Cohort 3

Our third cohort of 13 students joined us in September 2021

Ahmed Al-Basha

Hi, my name is Ahmed. Prior to joining the CDT, I was awarded a scholarship by TotalEnergies to embark on a Chemical Engineering BEng degree at the University of Leeds. My degree specialised in material science and process systems where my final year project encompassed the design of a reactor to synthesis high purity crystalline materials.

After graduating in 2018, I worked for 3 years as a Development Engineer in a semiconductor start-up in County Durham. In my role, I was involved in fabricating electronic devices based on CVD diamond as well as designing bespoke manufacturing tools and jigs.

I wanted to learn more about semiconductor devices based on other materials, mainly used in RF applications, hence I joined the engineering MSc pathway of the CDT. My PhD, at Cardiff University, will be on characterising GaN transistors using contactless probes supervised by Prof. Johannes Benedikt and sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric.

Aside from engineering, I enjoy hiking, cooking, and going out with friends.

Alex Bennett

Alex graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics from Cardiff University in 2021. Immediately following this, he joined the EPSRC CDT in Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing to further his device physics knowledge and gain hands-on fabrication experience within a cleanroom environment. Alex obtained an MSc in Compound Semiconductor Physics at Cardiff University in 2022. His master’s project investigated the optimisation of RF electro-optic driving schemes for flat optical frequency comb generation. Continuing his passion for practical work, he is currently engaged in a PhD project on designing photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for optical frequency comb generation at University College London. These PICs are fabricated on generic III-V platforms. Additionally, he plans to spectrally broaden the seed comb by combining it with a secondary PIC featuring strong optical nonlinearities. This hybrid integration approach aims to design a compact, wide-band, and tuneable frequency comb with applications spanning various fields (e.g., LiDAR, medical, sensing, etc.). Dr Zhixin Liu supervises his project at UCL. Beyond the confines of the office space, Alex is an avid runner, road cyclist (who also enjoys mountain biking!), and drummer. On the less physically demanding side, he is also passionate about electronics and photography as hobbies

Davey Armstrong

Hi, I’m Davey and I’m from Stroud in Gloucestershire.

I started at Cardiff Uni originally studying Astrophysics, however, over time I became more and more interested in Semiconductor Physics and how Quantum Mechanics can be leveraged to make interesting devices and technology.

My PhD project focusses on Quantum Photonics, looking at several different material platforms of interest (SOI, SiN, AlN, etc.) and understanding the benefits and trade-offs of each. I am also studying how different non-linear optical phenomena, such as Four-Wave Mixing can be achieved on chip for use in Quantum Information Processing applications. This work is done in collaboration with Wave Photonics and EPSRC.

Outside of studying, I love playing guitar, doing art projects and going to the pub with my friends.

Eve Burgess

Hi, I’m Eve, I’m from Oldham near Manchester and have been studying in Cardiff for the past 4 years, completing my MPhys Physics with Astronomy degree in summer 2021.

I originally started at Cardiff Uni on the Astrophysics course but soon realised that it was condensed matter physics, in particular, the physics of semiconductors, their applications and their fabrication, that really captured my interest. For my fourth year project, I researched how to minimise the defects that form during the integration of III-V materials onto Si substrates for both planar epitaxy and nanowire growth.

For my PhD project, I will be using multi-microscopy techniques to investigate the physical mechanisms that contribute to the failure of quantum dot devices, supervised by Juan Pereiro Viterbo and sponsored by Zeiss.

When I’m not studying, I enjoy reading, listening to music (especially live) and a cheeky cocktail and boogie with my friends…but I make sure I have time to water all my house plants (the current count stands at 26 so it’s a big job).

Doug Crackett

Hi, my name is Doug and I am originally from Durham, a city in the Northeast England.

I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2019 with a master’s degree in chemistry. My masters project involved the synthesis and analysis of novel carbazole based host materials for use in TADF OLEDs, this project sparked my interest in semiconductors. Since graduating I have been working as a research support technician for the Molecular Therapeutics and Formulations Division within the Nottingham University School of Pharmacy.

My PhD project is in University of Sheffield, titled “Investigating the impact of Bismuth on the band gap engineering and morphological properties of III/V semiconductor materials grown using MBE”.

The hobbies I’m looking forward to continuing in Cardiff are climbing and surfing.

Yinghong Huang

Hi, I’m Yinghong, I’m from China, I first got to know about semiconductor-related knowledge in my third-year undergraduate and I was totally amazed by how it could make such a difference to people’s life. 

