• Department of Materials Science and Engineering graduate student Peter Su shows Summer Scholar Ashley Del Valle Morales how to operate a laser and detector system she will use during her summer project under Senior Research Scientist Anuradha Agarwal. The system combines an optical setup with a laser to drive light through an optical fiber into a sensor sample and collect light passed through resonators on the sample that help determine its quality as a sensor of target gas or liquid chemicals.

    Department of Materials Science and Engineering graduate student Peter Su shows Summer Scholar Ashley Del Valle Morales how to operate a laser and detector system she will use during her summer project under Senior Research Scientist Anuradha Agarwal. The system combines an optical setup with a laser to drive light through an optical fiber into a sensor sample and collect light passed through resonators on the sample that help determine its quality as a sensor of target gas or liquid chemicals.

    Photo: Denis Paiste/Materials Processing Center

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  • MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar Ashley DelValle Morales works at a laser and detector system she is using during her project under Anuradha Agarwal, MIT Microphotonics Center principal research scientist. Agarwal is developing chemical sensors based on the 1,550 nanometer telecommunications wavelength using a new materials system built of silicon carbide on silicon dioxide on silicon.

    MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar Ashley DelValle Morales works at a laser and detector system she is using during her project under Anuradha Agarwal, MIT Microphotonics Center principal research scientist. Agarwal is developing chemical sensors based on the 1,550 nanometer telecommunications wavelength using a new materials system built of silicon carbide on silicon dioxide on silicon.

    Photo: Denis Paiste/Materials Processing Center

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Chemical sensing at telecom wavelengths

MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering graduate student Peter Su shows Summer Scholar Ashley Del Valle Morales how to operate a laser and detector system she will use during her summer project under Senior Research Scientist Anuradha Agarwal.

Summer Scholar Ashley Del Valle Morales probes new a silicon carbide system in the MIT Microphotonics Center.


Press Contact

Denis Paiste
Email: dpaiste@mit.edu
Phone: 603-479-5600
Materials Processing Center

Lasers operating at the infrared wavelength of 1,550 nanometers power high-speed fiber-optic Internet communications. MIT Microphotonics Center Principal Research Scientist Anuradha Agarwal is developing chemical sensors based on the 1,550-nanometer telecommunications wavelength using a new materials system built of silicon carbide on silicon dioxide on silicon.

MIT Materials Processing Center (MPC) / Center for Materials Science and Engineering (CSME) Summer Scholar Ashley Del Valle Morales is working under Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) graduate student Peter Su as part of a team in Agarwal’s lab to characterize this new system. Once the devices are fabricated, Del Valle Morales will use a laser system to determine how effectively the sensors detect the toxic industrial chemical N-methylaniline.

Del Valle Morales, a rising junior at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, also will test the silicon carbide-based sensor before and after it is exposed to gamma rays. Tests will show whether detection capabilities or properties of the device change as a result of radiation exposure.

During a three-day selection process in which this year’s group of 11 Summer Scholars heard presentations by faculty, postdocs, and graduate students and also toured their labs, Del Valle says she was drawn to the Agarwal lab, “because I have done research before, I know it’s really important to select a project you like and you’re interested in. Furthermore, a research in which you can expand your knowledge, so that was one point that helped me decide to join.”

“I also liked the enthusiasm and the interest that the grad students and the principal research scientist showed,” Del Valle adds. “I think that’s very important. It makes me feel very welcome in the lab, and it makes me feel like I wouldn’t be alone in this whole process of learning something new.”

“Having an MPC-CMSE Summer scholar working alongside a graduate student in our research program is an excellent opportunity for both the summer scholar and for our group,” Agarwal says. “Our graduate student learns how to be a good role model and mentor to the Summer Scholar, who is typically just a few years younger, shares a passion for science and technology, and perhaps shares dreams and aspirations for a career in the field of engineering.”

“This year, the enthusiasm of our 2016 summer scholar, Ashley Del Valle Morales, is palpable and contagious. We are excited as she starts her research in microphotonic sensors,” Agarwal adds. “Research in our group progresses faster with the presence of a Summer Scholar, since we have a willing and able 'scientist-in-training' in our midst. In fact, a 2009 MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar [Brian Albert], who came to us while still an undergrad at Columbia, graduated with a PhD in DMSE in 2016.”

Del Valle says she applied to the MPC-CMSE internship program in the spring knowing it was highly competitive because of the broad topics and choice of individual projects offered. “I started working on my essays and the whole application right away. I spent maybe three weeks writing and editing my essay with the help of my English professor,” she says.

‪MPC‬‬‬‬‬‪ and CMSE sponsor the nine-week National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates internships with support from NSF’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program.‬ The program runs from June 7 through Aug. 6.‬‬‬‬‬


Topics: Students, Research, Materials Science and Engineering, DMSE, Materials Processing Center, Photonics, Classes and programs, Undergraduate, National Science Foundation (NSF)

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