May 10th Marked the end of my second semester at Purdue. To say the least, it was eventful. But that’s no excuse to not find time for blogging. But here’s the round-up of everything that happened this semester.
I took two courses. The first one was ECE606- Solid State Devices. This is a course that deals with transistor physics. I took it as a refresher course on MOS and BJTs, mostly to prepare for my Qualifying Exam coming up on August. To sum this course up in three words – too much information! We had to cover very elementary Schrodinger’s equations, PN Junction physics, BJTs, MOSFETs, and non idealities associated with the devices. As a result, even though we had to go through a lot of concepts, both old and new, I retained very little. The other course we took was ECE618 – Numerical Electromagnetics. This was more relevant to my field – Fields and Optics. We learned the fundamentals of three types of optical simulations: the finite difference time domain (FDTD) method, the Finite Elements Method (FEM), and the Method of Moments (MOM). I had some experience with FDTD and FEM, but worked mostly with CAD software, where I mostly had to draw a shape and plug in some values and get the software to do my dirty work for me. But this time, we had to come up with our codes from scratch. The problems were tough, but with the help of my amazing teammates, we pulled through.
ECE60600 : A
ECE61800 : A+
I also received the hard copy of my Masters Degree from NUS, which kind of marks the end of the Singapore arc of my story.
I am working on quite a few projects now. They are mostly fabrication based. I’ll update more on them once I figure out how much exactly I can disclose about our research without getting into trouble.
My plan for my first PhD year was to get trained on every type of fabrication equipment that I would possibly have to use during my PhD. I wanted to do this because during my M. Eng. degree in NUS, the labs were not centrally owned, so every time I needed to use a new machine, I had to go through a spiderweb of red-tape, and had to depend a lot of different people to get my processes done. While that helped develop my amazing(!) people skills, I decided that while I am okay with getting help from other people, I am not going to depend on someone.
Here’s the list of equipment I trained on:
Deposition: Leybold E-beam Evaporator.
Etching: The Panasonic Etcher. This is for deep reactive ion etching.
Imaging: Scanning Electron Microscope, Optical Microscope, Atomic Force Microscope, Alpha Step- Surface Profiler, Bruker Optical Surface Profilometer.
Pattering: Electron Beam Lithography, the Mask Aligner System.
Characterization: Surface Profiler and AFM, optical Profilometer.
I thought I was done. But there’s still a lot of characterization equipment I need to train on.
Activities and Clubs:
I joined more clubs than I can keep track of this time. Let me give it a shot.
- Lafayette Toastmasters Club: This is to improve my public speaking skills.
- SPIE and OSA: The International Society for Optics and Photonics, and the Optical Society of AmericaThese two were a must, owing to the fact that I am specialising in optics.
- NSAC: The Nanotechnology Student Advisory Council is an organization of students in Purdue with an interest in Nanotechnology.
- HKN: The Eta Kappa Nu honour society. I joined this to meet more people outside of the lab. The recruitment process was intense. Activities included volunteering and outreach work, attending industry talks, getting signatures from professors and active members, to selling coffee. I started off pretty late in the semester, and had only two weeks to finish everything. But all’s well that ends well. I got in.
- The Boilerout Volunteering Program. This is a club that organizes activities ranging from ushering in theaters, to collecting cans for Food Finders Food Bank. I joined this club mostly as a means to meet new people. Unfortunately, I haven’t really kept in touch with the people I worked with.
- BDSA and PUTS: The Bangladeshi Student’s Association (BDSA), and the Purdue University Tagore Society (PUTS) organized an event together to celebrate the International Mother Language Day. One of my goals on my bucket list was to perform in front of an audience, and I grabbed the opportunity. It was an awesome day.
- The Discovery Park Ambassador Program: I’ll write about it in another post.
- ECEGSA. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Student Organization is a club that is in charge of all things that add a little fun to PhD life. I enlisted myself in the organizing committee as the Academic Director.
That pretty much wraps up this semester. With most of my courses done, I am looking forward to doing some interesting research now.