CAPPA student Shumithira Gandan, a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher (ESR), has certain requirements to fulfil as part of her research contract in addition to those of a regular doctorate student. As part of these requirements she had to complete a working secondment, in external institutes to supplement the work done in home laboratories and to gain new perspectives on the different facets of photonics research.
At CAPPA her work comprises optical spectroscopy techniques on novel semiconductor systems. This involves building experimental setups and using laser spectroscopy techniques to investigate the physical properties of new types of semiconductor systems including nanostructures and alloys that have not been thoroughly investigated. As such, she planned to utilize the secondments to complement the spectroscopy techniques done at CAPPA and to engage in applied photonics research in contrast to the fundamental physics work of the PhD.
In July 2018, after the final PROMIS conference in Windermere, UK, Shumithira travelled to Wroclaw University of Science and Technology (WUST) in Poland, for a stay in the spectroscopy lab of Professor Grzegorz Sek in the Laboratory for Optical Spectroscopy of Nanostructures, where she participated in autocorrelation measurements of quantum dot samples for single photon sources from the Sapienza University of Rome and magneto-photoluminescence experiments on quantum rings from Lancaster University, both of which she had previously studied at CAPPA. These experiments produced some exciting data and are a testament to the success of this bilateral collaboration.
The next leg of the secondment journey took place in the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) in Delft, Netherlands. This applied research institute was an initiative of the Dutch Government in 1932 to advance knowledge and provide expert consultancy in solving major social and economic issues. Here, she worked in the Optics department with Senior Optical Designer Stefan Baumer and Senior Engineer Peter Harmsma where she explored ideas for Mid-IR on-chip spectrometers and built in imaging system for a potential miniaturised Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) device requested by Dutch industrial partners for applications ranging from home dialysis kits to hydroponics.
When asked about her experiences on secondment Shumithira stated “These experiences have definitely widened my outlook on the diversity of photonics research and added value to my thesis. I gratefully acknowledge the funding by Marie Skłodowska Curie H2020-MSCA-ITN-2014 for this brilliant opportunity.”