Shift in Research

When I graduated from my master program, I decided to not pursue a PhD for a while (although soon enough I had to swallow back my words), and even if I’m going to pursue my PhD, I’m not going to do it in the same field. Guess I just got sick of doing nothing but staring at CST all day long. I mean, basically I could just run my simulation from my phone while having fun somewhere in Seoul. In addition, the field of microwave, antennas, and propagation is getting saturated. I haven’t seen anything really new or groundbreaking for a while – I think I mentioned it somewhere before that this field reached its peak of growth during the world war where everyone needs radar. On the other hand, most universities in the world is going nano, where they fabricate device in the nanoscale. So, I decided to drop this one and go to device fabrications

Although you can’t deny that the anechoic chamber looks freaking awesome

Luckily, one thing led to another, and my current PI accepted me as a PhD student into his photonics lab at KAUST. It’s called photonics, but currently it focuses on semiconductor LED and lasers. Most of the things done here are based on active devices, which is totally new to me. I had to catch up by studying principles of semiconductors and fabrication technologies real hard with my previous knowledge about telecommunication and propagation almost unusable here (it might have gone easier had I opted for passive device structures). Yes, it is hard work, but it is real fun. Oh, and this is a really good chance for me to use KAUST’s class 100 clean room facility, and it will be a really useful knowledge for my future career.

The past three weeks have been really interesting and challenging. I learned a lot about things related to material science (an interesting note is that material science is not a popular major in Indonesia, while on the other hand it’s one of the hottest fields in developed countries as it enables the capability of building new devices), device fabrication in the cleanroom, semiconductor, measurement and characterization techniques, and chemistry. One of the major advantage of studying here at KAUST compared to KAIST is that you can easily discuss about anything with anyone using english. One of my major pain when studying at KAIST was that it’s hard to have a discussion with Korean students, so this one is a really big plus for me.

So, some pics of the stuffs I’m doing here:

Our group’s molecular beam epitaxy machine, used to grow high quality single crystal structures
Me in the cleanroom, tagging along with another student who’s fabricating LED
Trying to learn how to use the X-ray diffraction machine in order to characterize materials
Studying at the library by the sea
Taking a night stroll at the campus
…and golf!


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