Rochester Institute of Technology Students Awarded Grants
Three microsystems engineering doctoral students from Rochester Institute of Technology have received national fellowships for research work in the areas of nanotechnology and nanolithography. “These fellowships recognize several of the outstanding students that we have in the Ph.D. program,” says Professor Bruce Smith, director of the program and academic advisor to the students. “We are proud of the accomplishments and exceptional work being carried out by these individuals recognized through these prestigious awards.”
The Semiconductor Research Corp. Doctoral Fellowship was awarded to Burak Baylav, whose current research is focused on assessing the ability of scaling-interference lithography for large-field integrated-circuit applications.
“Interference lithography is a less expensive and easier way to generate high-resolution patterns with high contrast and good image fidelity, compared to extreme ultraviolet lithography and double-patterning lithography,” Baylav says. “However, it faces some challenges that need to be addressed in order to be used for large-field, integrated circuit manufacturing.” Originally from Antalya, in southwestern Turkey, Baylav expects to graduate in 2013. He is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the RIT student chapter of the International Society for Optics and Photonics, Optical Society of America and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Michael Slocum received a three-year NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship for work in the area of nano-structured photovoltaics for space power. NASA fellowships are intended to help accelerate the development of technologies to support future space science and exploration needs of NASA, other government agencies and the commercial space sector. Slocum’s work involves the development of quantum dot nano-structures for high-efficiency, space solar applications including radiation-tolerance. “Long-term goals for this project are to realize an intermediate-band solar cell where the semiconducting material has an intermediate-band between the valence and conduction bands, which results in three distinct absorption bands,” says Slocum, who is from Williamsport, Pa. “The intermediate-band solar cell is an area of high interest to the solar community, because it is seen as one of the few ways to reach conversion efficiencies greater than 50 percent.” NASA doctoral fellows perform research at their respective campuses and at NASA Centers. At RIT, Slocum is advised by Seth Hubbard, assistant professor of physics and microsystems engineering; at NASA he will work with Sheila Bailey, associate faculty at the International Space University and a senior scientist at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio.
Stephen Polly is the recipient of a U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistance in the Areas of National Need Fellowship. His work is in the area of nano-materials and technologies, specifically to test how solar cells perform under both terrestrial and extraterrestrial conditions. “My focus area is on improving the efficiency of solar cells by the addition of quantum dots,” says Polly, who is from Jamesville, N.Y. He expects to graduate in 2014. Understanding how nano-materials work might provide researchers with the ability to optimize the design of the solar cell and maximize its effectiveness, Polly says. Several of the devices he helped produce are being used on the International Space Station to gather data for its mission about how advanced solar cells, spacecraft materials and lightweight computing devices and techniques adapt to long-term exposure to the space environment.
The microsystems program has had multiple fellowship awardees since 2009, Smith says. The program was established in 2002, the first of its kind in the U.S. at that time, and awarded its first degrees in 2005. Smith received a U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need grant in 2009, and funds from the grant have been distributed to doctoral students to support research in areas considered strategic to the U.S. economy and educational institutions.
Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging science, sustainability, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. RIT enrolls 17,500 full- and part-time students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.#