Researcher of the Week

Conducting undergraduate research at UMBC provides students with an opportunity to learn about a particular topic within their major while working closely with a mentor or advisor.

Whether entering the workforce or applying for graduate school, research is a great way to expand your knowledge related to your major.

Prosper Adangwa, a senior majoring in computer engineering at UMBC, has conducted his own undergraduate research.

Adangwa became involved with undergraduate research “by doing a summer research internship with MIRTHE (Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and Environment) at the Teaching and Research Center at UMBC.”

Adangwa stated his goal of his research was to, “carry out femtosecond pump-probe reflectivity measurements on semiconductor samples for use in quantum cascade lasers by measuring their free-carrier lifetime.”

“I used a Neodymium Vanadate laser operating 532 nm wavelength with a pulse width of 7 ps and a pump-probe set-up to measure the free-carrier lifetime of ZnCdSe samples,” stated Andangwa. “With a lock-in amplifier connected to a photodetector,” Adangwa was able to analyze the data he obtained.

Undergraduate research has many benefits and exposed Andangwa to “cutting edge technology,” which ultimately motivated him to continue studies in graduate school with a focus on Optoelectronics.

Research provides an opportunity for students to work directly with a faculty member at UMBC to conduct the project. His mentor, Dr. Anthony M. Johnson, is the Director of the Joint Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (CASPR).

CASPR focuses on the technology within the fields of optical communications, optical sensing and devices.

Using the data he obtained through his research, Andangwa plans to create new technology. Andangwa said he plans to “measure the carrier lifetime of different semiconductor samples and compare the data obtained for others.”

He has also expressed an interest using lasers to transmit bits of data over a short distance. Adangwa advises students who are looking to begin research to “start right away and not wait until getting into [the] final year of graduation.”

UMBC offers undergraduate seminars weekly, intended to provide students with the resources needed to begin research. According to Adangwa, approaching faculty members and discussing possible topics within your related field is a very beneficial step to beginning research.