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Deesha Shah Awarded 2020 Teddi Laurin Scholarship

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BELLINGHAM, Wash., and PITTSFIELD, Mass., May 26, 2020 — Deesha Shah has been awarded the 2020 Teddi Laurin Scholarship for her contributions to the field of optics and photonics.

Shah is a doctoral student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, co-supervised by professors Vladimir Shalaev and Alexandra Boltasseva. Her research includes the development of plasmonic thin films, particularly transition metal nitrides, and noble metals, with a specific focus on the optical properties of ultrathin metallic films and investigating their uses in tunable nanophotonic devices. She has received several awards, including the Ross Fellowship and the Society of Vacuum Coaters Student Award.

Deesha Shah, winner of the 2020 Teddi Laurin, is pursuing a doctorate at Purdue University in plamonic thin films. Courtesy of SPIE.

Deesha Shah, winner of the 2020 Teddi Laurin Scholarship, is pursuing a doctorate in plasmonic thin films at Purdue University. Courtesy of SPIE.

Photonics Media partners with SPIE to fund the Teddi Laurin Scholarship to raise awareness of optics and photonics and to foster growth and success in the photonics industry by supporting students involved in photonics. The scholarship is in memory of Laurin Publishing and Photonics Media founder Teddi Laurin.

“We are proud to congratulate the 2020 Teddi Laurin Scholarship winner, Deesha Shah,” said Tom Laurin, president of Photonics Media. “This award honors the vision of my mother, Teddi Laurin, whose dream was to see the photonics industry thrive and expand. We wish Deesha the best of luck as she pursues her studies in plasmonics.”

As the treasurer for SPIE’s student chapter at Purdue, Shah helped organize the 2018 SPIE/OSA callout and the 2019 SPIE Women in Optics panel. She said she plans to use the scholarship in part to attend SPIE’s Photonics West 2021 and Optics and Photonics 2021, and to cover university fees.

“I attended both [conferences] in 2019 and at both, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with several important professors in the field of plasmonics,” Shah said.

She said her interest in plasmonics originated with a research project in her undergraduate studies, where she was looking into the physics behind metamaterials.

“I was intrigued how optical properties could be enhanced by manipulating structure geometry,” Shah said. “My newfound interest led me to an internship at Los Alamos National Laboratory where I designed a metamaterial-based chemical sensor for explosive materials. My experience at LANL fueled my motivation to pursue a research career in photonics.”
May 2020
A material engineered from artificial matter not found in nature. The artificial makeup and design of metamaterials give them intrinsic properties not common to conventional materials that are exploited as light waves and sound waves interact with them. One of the most active areas of research involving metamaterials currently explores materials with a negative refractive index. In optics, these negative refractive index materials show promise in the fabrication of lenses that can achieve...
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