CEEM Internship thoughts by an EE
I would like to start off by saying thanks to Professor Mishra for letting me work is his lab and to my mentor Matthew Laurent for being patient with me while I learn how research is done. I’m a Center for Energy Efficient Mateials (CEEM) intern working on new ways to improve GaN transistors. I just finished my junior year in Electrical Engineering here at UCSB.
These first few weeks in the CEEM internship broke many preconceptions I had about graduate research. I expected it to be like my undergraduate studies where I had strict instructions on what I had to accomplish and a deadline to meet. Graduate research is really different from that mindset. Graduate students are given lots of freedom to carry out their research, and they have to be self-motivated to learn new concepts for their research. Coming from an engineering undergraduate perspective, I expected research progress to be fast. I was surprised to see everyone working at a comfortable pace. It made realize that people make less mistakes when they are in control of their schedule. I’ll be sure to follow that logic when completing my senior year of undergraduate education.
My project deals with characterizing a new material (AlInGaN) for use in high frequency and high power GaN transistors. Currently these transistors are limited by materials that can’t achieve the right electrical and structural properties at the same time . Hopefully, AlInGaN will be able to solve this problem. It has been interesting working on this project because I can understand why certain steps have been taken and I have an understanding of how the transistors are supposed to work. Throughout my junior year coursework, key concepts have been ingrained in my mind, like the effects of applying a voltage to a pn-junction and how a bipolar junction transistor works. These basic concepts have helped me understand the philosophy behind the devices we are trying to create.
Working in the Mishra Lab has been a great experience. Everyone in the lab is approachable and are willing to help me understand what is going on. I’ve learned so much about device physics through spending time with graduate students in the office. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I hope to be able to contribute to the success of this research.
Outside of lab, I’ve enjoyed attending the research seminars and GRIT talks. So far, my favorite was the research seminar on ethics by Professor Seshadri. He made me understand the importance of integrity in research and how scientific endeavors are for the betterment of humanity as a whole and not for personal gain or recognition. I look forward to attending more research seminars and GRIT talks.