In the spring of 2020, Holonyak Lab senior Jarod Meyer became one of three undergraduate students from ICORLAB to publish a first-authored journal paper in the last six years.

Holonyak Lab undergrad student published in physics journal

Jarod Meyer, a senior at Holonyak Lab and Materials Science and Engineering, has been working in Assistant Professor Can Bayram’s research group, ICORLAB, for the past two and a half years. In the spring of 2020, Meyer became one of three undergraduate students from this group to publish a first-authored journal paper in the last six years. Jarod’s research findings were published in the Journal of Physics: Photonics

Photo of Holonyak Lab student Jarod Meyer
Photo of Holonyak Lab student Jarod Meyer

“Publication in a prestigious journal requires external review of the submitted manuscript by the editor and minimum two independent reviewers. The blind review process does not distinguish which career ladder the lead researcher is at. It is focused on merit only,” said Bayram, an ECE Illinois faculty member. “A publication is archived forever so publishing a journal paper is a symbol of originality and impact.”

Meyer studies the light emission from gallium nitride (GaN) samples grown by various techniques and on different substrates to induce a variety of results.  His goal is to create a growth method that improves LED efficiency.

“By alloying GaN with indium and aluminum, LEDs that emit light in a wavelength range spanning the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet spectrums can be fabricated,” said Meyer. “GaN is typically grown on non-native substrates such as sapphire, silicon carbide, and silicon. These materials are lattice-mismatched to GaN, (the atomic spacing doesn’t line up well), and this leads to many defects being generated during growth.”

In 2018, more than 10% of all electricity in the US was consumed for lighting applications. Meyer says that even a 1% improvement in the efficiency of LEDs could lead to billions of dollars in savings on lighting electricity consumption. Bayram said everyone benefits from this research.

“You open the switch and turn the light on. What we research is the loss mechanisms in this everyday light emitter,” said Bayram. “We study the fundamental mechanisms so that better light sources can be engineered, saving energy and associated costs for all.”

Meyer adds that improvements in LED efficiency are not only good for everyone’s bank accounts, but also for the environment and for public health.

“Efficiency improvements improvement leads to a lower-carbon footprint as most of the electricity in the world still comes from greenhouse gas-emitting sources like coal, oil, and gas,” said Meyer. “More relevant to the current coronavirus world we live in, high-power UV-C LEDs based on AlGaN have great potential in sterilizing surfaces and combating the spread of disease. It’s cool to be working on a topic with so many important applications.”

Meyer said he’s very grateful to have had Professor Bayram and the other members of ICORLAB to help him through the publication process. He says it’s a long but worthy process.

“As I got to learn this year, the road to publication is a difficult one,” said Meyer. “You see thousands of great articles being published in journals every month, but I guess I didn’t really appreciate how much time goes into each paper.”

Bayram says that Meyer’s success is due in part to ECE Illinois’ undergraduate research opportunities.

“These opportunities really help our students’ formal education and get them ready for tomorrow’s big societal challenges,” said Bayram. “I am certain that Jarod will continue to make Illinois proud.”  

Meyer said that publishing this paper gives him confidence as he goes as he goes on to Stanford University to pursue a Ph.D.

“As I go into graduate school this fall, the publication process won’t be nearly as foreign,” said Meyer. “It also feels like a win for my lab-mates, advisor, friends, and family that helped me along the way. I couldn’t have done it without their support.”