Tina Parsonage spent this summer based at the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Southampton, working with Professor Anne Tropper on a project entitled “Ultrafast Semiconductor Lasers”.
Professor Tropper’s group has pioneered an all-semiconductor technology for ultrafast optical pulses, and currently holds the world record for the shortest clean pulse ever generated directly by a semiconductor laser. Tina worked within this group building and characterising her own lasers, helping the group to identify semiconductor wafers that are particularly suitable for high power operation.
Looking back on her experience, Tina commented “It gave me a taste of what it would be like to do a PhD, and how academic research operates. I’m not certain if this is what I will do, but after completing my placement I feel that research is a possibility once I graduate. I would definitely consider doing a PhD in the group I was working in over the summer.”
From the point of view of the supervisor, Professor Tropper added: “This is an opportunity to excite young scientists about our work, and for the young scientists to discover what this work really involves day-to-day. A placement like this is a key route for equipping undergraduates to make informed decisions about their future. The value to the research groups in the long run definitely outweighs the effort that we invest in supervision.”