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Dr. Eddie Red

Professor Makes Important Connections through Research Experience

Dr. Eddie Red

In ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division, Dr. Eddie Red of Morehouse College studies nanotube characteristics—technology that could impact future solar cells, as well as battery and fuel cells.

Eddie C. Red, Ph.D., has longed to set up a functional research laboratory for the training and development of under-represented minorities in physics and engineering at Morehouse College, where he is a professor. Because of his participation in a summer research program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), he is now equipped with the tools and training he needs.

“This research lab would offer students a range of research options in the field of materials science and in atomic, molecular and optical physics,” said Red. Some of his students from Morehouse have already seen firsthand the types of research the new lab could involve, as they accompanied Red to ORNL.

The team of researchers was part of the U.S. Department of Energy Faculty and Student Team (FaST) research program, which is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education and brings undergraduate students and their professors together with the nation’s top scientists at ORNL.

While Red has extensive research experience, his students did not. “I felt that the FaST program was an excellent opportunity to actively engage and educate my research students on various applications of the physics principles that they were exposed to in the classroom,” said Red.

“This opportunity has better prepared them for graduate programs and research careers in physics and engineering.”

The team conducted research under Dr. M. Parans Paranthaman, distinguished scientist and leader of the Materials Chemistry Group of the Chemical Sciences Division at ORNL. He provided Red and his students with a basis for understanding the best conditions to control the growth of pure and doped titanium dioxide nanotube arrays, which could impact future solar cells, battery and fuel cells, and other energy-related technologies.

To achieve this goal, Red and his team, including Morehouse undergraduate students Christopher Wills and David Cherry, studied the characteristics of the nanotubes and then varied the physical attributes to obtain optimal conditions for use in new technology.

“This is important research if our nation is to exercise sustainability and energy independence through its use of more energy-efficient sources that are economically and environmentally friendly,” Red said.

He comes from an institution with limited funding for research, which means that state-of-the-art equipment may not always be available. He considers his time at ORNL as invaluable, as it allowed him to gain research experience and equipment training not easily accessible outside of top laboratories.

When Red returns to Morehouse College in the fall, he plans to dedicate a portion of his research efforts to setting up that lab and assisting students in performing research in materials sciences.
He also recommends the research program for faculty members interested in gaining research experience, advancing their current research, or learning how to establish a research program within the departments of their academic institutions.

“The possibilities are endless for continued research and experience,” he said.