Science and Engineering are the key paradigms for organizing a study of natural phenomena. Science, the active study, seeks to understand and predict. Engineering, the pro-active study, seeks to co-opt and re-purpose. Hand in hand, the study of Science and Engineering, as applied to materials, can be mapped by four significant milestones. These milestones chart the progress of EMAT graduate students through their education and research as they struggle, learn, master and, finally, bequeath answers...
... that raise new questions.
Figure: Design plot illustrating the trade-off between areal footprint (reduction in bending radius) versus scattering loss for, for planar waveguides, as a function of index difference Delta-n.
You've cracked a secret of nature and learned to model its inner workings. Now, can you do better?
Design is where the researcher's ambition reasserts itself; where the engineer steps in, and the scientist takes a backseat. Modeling has helped develop a consistent description of a physical system whereby we can quantitatively predict the output of the system, subject to a controlled input. Now, can we alter the system and, in turn, alter the output in a predictable way?
Engineering is the study of modification and alteration; where a material's properties are manipulated by thermal, chemical, or physical processing. Can we heat a material, dope it or chemically bond it, etch it or shape it, in a way that alters the output of the material or its performance as a light-guiding device? Design involves assessing what we require from our material or device's properties and selectively engineering that enhancement or creating a desired effect.
Past achievements in design for the EMAT group include:
Design of an optimized Er-doped Waveguide Optical Amplifier-by enhancement of device gain efficiency and minimization of device footprint-as a function of waveguide index difference.
Design of a tunable WDM filter that relies on micro-electromechanical tuning of an air defect layer, while maintaining a processing flow that allows for planar integration with a waveguide.