Our SSLS EFRC brought in four high school interns this summer.  All were between their junior and senior years of high school, and had strong backgrounds math and science. 

Our interns participated in a wide range of activities: ES&H courses, intense solid-state lighting science and technology reading, experimental work in one of our optics laboratories, energy economics data collection and analysis projects, editing of draft manuscripts for submission to journals or books, helping with the logistics of our Webexed SSLS coffee/dessert hours, attending (and occasionally transcribing) lectures, and touring various Sandia laboratories.  They each also had one open-ended mini-project that each was able to carry to a nice level of depth, and that with follow-on work over the coming year might develop into a contribution to the scientific community.

 The first mini-project was “Projections of 2030 consumption of light assuming saturation.”  Previous projections of 2030 consumption of light assumed either of two extremes: zero elasticity of consumption of light with respect to cost of light, or unity elasticity of consumption of light with respect to cost of light.  The student developed the database and equations necessary to project 2030 consumption of light with an assumption intermediate between these two extremes: unity elasticity of consumption of light with respect to cost of light for developing countries, but zero elasticity of consumption of light with respect to cost of light for developed countries.

The second mini-project was “A model for goal-directed science when progress is random.”  An often discussed trade-off in science is the one in which goal-directed scientific exploration is most successful when that exploration is somewhat unfettered (scientists can choose within some range the directions they consider most profitable) but not too unfettered.  The student developed a computation simulation in which this trade-off could be quantified, a simulation which takes into account the random nature of progress in scientific exploration.

The third mini-project was “The rebound effect in consumption of transportation.”  It has been found empirically that there has historically been a unity rebound effect in the consumption of lighting – that is, consumption of light increases inversely with cost of light.  Building on the monumental work of Roger Fouquet and Peter Pearson on historical energy consumption in the United Kingdom, the student developed a database that can be used to test whether a similar rebound effect might hold for the consumption of transportation – both freight and passenger.

The fourth mini-project was “Wavelength downconversion routes to smart lighting.”  Up until recently, smart lighting, in which light chromaticity is controlled in real-time during use, has been thought to require independent RGB (red-green-blue) or RYGB (red-yellow-green-blue) light sources.  The use of wavelength downconverters, in which a fixed fraction of blue light is converted to red and/or green light, seems to preclude control of chromaticity in real-time.  However, there is the possibility that electric fields (in the case of quantum dot wavelength downconverters) or duty-cycle variations (in the case of quantum dots or phosphors) could be used to control the fraction of blue light that is converted to red and/or green light.  The student did simulations and experiments to explore these possibilities.