Day: June 6, 2022

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Summer 2022 Recipient – Sambhawana Sharma

I started my Ph.D. journey in Fall 2017 as a graduate student in the Department of Physics under Dr. Dongyan Zhang and Dr. Yoke Khin Yap. Prior to that, I completed my Master’s degree from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. 

My Ph.D. research focuses on the synthesis and application of Boron Nitride (BN) nanostructures specifically nanotubes (1D) and dots (0D). BN nanostructures have gained much attention due to their unique optoelectronic and biocompatible properties. Controlling the diameter of BN nanotubes using Catalytic Chemical Vapor Deposition (CCVD) is one of the major challenges especially getting a smaller diameter (<20nm). I was able to reduce the diameter of the BN nanotubes to 10-20nm using CCVD in contrast to >20nm from earlier research. These small diameter nanotubes can be used in electronic as well as biomedical applications. Besides nanotubes, I have developed a procedure to synthesize BN dots, zero-dimensional fluorescent materials. I have successfully used these dots for fabricating solar cells, in the future, this can be used in solar panels for clean energy generation. Further, I am currently evaluating the potential of using these self-fluorescing dots as fluorescent tags on RNA inside cells. If successful, this can be used for bio-imaging and as an RNA therapeutic for different kinds of diseases. Initial biocompatibility and cell internalization test performed in Hela cells (cervical cancer cells) are showing promising results.   

I am thankful to my advisors, Dr. Zhang and Dr. Yap, for their constant guidance throughout my Ph.D. journey. I am extremely grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for providing this finishing fellowship award at this moment. This fellowship will help me focus more on writing my dissertation and graduate on time