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Boise State alum receives award to conduct research at Air Force Research Laboratory

Twinkle Pandhi, a research post doc in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering and Center for Advanced Energy Studies, received a National Research Council research associateship to conduct research at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

This competitive and prestigious award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will enable Pandhi to conduct full-time research with the Air Force Research Laboratory for up to two years.

With this associateship, Pandhi will work with Emily Heckman of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Sensors Directorate on printed and flexible radiation sensors for enhancement of space exploration and nuclear application with the goal of developing “next generation radiation detection systems that help warfighters mitigate emerging threats to our national security.”

“Our research uses novel 2D materials to create and encapsulate technology so they survive in space or extreme environments,” Pandhi said. “These materials enclosed in a heterogeneous platform allow us to develop radiation tolerant sensor systems that provide conformability and performance. These devices are highly desired for portable and wearable applications and their ability to embed on non-planar surfaces, such as for U.S. Space Force early warning satellites and drones.”

Pandhi is a Boise State alum who received her doctoral degree in materials science and engineering in 2020. Prior to becoming a Bronco, she received a degree in electrical engineering at University of Texas at Austin in 2014.

Pandhi hails from Austin, and says that her undergraduate research experiences with graphene shaped her current work.

“I was always interested in working with graphene, the first 2D material that received the Nobel Prize for its discovery. Fortunately, with this interest, I got to work with professor Deji Akinwada in UT Austin as an undergraduate researcher. From there I got connected to associate professor David Estrada at Boise State to further conduct research on these 2D materials for develop flexible and printed electronics,” Pandhi said.

Pandhi credits Estrada with helping her to make the most of her degree and significantly shaping her professional experiences.

Pandhi’s goals include enhancing space technology.

“Dr. Pandhi embodies everything it means to be a Bronco. From the moment she set foot on campus through her graduation during a global pandemic, Dr. Pandhi has shown the grit, perseverance, and resilience that underlies the innovative mindset of Blue Turf Thinking,” Estrada said. “I’m excited to see her contribute to the nation’s defense through her research at AFRL.”