I studied the light extraction of the LED via TracePro as the topic of my dissertation. After finishing my MEng in Optoelectronic Information Science and Engineering, I came to the University of Sheffield for my master program in Semiconductor Photonics and Electronics, especially, my MSc project was themed with Effects of Misalignments on Incident Angles on Multi-beam Laser Interference with Different Polarisation Modes which was supervised by Professor Mark Hopkinson.

In my free time, I enjoy drawing, photography, watching movies and animations.

Ben Jakobs

Hello, my name is Ben, I grew up in Luxembourg, then moved to London, where I spend 4 years doing a MSc Physics degree at King’s College London, with focus in condensed matter physics.

My thesis was on analysing the correlated electron problem using quantum Monte Carlo and machine learning, the algorithm allowed the simulation of the electrons in an Anderson Impurity model, which were displayed using Green functions. My PhD project involves the design of a process development kit for quantum dot based photonic devices and is in collaboration with Photon Design and supervised by Professor Smowton.

Laura Michael

My name is Laura and I grew up in a small town in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Before joining the CDT, I studied at the University of Warwick, and graduated with an integrated Masters in Physics. Even when starting the course, I knew my interest lay in condensed matter and so I looked to explore that area further.

My undergraduate masters project explored the epitaxial growth and thin film characterisation of silicon based epiwafers, with specific attention given to Fourier Transformed Infra-red (FTIR) spectroscopy. As part of this, I helped to derive a new fast, accurate approach to homoepitaxial thickness profiling of silicon, and published my first paper in the IOP journal of Semiconductor Science and Technology.
My PhD project is supervised by Professor Peter Smowton at Cardiff University, and supported by Huawei. My research sets out to design an on-chip Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) system to detect skin cancer. This involves the design of a tunable InAs/GaAs Quantum Dot laser, as well as corresponding waveguides, beam splitters, and a detector.

Outside of physics, I love to do anything artistic, drink tea, and be outside, particularly hiking or white-water kayaking.

Robert Müller

Hi, I’m Robert, originally from the charming town of Marburg, Germany.

I earned both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at RWTH Aachen University, specialising in electronic materials and nanotechnology.

As part of my Master’s degree, I spent half a year abroad at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) before completing my Master’s thesis at Forschungszentrum Jülich in 2021. Here, my research focused on the growth and characterisation of magnetic topological insulators and their implementation into in-situ fabricated devices for more fault-tolerant quantum computing.

In autumn 2021, I joined the CDT in compound semiconductor manufacturing, earned a second master’s degree, and then transferred to UCL for my PhD project under the supervision of Prof. Michael Wale. Here, my doctoral research centres on exploiting Graphene’s highly promising electro-optical properties for integrated photonic building blocks, such as optical modulators and photodetectors.

Aside from academia, I enjoy playing the piano, singing, and learning new languages.

Aquila Powell

I graduated from the University of Leeds with a first-class degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (MEng) in 2021.

My academic interests include memristors (memory-resistors), radio frequency power amplifiers, electronics design, PCB design, modelling and network analysis.

The current focus is on pulsed measurement techniques, active load-pull, network analysis and reconfigurable power amplifiers including the LMBA (load-modulate power amplifier, recently discovered at Cardiff University).

My personal interests include the martial, dramatic and aesthetic arts, historical and science fiction.

Balthazar Temu

My name is Balthazar Gaspar Temu from Tanzania.  

I completed my bachelor degree in telecommunications engineering in 2010 at HUST in China. I then worked as a Network Operations Engineer with MIC Tanzania LTD (Tigo) from August 2010 to Feb 2014 and then as a site engineer with Huawei Dubai from Feb 2014 to April 2018. From Sept 2018 to July 2019 I did a masters in Photonic Integrated Circuits, Sensors and Networks at Scuola Superiore Sant Anna in Italy.  From Sept 2019 to August 2020 I completed my masters in Electrical Engineering at Eindhoven university of technology. The two masters were in a single program which was a scholarship that was funded by the European Union (Erasmus Mundus scholarship) 

I joined the 4 years connected Msc+PhD CDT program in compound semiconductor manufacturing at Cardiff University in October 2021 where I first did the Msc which was completed in September 2022. In October 2022 I started the first year of PhD. My research topic is “Photonic Crystals Surface Emitting Lasers (PCSELs)”. The project is done in collaboration with Huawei as our industrial partner and it is supervised by Dr Qiang Li.

I am interested in swimming and playing football.

Kate Wong

Hello I’m Kate. I have a BSc in Physics and Philosophy from The University of Bristol.

My PhD project is titled “Environmentally friendly plasma processing”, based in Cardiff.

Join us! 

The Centre for Doctoral Training is currently funded for five intakes, from 2019-2023. If you would like to join us, visit our how to apply page and get in touch if you have any questions.

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