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"Organic Photovoltaics" is the topic of this year's "Connectem Recerca i Aula" initiative

ICMAB participated in the ESCOLAB programme "Connectem recerca i aula" to connect research with schools and bring Organic Photovoltaics closer to students. 

Anna May
19 May 2023
Students of the CFA Singuerlín with Albert Harillo at ICMAB | ICMAB, CSIC
Students of the CFA Singuerlín with Albert Harillo at ICMAB | ICMAB, CSIC
For a second year in a row, we participated  in the ESCOLAB "Connectem Recerca Aula", which wants to connect the research of the center with the schools. 

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Session with Albert Harillo and Anna May at the CFA Singuerlín school in Santa Coloma | ICMAB, CSIC

From ICMAB, Albert Harillo, PhD researcher at the NANOPTO group, Lluis Casabona, Master Student at the eMolMat group, and Anna May, communication officer, particiapted in the project. The school was the CFA Singuerlín (in Santa Coloma de Gramenet), which is a school for adults. We worked together with Lídia Iglesias, the science teacher of this school. 

This programme is organized in the following way: in a first session, a researcher from the center gives a talk about a scientific topic, in the school. The communication officer also joins the visit, to introduce the research center and to explain the project the students have to do during the following days.
In our case, Albert Harillo gave a talk on "Organic Photovoltaics", and the students were asked to find a new application for a near future using organic solar cells. The idea is that these electronics, compared to electronics based on Silicon, are more flexible, light, tuneable, tarnsparent and low-cost, so a new range of applications can be envisaged. 
During the next three days, in school hours, the students were asked to prepare their project, related to the scientific topic discussed in the first class. 

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Students participating in the programme | ICMAB, CSIC

Then, in a fifth session, Albert Harillo and Lluís Casabona returned to the school to evaluate the projects presented by the students. In our case, we pretended that the projects were presented in front of some important investors, and then all the class voted for the best projects, the ones who would receive money to carry out their innovative idea. In the photos you can see the winners!

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Albert Harillo and Lluís Casabona evaluating the student's projects | ICMAB, CSIC

In a final session, which was on 16 May 2023, the students were invited to come to the research center to visit the installations. 

In this visit, first Anna May introduced the center and presented some videos about our Scientific Equipment Platforms, our YouMaker project and the TEM and SEM equipment. Then, she also showed them our Nanoquim Platform Cleanroom. Then, Anna Esther Carrillo showed them the Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) lab and some of the images that it can obtain, and finally Albert Harillo showed them the Photovoltaics lab and some samples in which the NANOPTO group is working on. The group was amazed and excited to visit a reserach center and to enter some of the labs and talk to the researchers.

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Students at the NANOPTO Lab with Albert Harillo | ICMAB, CSIC

The idea of this project is that students are enriched by participating in a project where they can use their critical mind and scientific curiosity. It's not only about given knowledge, but also about having to use this knowledge to create something on their own. 

The enthusiasm of the students, who are not used to do scientific activities, opens the door to start offering Escolab activities to other types of audiences, such as adults.

Thank you ESCOLAB, for this opportunity!

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Students at the SEM Lab with Anna Esther Carrillo | ICMAB, CSIC

About Escolab

The Escolab program, coordinated by Barcelona Ciència i Universitats of Ajuntament de Barcelona, has as its main objective to bring schools closer to the leading laboratories, institutes and research centers. For fifteen years, more than 100 centers and research groups have welcomed more than 75,000 students between ESO, BTX and FP courses. In the 2021-22 school year, Escolab grew with new activities, new virtual resources to enrich teaching and, in addition, it included the last grade of primary school students.

The programme "Connectem recerca i aula" (Connect reserach and classroom) is part of the EscoLab program and aims to join science and education through the collaboration between a research center and the school professionals, in order that students can get to know the research from a professional researcher. The aim is to encourage the participation of the students, incorporating and approaching new interactive activities to introduce the science into the classroom.

During the Escolab 2021-22 course, a total of 34 research centers offered 110 different scientific activities, with a total offer of 259 sessions and 5,216 students.

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