The Michigan Engineer News Center

Aeriel Murphy: Loving research since high school

Doctoral candidate Aeriel Murphy is a seasoned researcher; she got her start competing in science fair competitions across the United States in high school and hasn't looked back since.| Short Read
EnlargePortrait of Arial Murphy.
IMAGE:  Portrait of Arial Murphy. Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

Status: Doctoral student

Hometown: Wetumpka, AL

Department: Materials Science and Engineering

Aeriel Murphy, doctoral student in materials science and engineering, has been engaged in scientific research since high school, where she competed in science fair competitions across the United States. She had a unique opportunity to participate in year-long college level research projects at the University of Alabama and Alabama State University while still in high school, and has only deepened her involvement in research since.

Aeriel came to Michigan with a degree in metallurgical and materials engineering from the University of Alabama and a lasting passion for research. She explains her decision to pursue a PhD: “When I got to undergrad my love for research and creating new knowledge grew more and more each year and I decided that pursuing a PhD was the right choice for me.”

Her work at Michigan aims to understand the effects of grain size, texture, alloying and composition on the recrystallization and grain growth behavior of magnesium alloys. She explores how the variables affect initiation, fatigue life and crack growth during fatigue testing.

After graduation, she looks to work in industry as a research engineer and plans to teach engineering disciplines at the community college level. Outside of class, she likes to run, go to the movies, travel and volunteer in community service.

Portrait of Arial Murphy.
The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read