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Newport Award given to two students

PRISM announces the 2009 Undergraduate and Graduate Newport Awards for Photonics for high scholastic achievement and high potential for leadership in the field of photonics, electro-optics or optoelectronic materials. The awards will be given to Abhishek Agrawal ’09, a senior in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and Euan McLeod, a graduate student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. PRISM announces the 2009 Undergraduate and Graduate Newport Awards for Photonics for high scholastic achievement and high potential for leadership in the field of photonics, electro-optics or optoelectronic materials. The awards will be given to Abhishek Agrawal ’09, a senior in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and Euan McLeod, a graduate student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. 

McLeod, whose dissertation is being performed under the supervision of Prof. Craig Arnold, is recognized for his extensive work in the field of optics for laser processing. In two separate areas, he has created novel optical techniques that leap-frog the capabilities of current processing methods. In the first case, McLeod has helped develop a new type of acoustically driven adaptive optical element that has the ability to modulate the intensity profile of a laser beam three orders of magnitude faster than competing technologies. In the second case, he has developed a method of reducing the feature size in standard laser direct write processing for the first time, using optically trapped microspheres as near-field focusing objectives. His pioneering work has been published in leading journals including Nature Nanotechnology, Optics Letters, Optics Express, Journal of Applied Physics. Prof. Arnold said of Mr. McLeod, “He has the ability to lead research throughout all stages, from conception to completion and from theory to experiment, has the ability to clearly and professionally present the material, and has the ability to educate and train others in the relevant skills and concepts.”

Abhishek Agrawal, a Electrical Engineering major, came to Princeton having lived in many different countries, most recently Berlin, Germany. He worked on multiple projects in the lab of Prof. Claire Gmachl. One involved designing and building a chemical trace gas sensor using a novel type of chaotic optical resonator with long path lengths. Professor Gmachl says that “this was a first in all optical research, (one) that required taking a path quite orthogonal to conventional wisdom, which ultimately led to success, thanks to Abhishek’s sharp intellect and persistence.” It resulted in a contribution to a peer-reviewed conference with Abhishek as the first author. Later he and classmate Willie Hu developed a Quantum Cascade laser pointer, essentially miniaturizing equipment the size of a lab bench into something one can comfortably hold in one hand. Professor Gmachl says, “I often use it to proudly show what engineering marvels my students are capable of.“ Abhishek will work for the next two years for Microsoft, and he has already been accepted to the Harvard Business School Class of 2013 under their 2+2 program.

For a list of previous graduate Newport Award winners click here

For a list of previous undergraduate Newport Award winners click here