“Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.”- Richard Feynman. Until lately almost my entire life was about exploring the options my community could offer, and finding the purpose I would settle down to achieving. My academic aspirations are not my childhood dreams, rather they stemmed from my exposure to various domains of electrical engineering, feeling comfortable with a particular one, and being fascinated by it. Now I am strongly motivated to pursue an M.Eng. degree in nanotechnology, and develop my research skills in cutting edge researches in fields like optical trapping, plasmonic waveguides, or 2D nanostructures. The journey began when I started learning natural science out of my fascination, not just for the exam grades.
In my high school years, I spent hours and hours studying mathematics and physics beyond my textbooks, and watching relevant video lectures I found in MIT Open Course Ware. Among all the aspects of physics I learned that time, electromagnetics stood out with its elegance. Its evasive and non-intuitive theories would have me wonder for days. And I would clear my perception by watching the experimental demonstrations, and reading explanatory texts like “A student’s guide to Maxwell’s equations”. It became such a strength of mine that I was appointed as the mentor at the XXX Camp where I taught my country’s most brilliant minds who participated in the international contests. During the course of my undergraduate studies, it took me two years to discover my inclination for photonics and solid-state devices. Later I mostly took advanced courses on semiconductor physics. It grew into a passion when I started my formal research in nanophotonics, a unique field where my most favorite domains overlap. Since Dennard’s Scaling came to an end, I was enthralled by the prospects of nanophotonics research in next-generation device engineering, and what to do for faster computers.
In my undergraduate thesis, I worked on surface plasmon coupled emission (SPCE) based sensors. To improve the signal collection efficiency in fluorescence microscopy, I explored various means of boosting the coupling between the fluorescence emission and surface plasmon polariton. Instead of a single silver (Ag) film, as used in conventional SPCE structures, I chose index matched Ag-GaAs-Ag stack on glass prism, which served to the enhancement of both the excitation field and SPCE intensity. I engineered the spacer layer on the upper Ag film, since glass spacer in typical SPCE studies kept no contribution to signal amplification. I adopted different combinations of 2D materials like graphene and molybdenum disulfide, 1D material-carbon nanotube (CNT), and zero-D material- fullerene because of their intrinsic property of interacting with fluorophore molecules (Rhodamine-B in this work) in the sample and aligning them, resulting in an increase of SPCE. The results are published in a peer reviewed journal paper. After my graduation, I worked at XXX Laboratory as an intern for five months. There I worked on localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) for single molecule detection (SMD), which required the evanescent field to be confined in a very small volume. By introducing a square hole in the silver thin film, LSPR was generated and ~8-fold enhancement in the excitation field was recorded, yet the penetration depth and propagation length were very small, yielding a very small excitation volume. A manuscript on this work has been accepted in an IEEE conference. In this project I learned more about evanescent fields, near-field optical microscopy, and field distribution near small apertures. With a deep interest in photonics and solid state devices, I am fascinated by the pioneering research on co-planner waveguide (CPW) capable of transmitting microwave and optical signals simultaneously. To cope up with the increasing processing speed of microprocessors and the trend of down-scaling of transistors in CMOS technology, further advancement calls for a superior substitution to metal interconnects. The adoption of palsmonic structures in CPW, transmitting quasi-TEM microwave signals, comes up with many advantages over the existing technology, namely high data rate and bandwidth, low power consumption, and reduced number of layers. Yet this novel technique is challenged by signal attenuation over a short distance (few millimeters only). To achieve chip-to-chip implementation, current research aims at reducing propagation loss and cross-talk without sacrificing the SNR.
In this regard, I am mostly interested in joining the research groups of Prof. Odile Liboiron-Ladouceur and Prof. David Plant. I want to pursue graduate-level research in finding new ways of designing compact and low-loss waveguides, or frequency selective resonant interconnects for efficient data transmission. I am also fascinated by Prof. Andrew Kirk’s real-time measurement of complex refractive indices with SPR using chromium and gold-coated glass, and the resolution that is achieved by the novel sensor. The dependence of number of ripples at the critical angle on the number of bacteria layers in the angular based SPR biosensors seemed interesting. I aspire to learn the projection method to analyze the SPR graphs with improved SNR. Additionally, I am intrigued by the current focus of Prof. Thomas Szkopek’s research group, namely, 2D atomic crystals. I studied some significant properties of graphene as a plasmonic structure, like pi-stacking interactions with fluorophores, ultra-broadband photon absorption, optical nonlinear response, high electromagnetic field concentrations, etc. Now I wish to learn more about them and develop my research skills in engineering novel devices. His research on magnetoresistance, thermoelectricity, and LEDs appeals to me.
A thesis-based M.Eng. program at XXX University, in my opinion, will be a perfect entry for me to the graduate studies. XXX’s emphasis on rigorous research in the M.Eng. level will help me prepare myself for Ph.D. level research which I intend to pursue eventually. An incentive for a Ph.D. degree stems from my interest in academia, and my ambition of becoming a fulltime researcher. I have been informally involved with teaching profession for a long time through Olympiad camps, and workshops. Recently, I joined a formal job where I teach physics. I received warm feedback from my students when I persuaded them to indulge in deep understanding of the subject matter, by presenting experimental demonstrations, and proper interpretations. At this point I want to elevate my personal qualifications by earning higher degrees, and contribute to the cutting edge researches in electrical engineering. It will also give me an opportunity to serve my country’s education system in more significant means. Bangladesh is very young in nanotechnology research. A positive change is taking place here, and some internationally recognized researchers are receiving more funds for their projects. For a successful career in academia, a strong background in graduate level research is a must. The ECE department at XXX holds all the resources for the ambitious researchers to be the leaders in their respective fields.