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At the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, “ensur(ing) access to affordable,
reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 1” is adopted by 161 countries as a
sustainable development goal. Development of sustainable energy is urgent and inevitable for our
sustainable development, and my goal is to work as a professional to contribute to this cause.
The world’s energy demand, which depends 80% on fossil fuels, is estimated to increase by 30%
by 2040 2. Sustainable energy is the key to “promote sustainable economic growth”, “make
human settlements sustainable”, and “combat climate change”, which are 3 goals adopted at the
summit. Solar power has gathered increasing interest in the last decade, but remains as low as 2%
of the entire energy demand 3. The domaining material in solar power is crystalline-silicon,
which has an indirect bandgap. This requires a stack of silicon layers to absorb sunlight, leading
to a high cost for the protection of crystalline-silicon upon installation. At Yale University, Dr.
Gary Haller and Dr. Lisa Pfefferle have done research on increasing the efficiency and decreasing
the cost of solar cell devices by using nanomaterial additives, such as quantum dots and carbon
nanotubes. If admitted, I wish to work with Dr. Haller or Dr. Pfefferle on developing these
technologies, which I believe are necessary to develop clean and sustainable energy solutions.
My childhood in China has made me a first-hand witness of the pollution fueled by the rapid
growing economy. Energy supply in China depends heavily on coal, which produces nitrogen and
sulfur oxides which seriously pollute the air. The air was opaque due to air pollution (PM 2.5)
throughout the year. The rapid economic development caused a shortage of energy supply per
person, shifting the government’s focus to meeting the energy supply rather than protecting the
environment. It was clear to me that the implementation of sustainable energy is the only way to
ensure sustainable growth in such a developing country with an expanding population and
economy. This experience is the genesis of my academic and professional path.
I pursued my undergraduate degree in Applied Chemistry at Waseda University after returning to
Japan. Waseda University is not only the best private school in Japan in academia, but also the
most diverse, accepting and graduating the largest number of international students. In the first
two and a half years, I dedicated myself to absorbing the wide range of knowledge and
experimental skills. In addition, I committed to gain a broader context by studying English and
American culture in Boston and Florida during my vacations. In the last one and a half years, I
conducted research on Applied Crystallization at Hirasawa-Kohori Lab. Professor Izumi
Hirasawa is a leading chemical engineer in Japan (
I collaborated with an engineering company and pilottested
a new prototype for synthesizing organic nanocrystals. I was invited to present this work at
the annual meeting of the Society of Chemical Engineers, Japan. I am currently working with professor Ayaskanta Sahu at New York University. We focus on
novel organic-inorganic hybrid nanocrystals (Quantum Dots) that are cheaper and less toxic
compared to Cadmium chalcogenide and Indium pnictogenide QDs. Recognizing that scalable
and affordable access to environment-friendly materials is the gateway toward implementation of
clean energy, I led our first project on colloidal IV-V family quantum dots focusing on tin
phosphides. Metal phosphides have recently been identified as a promising family of earth
abundant electrocatalysts for the hydrogen-evolution reaction (HER) 4. My objective was to
develop a benchmark HER electrocatalyst. To date, most phosphides are synthesized with costly
and pyrophoric phosphorous precursors. I have synthesized phase pure crystalline tin phosphides
with a novel phosphorous precursor which is safe in contact with air and economically favorable.
I fully characterized the nanocrystals regarding crystalline phase, morphology, surface condition
and spectroscopy (please see my writing sample). In addition, I spent some time in professor Dong Kyun Ko’s lab at New Jersey Institute of Technology learning thin film device fabrication
and characterization. We hope this experimental work will contribute to the development of
sustainable energy.
My long-term goal is to actively promote the worldwide implementation of green energy to meet
the need of the expanding population and advancement of technology. The increasing efficiency
of solar modules will propel the implementation of photovoltaics along with continuous support
from governments and organizations. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has funded numerous
projects so that many developing countries in Asia now benefit from solar power. This effort has
led to the result of Asia contributing to 60% of the total photovoltaics newly installed in 2016 3.
Working at such an inter-disciplinary and international organization requires a strong expertise.
As an example, one out of three ADB employees have earned PhD degrees. I want to polish my
knowledge and experience working alongside Dr. Haller or Dr. Pfefferle as my next goal in my
career path.
I am expected to earn my Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from NYU, one of the most
outstanding private universities in the United States. I speak Japanese, Chinese and English. I am
confident in living in a multicultural environment and communicating with people from different
backgrounds. I have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE Chemical) exam. I am actively
pursuing funding for my PhD study, including one result coming out by the end of February. As
shown in my engagement in multiple duties at our lab (please see my resume), I am a dedicated
and responsible person. I am also motivated and excited that the experience at Yale University is
an important step towards my future.

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