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ECE Undergrad Receives Prominent Scholarship from the IEEE

Minwo Wang

Minwo Wang

Senior electrical engineering major Minwo Wang has received a Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S) Undergraduate/Pre-graduate Scholarship for Spring of 2017 from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Wang’s research, as supported by this $1,500 scholarship, will help improve calibration inside cryostat and cryogenic noise measurement, a specialty of Associate Professor Joseph Bardin, Wang’s research advisor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

In Bardin’s laboratory, called the UMass Amherst Radio Frequency Nanoelectronics Group, students and scientists work with cutting-edge semiconductor technologies and investigate topics ranging from fundamental device physics to the design of complex integrated systems.

As background for his research, Wang explained that several cryogenic noise measurement methods are in use, but each has its own limitations. For instance, the variable-temperature load method suffers from uncertainty due to thermal gradients, Wang said, while the cold attenuator method requires a complicated calibration to obtain accurate results. Recently, however, Bardin’s group has developed a very promising new method by using a Tunnel-Junction Shot-Noise Source.

In that context, as Wang noted, “I received the opportunity to perform research in the UMass radio frequency nano group, which is led by Professor Joseph Bardin. There are nine Ph.D. students in the group and, while everyone’s research is unique, there are overlapping themes. My graduate mentor, [doctoral student] Seyedeh-Shirin Montazeri, focuses on amplifier design for radio astronomy based applications. It is intriguing to see how an extremely weak signal can carry so much useful information about the sky. Her research has got me very excited about low-noise amplifiers.”

Montazeri, in fact, is a fitting mentor for Wang since in 2016 she was awarded a fellowship of $6,000 from the IEEE MTT-S Graduate Fellowship program. As Professor Bardin said at the time about Montazeri, “Her research is focused on ultra-low-power cryogenic low-noise amplifiers.”

As Wang added, “Wei-Ting Wong, another graduate student who is an expert in cryogenic measurements, has shared with me the challenges involved in measurements. It is exciting to know something coming from practical experience, which is a little different from the theory. The group members’ research passion has stimulated my interests in radio frequency and microwave engineering. At the same time, Professor Bardin gave me a project which I am currently working on. It is a valuable opportunity for me to delve into designing radio frequency and microwave systems outside a classroom.”

Wang’s scholarship is one of only 10, at maximum, issued by the MTT-S semi-annually, once each spring and fall. The purpose of these scholarships is to attract B.S. and M.S. students to the microwave and radio frequency discipline and to encourage them to pursue a job or doctoral degree in this field.

The IEEE MTT-S is a transnational society with more than 10,500 members and 190 chapters worldwide. The society promotes the advancement of microwave theory and its applications, including radio frequency, microwave, millimeter-wave, and terahertz technologies. (March 2017)