The mechanics behind efficient LED lights

Nieuws | de redactie
21 januari 2016 | Said Rodriguez won the FOM Physics Thesis Prize 2015 for his research on the interaction between light and matter. However fundamental, his work has lots of applications in the production of more efficient LED lights. “I’m more enthusiastic to find out the mechanisms by which nature works rather than developing a final device.”

“My research focused on the question how to couple different structures to enhance the interaction with light,” Rodriguez explains at FOMVeldhoven. “I worked with pyramids on nanoscale, organics, semiconductor quantumbits as well as waveguides,- that are layers that can guide light – liquid crystals and gratings.”

Industrial partnership

For Rodriguez, the challenge was to couple these different structures to each other in order to get light to shine as strongly as possible in as most different directions. A fundamental question, but one that also interests industries. That was why Rodriguez worked in an industrial partnership with Philips Research. “Since the beginning of my PhD I knew I wanted to study something which was interesting as it was potentially applicable.”

“I mean, it is very important to make lightning as efficient as possible, because it consumes a lot of energy and we have to care about that.” Rodriguez was praised by the jury not only for the quality of his research, but also for his enthusiastic outreach. “I did a lot of demo’s of my work in the Netherlands, and I really like to discuss physics directly with my colleagues or other scientists in the field.”

Competitive atmosphere

Now, Rodriguez is doing a postdoc at the Laboratoire de Photonique et de Nanostructures in France. Looking back at working in the Netherlands, he praises the academic climate. “I actually liked it a lot in the Netherlands. The atmosphere is competitive, enthusiastic and supportive. Above all it is very well organized. If I look at AMOLF, I always felt very strong support. Not only financially, but also in how things in administration were organized.”

The dynamics of the Dutch system are not always seen as entirely positive, but Rodriguez liked how it worked out. “It’s really focused on excellence, which also mean that if you don’t do well, someone else might gonna get your job. I have to say that FOM was really concerned with providing me with the right infrastructure to get my PhD. I’d like to come back to the Netherlands one day when there is the possibility.”

During his PhD, it was that Rodriguez found out he wanted to be an academic. “I also applied in industry and when I had those conversations there, I thought by myself that I could really be happy. Nevertheless I preferred the possibility to be more free in pursuing my own ideas. Of course there are constraints in academia, but not in the way that your ideas need to be profitable for a company or something.”

The pleasure of finding things

“For me it is about the pleasure of finding things, developing decisive ideas. In general, I read a lot of physics journals. I always want to find out what are the important questions others were asking.” According to Rodriguez now is one of the most pleasant periods in his academic career. “They say the postdoc is perfect as you have the right amount of knowledge to consider yourself an expert, but you have enough time to develop upon that knowledge.”

It is that development of knowledge which ultimately drives Rodriguez in his work. “When I was studying in the United States, I lived close to the beach (Daytona Beach, Florida red.). In my spare time I always took my physics books to the beach to study them. It was kind of a hobby. I’ve never been the kind of guy that learned solely for the exams.”

Schrijf je in voor onze nieuwsbrief
ScienceGuide is bij wet verplicht je toestemming te vragen voor het gebruik van cookies.
Lees hier over ons cookiebeleid en klik op OK om akkoord te gaan