Two electrical engineering students win SPIE scholarships for their research

Joe Chen working in his lab. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Joe Chen and Aaron Long, doctoral students in electrical engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, have been named recipients of 2016 SPIE scholarships.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, awarded $351,000 in scholarships to 133 students involved in optics, photonics or a related field. SPIE has awarded over $5 million in individual scholarships since it began in 1959.

Chen is exploring nonlinear optical phenomena, which involves using light to control light in liquid crystals, and is developing optical devices based on the phenomena. He explains that liquid crystal is highly sensitive to external electric fields in displays of light in televisions, computers, smartphones and electronic watches. Yet, the potential applications of liquid crystal are beyond that: non-linear optics is one big branch, such as self-activated eye/sensor-protection and all-optical image processing devices.

Working with his adviser, Iam-Choon Khoo, the William E. Leonhard professor of electrical engineering, Chen is currently focusing on exploring the nonlinear optical effects of cholesteric blue-phase liquid crystals and developing materials and devices for further applications in all-optical image processing and ultrafast pulse modulation. The scholarship will help offset the costs of tools needed for the lab and allow him to attend conferences in his area of research.  

Long’s work focuses on computer vision, where a computer will interpret a video or picture, using a small, embedded system that works in real time. Long explains that his research can be used not only for military purposes but also for a number of consumer applications, including traffic and car cameras.  The scholarship will help him purchase computer parts and supplies needed for research. 

He is advised by Ram Narayanan, professor of electrical engineering.

Both Long and Chen learned about the scholarship opportunities through the student chapter of SPIE.

Aaron Long, doctoral student in electrical engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Penn State Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated July 12, 2016