Design007 Magazine

Design007-Jan2018

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JANUARY 2018 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 105 Best of all, Jack never abandoned me dur- ing this whole process. He didn't transfer me over to someone else when he didn't know all the answers, instead he researched the issue to get me the correct information. He also stayed with me even when he could no longer help and another team had to be called in to install the new furnace. Jack has continued to check on us and has promised to come over after the installation to make sure that we have been well taken care of. You've probably been on the phone trying to get support for a consumer product problem before, and had them transfer you from per- son to person to person. Well, your customers and your co-workers don't like that anymore than you do. The key is to maintain the trust that you have been building with the person that you are working with, and that trust isn't helped by dumping them over to someone else. There were many times when I was supporting an EDA customer that I wanted to give up, but I didn't because I knew that the customer might interpret this as abandonment. So I would roll up my sleeves and stick with the problem and the customer until we got it figured out and they were up and running again. When you are working with others, whether they are customers or your co-workers, remember that they came to you for help for a reason. You may not have all the answers, but you are probably their lifeline and they need your help. So put them at ease, guide them through the problem, and don't leave them hanging. If the people that you are helping are your customers, you've just improved your odds of retaining them as customers in the future. If they are co-workers, you will help to build and maintain a solid relationship built on trust. I would write more about this, but my fin- gers are freezing, so it's time to find some fat comfy gloves. See you next month! DESIGN007 Tim Haag is a consultant based in Portland, Oregon. Going Organic Organic solar cells could be an inexpensive and versatile alternative to inorganic solar cells. How- ever, their low efficiencies and limited lifetimes cur- rently render them impractical for commercial use. Using Argonne's Advanced Photon Source (APS), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, researchers analyzed how organic solar cells' crystal structures develop as they are produced under different condi- tions. The scientists focused on the photoactive layer of the cell, built from thin films that absorb energy from sunlight and then convert that energy into elec- tric current. The researchers produced the films via spin coating, a widely used process for film fabrica- tion in research labs. "It was the stability and reproducibility of this specific spin-coating setup that allowed this study to happen," said Northwestern graduate student Eric Manley, first author of the study published Oct. 9 in Advanced Materials. The study's most significant discovery, made possible by the new experimental setup, was how certain additives can significantly affect both the time it takes for the film's structure to stop chang- ing and the intermediate structures the film adopts during evolution. "We hope this will pave the way to making these cells more viable for everyday applications," said Joseph Strzalka, physicist and member of the Time- Resolved Research group within Argonne's X-Ray Sciences division.

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