My conversation with Victoria Rosborough, a budding photonics engineer
Her sights are set on becoming a photonics engineer, and so she began a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2014.
After graduating in 2012 with a B.S. in physics, and a double minor in chemistry and mathematics, Victoria continued to excel in graduate studies. She next earned an M.S. in Applied Physics from the University of Oregon. But her sights are set on becoming a Photonics Engineer, and so to that end, she began a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2014 and is currently a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She presented her first conference paper in July at the 2016 Advanced Photonics Congress. You can read it here: Integrated Indium Phosphide Pulse Position Modulation Transmitter for Free Space Communications.
What is a Photonics Engineer?
A photonics engineer designs and builds semiconductor devices that manipulate and route photons to perform a function. For example, a simple photonic integrated circuit (PIC) could consist of a laser and a modulator for generating and transmitting optical signals. Active components on a PIC are controlled electronically, thus integrated photonics is also referred to as optoelectronics. PICs are not as mature as electronic integrated circuits (ICs), so it’s an exciting time to be a part of the field. There are many opportunities for startup companies, new designs, and big ideas. For example, to keep up with growing Internet data traffic, many companies and universities are working to integrate an efficient laser on silicon. Silicon is a great material for fabricating ICs, but it’s not an efficient light emitter. Many different approaches to integrating lasers on silicon are being pursued and it’s not yet clear which technique will become the forerunner.
The Huffington Post is not normally a source of information for us, but this blog caught my eye and may help some students when considering a career path in photonics. For more resources, read this article in Laser Focus World:
Photonics Education: How to begin a career in photonics, by Senior Editor Gail Overton
Students interested in a career in optics and photonics should carefully research which institutions are a geographic, academic, and financial fit; which institutions offer a fast track to industry through collaborative programs; and whether or not the technician option makes more sense.
Editor in Chief
Laser Focus World