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MPBE Student Voice



MPBE Summer Studentship: Characterisation and implementation of optical ultrasound generating membranes

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 13 October 2023

Name: Donny Liu
Degree: Biomedical Engineering
Project Title: Characterisation and implementation of optical ultrasound generating membranes
Supervisors: Dr Erwin Alles and Fraser Watt

I met my supervisor, Erwin Alles, during the scenario week, and I discussed with him that I was interested in gaining more research experience, he directed me towards the summer studentship.  I think what makes the summer studentship programme so attractive is that you get exposed to the day-to-day life of a researcher and get involved with cutting-edge science.

My project focused on ultrasound-generating membrane characterisation. The membranes generate ultrasound through the photoacoustic effect and are used in imaging. The goal of my work was to investigate methods for membrane fabrication and design a process to test the membranes, with the goal of improving membrane performance. This included designing the experimental setup and writing a data analysis code. I have also developed a new membrane fabrication method that could improve the membrane performance.

The first half of my studentship involved a lot of redesigns and adjustments to experimental methods. In the first month, I had four redesigns of my experiment setup, which is an average once per week. I never thought of this as a challenge; on the contrary, I feel it’s interesting to try a new experiment setup and assess how it works. A stable, accurate, and efficient setup in the end is most encouraging.

I really appreciate my supervisors and team members. They left me a lot of lab time and offered a great degree of freedom during these two months. I often shared my findings and results and asked for their advice. When I developed the new fabrication method, and identified that the performance had improved significantly, my supervisors gave many suggestions about what test should be carried out.

This is a fruitful experience for me. I learned many valuable for research and presenting data. This project demonstrated the benefits of research work and has really confirmed for me that it is something that I would like to pursue in the future.

For students in the future, my suggestions are to be curious and never afraid to share your ideas. Remember that you are working with a new science topic and everything you find might be new to the world.

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