Tag: Applied Physics

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2022 Recipient – Sushree Dash

My love for optics and photonics is deep in my core. I have always been fascinated and motivated by this area of physics. Everything fascinated me, from natural phenomena to optical illusions, from ray optics to wave optics, from ordinary materials to extraordinary materials with optical effects. While my journey in optics and photonics was inevitable, it never lacked an element of surprise. 

I started my PhD here at Michigan Tech in Fall 2018, in the Department of Physics with Dr. Miguel Levy as my advisor. In my research, I focus on investigating the fundamental properties of ultra-thin magneto-optics materials. The surface effects we are investigating will lead to the miniaturization of laser components named optical isolator and, thus, the miniaturization of lasers. We researched the experimental aspects of these properties and the theoretical, i.e., density functional theory aspect of it. This gives a complete picture of our investigation of the non-reciprocity property, i.e., Faraday rotation.  

During my time at Michigan Tech, I made friends and family who helped me grow as a physicist and a better human being. Now that it’s almost time for my journey at Michigan Tech to end soon, I am sure the memories and lessons learned during these five years will always stay with me and guide me in my future endeavors. 

I am indebted to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory panel for considering and awarding me this fellowship. I am grateful to my advisor; Dr. Levy’s teachings helped me become a better person and student. He always inspired me to contribute to the community while contributing to physics. I am proud and honored to be his student.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Summer 2022 Recipient – Tong Gao

I started my Ph.D. program in the Physics Department at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2017 and joined Dr. Nakamura’s group. There I focused on studying lithium dendrite growth in electrolytes using Monte Carlo simulations and deep neural networks in machine learning methods. Motivated by our collaborator’s experiment, I discovered a new mechanism for inhibiting the dendrite growth with large organic salts, such as ionic liquids. Through my research and coursework experiences, I have solidified my confidence in various physics subjects. These include soft-matter physics, solid-state physics, computational physics, physical chemistry, and computer science. As I approach the end of my Ph.D. program, I am currently addressing the challenge of overcoming the vast computational expense of molecular dynamics simulations for salt-free and salt-doped liquids. In order to address this, I am further developing my deep neural network models.

I have enjoyed my Ph.D. life; Houghton has the most beautiful summers I have ever seen. I greatly appreciate the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Dean for granting me the Finishing Fellowship. I would also like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Issei Nakamura, for his enlightening guidance throughout my research, as well as the Physics Department for all their support.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Andrew Puyleart

August of 2016, I started my journey toward an Applied Physics Ph.D. at Michigan Tech. I recently left an engineering job and was excited to start working on cosmic ray physics with Dr. Brian Fick. Since then Brian and I have completed several projects together over the course of 5 years.

We started with a service project for the Pierre Auger Observatory. The Pierre Auger Observatory has fluorescence telescopes that only operate on clear-moonless nights. Clouds in our atmosphere disrupt photons from entering the telescope eyes of this instrument. Together we used a modern satellite, GOES-16, to accurately tell if a cloud was present in 2×2 km square pixels that cover the entire array.

Our work now has turned to searching for anomalous air showers that are generated when a cosmic ray interacts with atmospheric matter. These showers typically all look relatively the same; however, when they exhibit exotic behaviors they may hold clues to new particle physics. We are developing methods using the Pierre Auger Observatory to classify which showers are anomalous.

Thanks to the Michigan Tech Finishing Fellowship I will be able to focus on wrapping up this last project. I have coding work, and optimization to finish, as well as finally getting it all written down on paper. With the extra time, the Finishing Fellowship will give me to focus I might be able to avoid another winter here in the Upper Peninsula! Thanks, MTU!