Mechanical Engineering is excited to announce that John DeSutter, Ph.D. candidate 2018, received a University of Utah Graduate Research Fellowship. Advised by mechanical engineering associate professor Mathieu Francoeur, DeSutter is a member of the Radiative Energy Transfer Laboratory.

DeSutter received his bachelor’s degree in applied physics from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN, where he studied light scattering from ruby and sapphire spheres for his senior thesis. After graduation, he worked at 3M on multilayer optical films for efficiently manipulating light in LED screens. DeSutter said, “The advice I received from senior engineers there ultimately helped me decide to pursue a graduate engineering degree. Being from a small town west of Minneapolis, MN, I wanted to explore graduate opportunities in the western states. While visiting the University of Utah, I was fascinated by the multidisciplinary research involving heat transfer, optics, and photovoltaics, conducted in Professor Francoeur’s group and decided that Utah was a great fit. Of course, a powder day on the slopes helped a little!”

Here at the U his work focuses on designing thermophotovoltaic energy conversion devices which have the potential to recycle waste heat in addition to harnessing solar energy. DeSutter explains, “As approximately 60 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States is lost to heat, the establishment of such devices could help minimize the environmental and resource concerns of energy consumption. In this effort, I have the privilege of gaining knowledge in near-field thermal radiation, optics, photovoltaics and micro/nano fabrication. Specifically, I plan to demonstrate that the performance of thermophotovoltaic devices can be significantly enhanced by capitalizing on near-field effects of thermal radiation.”

This being his third year at the U, DeSutter adds, “I am still very confident this is one of the best life decisions I made and would especially like to thank my advisor, Professor Francoeur, for being a great mentor and providing me with a challenging and rewarding graduate experience.”

DeSutter enjoys being around people and making new friends. He is currently the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Advising Committee (GSAC) which hosts both social and academic events within the department in an effort to build a better sense of community and foster collaboration. In addition, he enjoys pretty much anything active and outdoors including skiing, biking, hunting, fishing and golfing.