University College Cork
Researcher Tyndall National Institute and intern at ESB International
Research scientist - material engineering
Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Ireland.
Favourite thing to do in my job: Grow semiconductors
About Me: I am a easygoing person and enthusiastic about my work.
My name is Jun Lin. I’m from China and I came to Ireland in 2008. I went to University College Cork and did my PhD at Tyndall National Institute – a European research centre in Ireland. I live in Cork city. I am working now as a researcher in microelectronics at Tyndall. My job involves a lot of experiments so most of my time at work is spent in labs.
I like cooking. Whenever I have time, I try different Chinese cuisine recipes.
My favourite animal is cat not just because they are cute. I love their dignity and the way they come to people when they need attention, which makes the cuddling time with them more valuable. I watch a lot of cat videos to relieve stress.
I also like watching food YouTube videos especially the ones in which the Youtubers travel around the world to discover what people eat and their food culture.
My Work: I study materials that can be used to make transistors, which are the most basic building blocks of computers. The goal is to make transistors smaller so that our computers can be faster.
I study semiconductor materials that are used to make a device called transistor – the most basic building block of computers. A transistor is just like a tiny electric switch. A lot of transistors are packed up to make integrated circuits, which are used in our modern devices like mobile phones and laptops. Transistors are usually made of silicon because of its abundance on earth and its excellent behaviour in a transistor. We need to shrink the sizes of these transistors so that more of them can be packed together in the integrated circuits. Then our computers and devices will become faster and more powerful with more functions. But it is getting harder and harder to keep shrinking these silicon based transistors therefore we need to look for new materials to replace silicon. I’ve been working for years on the behaviour of transistors made from III-V materials, which are compound semiconductors containing elements from groups III and V in the periodic table, because they have much higher mobility than silicon so transistors made from them can be way much faster as a switch. I am currently working on 2-dimensional (2D) material, which is another potential material to be made into transistors. 2D materials are the flattest and thinnest material possible: they are only one atom thick! So we could cram loads of them together into integrated circuits. But in order to make them work properly in a transistor, every atom in them needs to be in the exactly right place, and this is extremely difficult to achieve especially when we want to make 2D materials over large areas for future mass production. What I am focusing on is to test the electrical behaviour of 2D materials and looking for solutions to improve their crystallinity so that one day they can be widely used in transistors.
My Typical Day: I get to the labs, turn on the machines and get ready for another day with the tiny electric circuits. Then, I spend the whole day trying to find out which of these little devices are the best. Then I tell my friends from the lab about the best one, they tell me about their favourite ones, and we all get together and try to imagine how to make a new computer from them!
What I'd do with the money: I'd use the money to hire an intern student.
I actually have two thoughts if I won the prize. I’d like to use the money to hire a student. I will train the student in lab to do some electrical experiments on my samples. And then he/she could help me to do some experiments in my absence. If the lab access restrictions continue due to the pandemic, I will donate the money to students who need to buy laptop/tablet to study from home.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
humble, easygoing, good-tempered
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Published my research work in very good journals
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Visiting Morrison planetarium at California academy of sciences
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. Overloaded with ideas in science; 2. Speak more than three languages; 3. Have a cat.
Tell us a joke.
Help me with the answer :)