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REU Student Spotlight: Antoine Vignon
By Christelle Paul, SEAS Correspondent
NAME: Antoine Vignon
HOMETOWN: Washington, D.C.
COLLEGE: Prince George’s Community College
CLASS LEVEL: Junior
MAJOR: Computer science and mechanical engineering
RESEARCH LAB: Center for Integrated Quantum Materials
What are you working on in the lab this summer?
This summer, I have the opportunity to work with Professor Jing Kong at MIT. Currently, we are developing materials to be used for flexible electronics. We are growing two types of 2D layered material, validium disulfate (VS2) and molybdenum disulfate (MoS2) through a process called chemical vapor deposition. VS2 and MoS2 are known as transitioning materials, and although they are transparent, they can also conduct electricity. When combined with other chemical compounds, they can transform into semiconductors or insulators, which have a beneficial use in transparent electronics like flexible phone screens. After the successful growth of these materials, we hope to use them to make a device.
What is the most challenging and fascinating thing about this project?
Growing the materials is very challenging. For instance, when growing the VS2 material, we were not able to see results for two weeks, and had to change variables, such as temperature and gas flow. This also makes the project interesting because getting unexpected results causes you to go back and review material, research the results of other scientists who have worked with the same material, and create a new recipe for successful growth.
What do you see yourself doing in the future?
After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in computer science and mechanical engineering, I would like to pursue a master’s degree in mechatronics. I’m a big fan of artificial intelligence, and would love to work in the field. Artificial intelligence is the idea that computers can complete tasks commanded by humans without instruction. I’m interested to see how this technology could be used in optimizing traffic or reducing global warming.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love painting and drawing. I hope to have a gallery filled with my artwork in the future. I also enjoy working out and doing martial arts. Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, Karate, and Kando are some of my favorites.
What is something you’d change about either this program or your project?
I would definitely put a cooling system and a kitchen in the dorms. Fast food can get tiring pretty quickly. Also, since every REU student is scattered throughout the city and in different labs, we should have more get-togethers, and interact more during evenings or weekends.