Jente Clarysse

Jente Clarysse was born in Belgium and grew up there until she moved to Switzerland at the age of 16. After high school, she got her bachelor in electrical engineering from ETH Zurich and spent one year at Imperial College London as an exchange student. She’s now back at the ETH electrical engineering department for her Master’s in the group of Prof. Mathieu Luisier, and she was awarded an INSPIRE fellowship earlier this year. 

Interview by Nicola Nosengo, NCCR MARVEL in October 2023.

Have you always been interested in science?

I was always a fan of mathematics and physics, but I was also very much interested in creating solutions and devices and in high school I was more interested in engineering. For instance, in high school, I made a hydroponic system for growing plants, because I was always very concerned about the environment and wanted to make solutions. Then during my time at ETH, I started to develop a lot of interest in the science. Now I love both the research part and the engineering one, I am still really interested in developing solutions.

Jente Clarysse

Jente Clarysse pictured while biking during the Maratona dles Dolomites 2023.

How did you hear about the INSPIRE Potentials Program?

I was searching for fellowships, and then professor Luisier, with whom I’d done a semester project, told me I would be suitable for MARVEL and should apply. I talked to Virginie [De Mestral] who was in the same group, and she was very kind, explained everything and told me to go for it!

What is the topic of your master’s project? 

We are simulating the operation mechanism of valence change memory devices, which is typically a two-terminal device consisting of two contacts and a storage layer. It is a type of RRAM (resistive random access memory) that operates by altering the resistance of the metal oxide (storage layer), providing a means of data storage that also facilitates in-memory computing. In this thesis, we extended a KMC model with a current and microscopic heat dissipation model, using a graph-based formalism. The full KMC framework uses solvers that range from the most accurate DFT and full-band quantum-transport simulations, to simple computationally friendly semi-empirical graph-based solvers. With the theoretical framework, we are now able to explore the temperature influences on the VCM device performances and provide insights in the microscopic operation mechanism in a VCM.  

Do you think women face specific challenges in the sciences?

I think the main problem is there are very few women in this field. I come from electrical engineering, where you have 10 to 15 per cent women. You don’t have many role models. I would never have applied for this fellowship because I thought I wouldn’t be good enough. But luckily, I had Virginie, and the professor as well, they were very supportive and said, “no, go for it!”. That’s the main issue: that you feel very insecure, and if you’re in an environment with many men you can feel like an outsider.

Any advice for young girls interested in science?

I would just say don’t be scared, if you like physics and math just go for it, don’t overthink. You will be as good as all the other guys in your classroom.

What are your plans for the future?

I am still a bit unsure. I am very concentrated on my PhD because I like to do research. But eventually I see myself more in industry, because of my long-standing interest in finding solutions to real-world problems.