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Arvind Ravikumar and John Chang are the co-recipients of the 2014 Newport Graduate Student Award in Photonics

Arvind Ravikumar and John Chang, both graduate students in the Department of Electrical Engineering, are the co-winners of the 2014 Newport Graduate Award in Photonics.

Arvind with Prof. Sturm (right)         John with Profs. Prucnal (left) and Sturm (right)

Arvind’s research, under the direction of Prof. Claire Gmachl, is on II-VI Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors (QWIP detectors) and lately Quantum Cascade Detectors (QCDs).  The latter started as a small side-project, and has blossomed into a highly promising new line of research.  In addition to being a top researcher, Arvind is a dedicated teacher and undergraduate student mentor, a natural leader who thinks strategically and is able and most willing to take the high level view, even if that means more work for himself.  Prof. Gmachl writes, “Arvind has achieved so much. He developed the field of II-VI intersubband detectors and has made strong contributions to emitters as well . He is on track for leadership at a top-tier University or research organization.”

John Chang, a fifth year graduate student, incorporated state of the art photonic technologies, including custom-designed fiber Bragg gratings and integrated optical attenuators, into a scalable photonic beam former for the first time. In this beam former, the number of antenna elements could be scaled indefinitely with a graceful effect on the power budget. John’s second accomplishment was in the area of algorithms. He delved deeply into the theory of adaptive equalization, and developed a novel method for ‘blind’ equalization that can detect a signal of interest embedded in noise without any information about its characteristics. John was also the recipient of the Newport Undergraduate Award in 2010. His advisor, Prof. Paul Prucnal states: “I have known John for his entire undergraduate and graduate career at Princeton. John’s accomplishments over the past seven years have been extraordinary at every stage of his development. He has proved himself to be an extraordinarily talented experimental and theoretical researcher.” John has accepted a position as a research scientist at MIT Lincoln Labs working on optical satellite communications, starting in August.