Mengle wins CoE's Towner Prize for Outstanding PhD research

Kelsey Mengle (Kioupakis group) was one of three CoE students selected to receive the prestigious award.
Mengle wins CoE's Towner Prize for Outstanding PhD research

MSE is pleased to announce that Kelsey Mengle was one of three Ph.D. students from across CoE selected to receive the Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding Ph.D. Research. The award highlights the creativity and outstanding research achievements demonstrated by Michigan Engineering Ph.D. students. 

A member of Associate Professor Emmanouil Kioupakis' lab, Mengle won the prize for her most recent work on a novel ultrawide-band-gap semiconductor, rutile GeO2. She showed that it is a competitive material choice for power electronics based on its wide band gap, high breakdown field, and ambipolar dopability. From first principles, she and her team calculated the carrier mobility and thermal conductivity as functions of temperature and show that its fundamental material properties surpass those of the current "hot" materials, GaN and beta-Ga2O3. Rutile GeO2 has been minimally explored in general and not at all for high-power-electronics, so this work has the potential to significantly impact this field.

"Ultimately, governments, businesses, and the public alike will benefit from this work once it is incorporated into devices and used in areas such as the power grid," Mengle said. "The use of rutile GeO2 could improve electrical conversion efficiencies, reducing wasted energy and improving sustainability."

After thanking her collaborators - Assistant Professor John Heron and fellow MSE Ph.D. student Sieun Chae - Mengle added, "It is really an honor to receive the Towner Prize. I think that all of the Towner nominees presented interesting and important research and showcased the quality of research produced within U-M CoE. I am appreciative that my hard work was noticed in such a way, and I am thankful to everyone involved in my research for their support."