Tag Archives: OSA

Feathers in my hat, and new beginnings

The 2017 spring semester was an eventful one.
Courses: MA511 😦 and ECE65900 🙂
I began with the plan that I’d finish a math course and a nanoelectronics course by Supriya Datta. The math course was a requirement, but the nanoelectronics course was something I really had to do. I had heard stories about what a wonderful teacher Professor Dutta is. For those who do not know it, Supriyo Dutta is the Father of Spintronics – the person who laid down the theoretical foundation of spin devices. I took the course and was hooked from the beginning to the end. Even though we did not have a solid background in quantum mechanics, Prof. Dutta navigated us through the treacherous currents of quantum mechanics, density functional theories, and vector algebra, and taught us the intricacies of spin transport. The quizzes were more like a formality, easy to solve if you had practiced the past papers. He designed the course to give students the necessary intuition to solve electron transport problems on their own.
I highly recommend this course to students with interest in Nanoelectronics.
The MA511 course, unfortunately, was very disappointing. The lecturer, instead of showing us the applications of linear algebra in real problems, just went on copying math notes from a notebook on to the screen. We completed the first few homeworks on time, but eventually lost interest and dropped the course.
Won the SVC Foundation Scholarship
Our group specializes in discovering and investigating the plasmonic properties of new materials – transition metal nitrides and transparent conducting oxides being a few of them. To develop films with excellent optical properties we possess our very own sputtering system. As a lot of my seniors from our group recently graduated, my colleague Deesha and I got the duty of taking care of the system. As titanium nitride is always in high demand from a lot of our collaborators, the system is always hot in demand and needs to be well maintained at all times. Being the superuser is a tough job. We have to provide samples-on-demand to our fellow labmates and our collaborators, ensure the consistency of the sputtered films, make sure that the machine is operational, and develop and optimize recipes for new materials. It’s a demanding job, but also rewarding. For instance, my close association with the sputtering system landed me the SVC-foundation scholarship, that partially covers books and tuition for a year, and pays for conference travel to any conference related to vacuum technology.
Completed my quota of tours for the Discovery Park Ambassador Program.
I had signed up for the discovery park ambassador program earlier this year. As part of the program, the Ambassadors give tours to visiting faculty and members of the public of the facilities we have here in Discovery Park. As a Birck ambassador, I gave tours of the Birck Nanotechnology Center, which houses the Scifres Nanofabrication Center. It was a really enriching experience. My audience varied from fifth-graders to full professors; so even though I was covering the same material, I had to tune down or expand my descriptions of the cleanrooms and the facilities to suit the knowledge of the audience. And the visitors never ceased to surprise me. For instance, during one of the tours, I was trying to figure out the best way to explain plasmonic tweezers to a work at home mom. The best I could come up with was, “So… when you focus light into a very narrow region, the spot begins to suck in smalls particles and hold them in position.” I didn’t get to the part where plasmonic antennae push the trapping dimensions to the sub-wavelength level. To my surprise, she responded, “Yes, so the dipole force due to the field gradient is what holds it in place. Now the plasmonic antennae enable a high field confinement, and you can trap them in a smaller space, yes?” It turned out that her husband did his PhD in optical trapping.
The following pictures are of a demo of LCDs I was giving to elementary school kids.
Nanodays 2017
Nanodays is a big annual event where all the research facilities open their doors to the public. It’s a three-day long event that features talks by men and women in science, demonstrations of science projects, and x. Representing OSA and SPIE, Deesha, Oksana, Shaimaa, and I manned a table with an assortment
of toys designed to teach people about optical phenomena. The audience this time varied from two to sixty-year-olds. I discovered that I really like explaining elementary science to students. The highlight of the day was when a cute little three year old stole a slinkie from the demonstration set from right under my friend Deesha’s nose.
Became president of the SPIE elections.
Last, but not least, both Deesha and I were nominated for executive committee positions for the OSA and the SPIE respectively, and became the presidents of the respective student chapters.
We look forward to a year full of exciting and enriching events related to optical science.
To get more information about the events and about how to join the groups, comment here, or join the following group.

The Spring 2016 Semester

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.
  1. Lafayette Toastmasters Club: This is to improve my public speaking skills.
  2. 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.
  3. NSAC: The Nanotechnology Student Advisory Council is an organization of students in Purdue with an interest in Nanotechnology.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The Discovery Park Ambassador Program: I’ll write about it in another post.
  8. 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.