MNTL students receive prestigious SPIE scholarships

6/13/2019 9:21:34 AM Allie Arp, MNTL

This year the SPIE society gave out 84 scholarships to outstanding students across the world who show potential for long-term contributions to the fields of optics and photonics. Two of those scholarships were awarded to Nick Holonyak, Jr. Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory students.

Both Dennis Rich and Dicky Liu are part of the Innovative Compound Semiconductor Laboratory and are working with Can Bayram, an assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering (ECE).

“The SPIE society recognitions reflect the quality of the work Dennis and Dicky have been doing over the last four years,” said Bayram. 

Can Bayram
Can Bayram

Rich was awarded the prestigious-named BACUS Scholarship in the amount of $5,000, sponsored by BACUS, SPIE's Photomask International Technical Group. Rich’s research focused on a new optical material called lithium niobate that has excellent electro-optic, nonlinear, and piezoelectric properties. Rich recently graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and engineering physics. He will be attending Stanford University to pursue his PhD.

“I’ve been working with Professor Bayram for four years, and in all those years I’ve continuously learned the dos and don’ts of research. Notably, I could freely conduct research with experienced mentors and learn from my own mistakes.” said Rich. “The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the best places, if not the best, for conducting photonics research.”

Liu, a Ph.D. candidate in the ECE department, received a prestigious Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship in the amount of $3,000. Bayram believes Liu’s research in light-emitting diode (LED) technology stood out from the rest because it is based on cubic-phase gallium nitride rather than the conventional hexagonal-phase one nitride. Liu’s research has the potential to close the “green gap” in the visible spectrum.

Honored by the SPIE recognition, Liu says the scholarship, along with MNTL’s investment in an III-nitride material growth system, will improve research conducted by him and others.

“We are very excited that we will be able to grow III-nitride semiconductors in our own cleanroom,” said Liu. “This will greatly accelerate the progress of my Ph.D. research and allow the University of Illinois to publish groundbreaking solid-state photonics research on novel emitters.”