Jiho Noh, a graduate student in physics at Penn State, has been awarded a Corning Graduate Research Fellowship for the 2019-2020 academic year by Corning’s Office of STEM. Noh’s application based on his research in nanophotonics—the study of the behavior of light at the nano-scale—was selected from a pool of applicants from Penn State and other universities working with Corning because of its “exceptional quality” and alignment with Corning’s research interests.
As part of the fellowship program, Noh will be paired with a Corning scientist who will mentor him. In addition to financial support, Noh will have the opportunity to travel to Corning in Corning, N. Y. to present on his research and participate in an internship at Corning in the summer of 2020.
“I am excited to begin working with my mentor from Corning,” said Noh. “Having more interaction with the experts at Corning could open up our research field and hopefully will lead to productive collaborations. We are able to do things using light that have been predicted in other fields of physics, but never realized. Hopefully working with Corning will allow us to start to develop new industrial applications for our research.”
Noh’s research is focused on topological photonics, an emerging field in which particles of light—photons—can be manipulated to study fundamental physics. He uses photonic topological insulators that are insensitive to defects in a material and allow him to emulate quantum physics in a classic photonic system. In particular, Noh uses waveguide arrays precisely etched through glass that are analogous to wires for light to study braiding, a process in which particles change states as they move around each other in space. Braiding is one potential basis for performing calculations in quantum computers, but has yet to be demonstrated using electrons. He also studies the behavior of light in nanoscale 3D printed photonic crystals produced using the Nanoscribe Photonic Professional GT3D Printer, the world’s highest resolution 3D printer housed in the Nanofabrication Lab in Penn State’s Materials Research Institute.
“Jiho was the first graduate student in my lab and has been responsible for much of the foundational research we have done,” said Mikael Rechtsman, Downsbrough Early Career Development Professor of Physics and Noh’s graduate advisor at Penn State. “Jiho’s work is very close to Corning’s expertise. They are leaders in developing optical fibers and glass where the physics we are developing can be applied for telecommunications and other photonic technologies. This partnership was a natural fit and will benefit Jiho in his development as a scientist.”
Corning’s Office of STEM, established in 2010, is committed to supporting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs and initiatives to help build a robust talent pipeline and drive innovation. The Office of STEM collaborates with a select group of universities that are invited to submit applications for the Graduate Research Fellowships. “Penn State and Corning have a long history of collaboration in STEM-related initiatives that continues to flourish today,” said Dr. Nick Smith, a Corning Research Associate and on-campus representative at University Park. “We are continually impressed by the cutting-edge research and amazing talent emerging from PSU, and this award to Jiho reflects Corning’s investment in another stellar example of both.”