LSU ECE Junior Bryce Ferrara Studies Optoelectronics
April 23, 2019
BATON ROUGE, LA – For the past year, LSU Electrical and Computer Engineering junior Bryce Ferrara has worked under LSU ECE Professor Theda Daniels-Race as part of the Applied Hybrid Electronic Materials & Structures (AHEMS) group studying fluorescence spectroscopy.
His research entails using light of a specific wavelength to stimulate molecules in a material, such as a semiconductor, so those molecules will emit wavelengths of their own, otherwise known as an electronic signature. The “signature” is used to identify certain optoelectronic properties in the material to determine if it can be used in the development of the next generation of consumer electronics.
“Optoelectronic is a term that refers to any electronic device that interacts with light,” said Ferrara, a native of Hammond, La. “Solar cells, lasers or light-emitting diodes would be great examples of optoelectronic devices. Our research is primarily concerned with the materials that devices like these are made up of. We investigate new electronic materials that have the potential to replace current materials by the data we collect.”
Inside LSU’s Engineering Research and Design, or ERAD, building, Ferrara collects information using the Fluorolog-3, a fluorescence spectrometer that projects light of a certain wavelength onto the semiconductor, causing the molecules in the semiconductor to vibrate and emit light of their own at a different wavelength.
“We can obtain valuable information about how an electronic material may perform if used to make a device, such as a transistor, by studying these differences in the projected versus the emitted light from the semiconductor,” Ferrara said.
Ferrara’s research came about when he was considering whether or not to attend graduate school, which is still undecided.
“I just wanted to dip my toes into it, and Dr. Race was my advisor,” he said. “I looked into her research and found it interesting, so I asked if I could work with her.”
Of working with Race over the course of a year, Ferrara said, “I like working with her. She has helped me out a lot and gives really good advice. You couldn’t ask for a better mentor.”
“It's great having Bryce in my research group,” Race said. “He's a great example of how undergraduate research gives students a chance to look beyond the textbook and learn about the state-of-the-art of their field.”
In just a couple of months, Ferrara will head to Gallup, New Mexico, for a summer internship with Marathon Petroleum, where he hopes to learn more about his field of interest.
Contact: Libby Haydel