Interview with Demetrio da Silva Filho
Can you present your research during your stay at CY AS?
The general goal of my research at CY AS is to study organic semiconductors by means of Computational Chemistry. This field of research very much resembles the theoretical design of pharmaceutical drugs. The bottom line is to use computers and Theoretical Chemistry to design new organic molecules that will improve electro-optical devices, such as Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs), Organic Field-Effect Transistors (OFETs) and Organic Photovoltaic (OPVs) devices. During my stay, I focus my research on Photovoltaics, notably, on Perovskites. These devices are attracting the attention of both industry and academia for the potential to generate clean and cheap electricity. However, as any new technology, there are drawbacks, such as device stability and toxicity due to the presence of lead. Our goal is to use theoretical calculations to look for possibilities to improve these devices.
Does the Fellows-in-Residence program meet your objectives in terms of research and scientific collaboration?
Yes. I would say that the program even exceeded my expectations. I have been collaborating for the past five years with Prof. Gjergji Sini at the CY University, and I build my expectations based on my yearly 15-day visits during the summer. During my program, I had access to the CY AS facilities, staff, and other researchers of the program that enriched my experience enormously. Due to the intense nature of our research, it is not common to have the opportunity to exchange experiences with researchers from other fields of knowledge. Moreover, when this happens, it is usually somewhat limited. At the CY AS, I had the opportunity to exchange experiences with researchers from different fields and different cultures for the first time, and these experiences broaden my horizon vastly.
Describe your impressions of your experience at CY AS
I had the best possible impression. What made the difference was that all CY AS team was ready to help all fellows with our particular and atypical needs. Fellows come from different countries, with different needs and cultures, and when the environment is not ready to welcome foreign researchers, the experience can be rather unpleasant. At the CY AS I had my needs taken care of and with greater flexibility than I had expected from my previous experiences in other countries. Solving the bureaucratic problems faster, we can dedicate more time to our primary goal, which is research. The fact that I lived on the same site of my laboratory was terrific.
What will this research period bring to you and to your home university?
First of all, a great experience. I always encourage my students to travel abroad and experience different realities. Furthermore, these experiences became more colorful when we had a good time. I also had the opportunity to interact with great researchers doing theoretical research and building the devices that I study. I had the opportunity to see and discuss the challenges in the field with device engineers and learn about the crucial questions to be answered. I was also in contact with researchers from different fields of knowledge and was able to visualize new possibilities of research that I brought to my home university to be developed.
Do you have other plans for the future, other destinations in mind?
Definitively! I had the opportunity to plan my research stay at CY AS in two parts. I am looking forward to my next visit. I also plan to keep this relationship with CY AS for a long time. I hope to return to this excellent research environment and bring my students to this experience as well.