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Thinking Big and Small: An Approach to Engineering Physics as a Major

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Engineering Physics & Physics Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

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Paper Authors


Scott Kirkpatrick Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Scott Kirkpatrick is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Optical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He teaches physics, semiconductor processes, and micro electrical and mechanical systems (MEMS). His research interests include heat engines, magnetron sputtering, and nanomaterial self-assembly. His masters thesis work at the University of Nebraska Lincoln focused on reactive sputtering process control. His doctoral dissertation at the University of Nebraska Lincoln investigated High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering.

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Richard W. Liptak Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Richard W. Liptak received his B.S. in Engineering Physics from John Carroll University in 2004. After graduation he joined the group of Prof. Steve Campbell and Prof. Uwe Kortshagen were he focused his work on the development of novel gas phase surface passivation techniques to synthesize air-stable full-visible spectrum emitting SiNCs. While at Minnesota he was awarded a NSF IGERT Fellowship. He received his M.S (2006) and PhD (2009) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Following graduation he spent a year as a postdoctoral research associate working for Prof. Mark Rodwell in the UCSB Molecular-Beam Epitaxy Lab where he focused his research on investigating the ALD process on III-V semiconductors and the epitaxial growth of ohmic contacts on III-V materials. He returned to the University of Minnesota in 2010 as a research scientist investigating techniques to tailor the surface chemistry of SiNCs for use in light emitting diodes and solar cell applications. More recent work has focused on the growth and integration of CIGS and CIAGS homojunction and heterojunction solar cells. In the fall of 2013, he joined the Department of Physics and Optical Engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor. Current research efforts are focused on the development of plastic electronics, atomic layer deposition and supercapacitors.

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Renat Letfullin Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Renat R. Letfullin is associate professor of physics and optical engineering department at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He has made outstanding contributions to the fields of wave and quantum optics, lasers, aerosol physics, nanoscience including nanooptics and nanobiotechnology. He is an outstanding theoretician and experimentalist in the fields of optics and kinetics of chemical pulsed lasers, and during the past decade has branched out into biophotonics and nanomedicine. He has discovered new phenomena and scientific effects in these fields, where examples include: effect of diffractive multifocal focusing of plane and spherical waves, effect of giant laser energy gain, the autowave of a new type – self-supporting photon-branched chain reaction, and effect of focusing of de Broglie matter-waves. He has carried out an extensive array of studies in aerosol optical physics, including laser heating and evaporation of aerosol particles and optical properties of nanoparticles. He has developed and designed new self-contained laser systems with multimega joule output energy per pulse, optical reactor for efficient laser processing of dispersed materials, phase technique for optical diagnostics of small particles, and new diffractive atom lens. His latest achievements are in the field of nanophotonics and nanomedicine, including discoveries of a plasmon explosion of nanoparticles, new dynamics modes in selective nanophototherapy, RF and X-ray optics of nanoparticles.

A well-respected international researcher, Letfullin has authored 150 articles and conference proceedings, including 12 book chapters in 10 different books. His work has garnered many grants and awards including 4 patents in laser technology and optical engineering. He has led the development of several new research laboratories for research on biophotonics and nanomedicine, created innovative teaching tools including online video courses and webinars, and supervised numerous masters and doctoral students.

For his achievements in optics, photonics, laser physics, nanophotonics, biophotonics, and nanomedicine Dr. Letfullin has been elected to the Fellow of SPIE and a Senior member of SPIE. He is also a member of the Optical Society of America and American Society for Engineering Education.

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An engineering physics curriculum focusing on micro and nanotechnology has been developed which still allows students to apply themselves over a broad range of science and engineering disciplines. The core components of this curriculum are seven courses in micro and nanotechnology; a breadth of introductory mechanical, optical and electrical engineering courses; advanced physics courses; and a capstone design sequence. The courses in micro and nanotechnology include sequences in, nanotechnology, semiconductors and MEMS. Two courses in nanotechnology highlight scaling laws, self-assembly, and traditional physics concepts at the nanoscale including heat, optics, fluids, Electronics, mechanics, and biology. Two courses in MEMS develop concepts in design, fabrication, and operation of electrical, and mechanical devices at the micro scale. The topic of semiconductors is covered in a sequence of three courses starting with semiconductor materials, developing into semiconductor devices and finishing with fabrication and integration. Students gain additional training in practical areas of mechanical, electrical and optical engineering including statics, AC and DC circuits, and photonics, opening the students to upper level courses in these disciplines. The capstone sequence begins with a 10 week junior design course where a series of small design projects tests their ability to solve problems in a variety of disciplines. Following the junior design course, the students have a 20 week senior design sequence where they design, build and deliver a prototype for an external client. Aside from these core components the students gain additional breadth through courses in math, chemistry, and computer science. This curriculum was designed to include room for a technical area of focus outside of the engineering physics curriculum through a set of engineering electives, requiring an additional sequence of engineering courses finishing with a junior or senior level course.

Kirkpatrick, S., & Liptak, R. W., & Letfullin, R. (2016, June), Thinking Big and Small: An Approach to Engineering Physics as a Major Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27036

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