June 26, 2012
The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) has recognized the work of Stevens Institute of Technology graduate student Fei Tian with a prestigious Scholarship in Optics & Photonics. With funding by The National Science Foundation, Fei’s research utilizes photonic crystal fiber to create cutting-edge sensor technology in gas, chemical, or biological media.
Photonic crystal fiber (PCF) is a new class of optical fiber that yields better and more efficient ways to guide light, allowing for more advanced applications not possible in conventional optical fiber. Fei‘s work expands on PCF’s unique properties by using long period gratings (LPG) in PCF to develop a PCF-LPG transduction platform that is highly sensitive to changes in the refractive index. The high refractive index sensitivity and the feasibility for molecular/nano-scale functionalization in axially aligned cladding air channels of the PCF make it a unique, ultra-sensitive “lab-in-a-fiber” optofluidic sensing platform for geometrically confined systems. Integration with layer-by-layer (LbL) polyelectrolyte systems enables this platform to measure a variety of important parameters, such as pH, temperature, and ionic strength.
“Ms. Fei Tian is an example of our students’ excellence and academic rigor in conducting ground-breaking research,” says Dr. Michael Bruno, Dean of the Charles Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science.
“Fei is clearly on a path of significant accomplishment in the emerging field of photonic crystal fiber optic sensing research,” says Dr. Henry Du, her thesis advisor and Director of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Stevens. “She is one of the brightest and most well-rounded students I have ever encountered. I congratulate Fei, and look forward to her growing contributions to the exciting field of photonics and optics.”
Fei earned her Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus on microelectronics, but in a demonstration of her desire to expand her intellectual boundaries, transitioned to a new field of study in Materials Science and Engineering for her PhD work. "Thanks to my advisor Professor Henry Du and co-adviser Professor Svetlana Sukhishvili at Stevens, my interest in optics has continuously grown,” says Fei. Her diligence and hard work has already resulted in peer-reviewed publications in Optics Letters and Biosensors and Bioelectronics, and several invited/contributed talks at technical conferences. This summer she is spending a month at the Institute of Photonics and Electronics, The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Prague as part of her doctoral research.
SPIE was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies, and now serves more than 225,000 constituents from all over the world through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. In 2011, they awarded a total of $350,000 in individual scholarships based on applicants’ academic and research merits. “I'm grateful for the support SPIE has provided me. The experience with SPIE has helped me to see the bigger picture through communication with like-minded and committed optics professionals," Fei says.
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