Zeki Hayran awarded SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship

Zeki Hayran has been awarded a 2021 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, for his potential contribution to the field of optics and photonics. 

Hayran is a Ph.D. student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering under the supervision of Assistant Professor Francesco Monticone. His research interests include spacetime metamaterials, non-Hermitian photonics, and topological photonics. 

“My work aims to overcome performance limitations in photonics,” Hayran explained, “through exploring the temporal dimension in time-modulated photonic systems, where the standard assumption of time-invariance is no longer valid.” 

Nature imposes certain limits on what we can observe and achieve in practice. For instance, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle tells us there is a limit to the accuracy of predicting both the position and velocity of a particle, and the diffraction limit imposes a bound to the maximum achievable resolution in an imaging system such as a microscope. While certain limits such as the uncertainty principle are fundamental, others, including the diffraction limit, are based on certain assumptions and in some cases can be overcome by properly revoking these underlying assumptions.

Hayran expects that such explorations could lead to innovative systems with superior performance, such as optical absorbers, photonic isolators, and small antennas with unusually large bandwidths, that are no longer bound by various limits.

“I believe that these innovative designs may play a key role in future light-based technology, such as optical communication, solar energy, and optical computation,” Hayran said.

Francesco Monticone has been working with Hayran as his Ph.D. advisor. “I am very proud of all of Zeki’s accomplishments, and I see a bright future in academia ahead of him,” Monticone said. “I strongly believe he will make significant contributions to photonics and become a leader in this field.”

In 2021, SPIE is awarding $298,000 in education scholarships to 78 outstanding SPIE student members, based on their potential contribution to optics and photonics, or a related discipline. Award-winning applicants were evaluated, selected and approved by the SPIE Scholarship Committee. This ambitious effort reflects the Society's commitment to education and to the next generation of optical scientists and engineers around the world. 

“I would like to thank SPIE for awarding me this scholarship which will provide generous financial support as I pursue my education and career goals in optics and photonics,” Hayran said.

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