wonderful research. A special congratulations to runner up Rommel Real from the ANU College of Science and winner of the peoples’ choice award Katie Cox from the ANU College of Arts and Social Science.

A full list of finalists is below:

Ankur Sharma - ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science

Rommel Real - ANU College of Science 

Katie Cox - ANU College of Arts and Social Science 

Alice Taylor - ANU College of Law

Bhavani Kannan - ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Catherine Ross - ANU College of Science

David McManus - ANU College of Science

Harry Sutton - ANU College of Health and Medicine

Heather Browning - ANU College of Arts and Social Science

Kirrily Apthorp - ANU College of Arts and Social Science

Noleen Yin - ANU College of Business and Economics

Tuukka Kiakkonen - ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

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