Mukund Bapna Receives Graduate Student Research Award
By Ben Panko
Physics Ph.D graduate Mukund Bapna received the 2018 Guy C. Berry Graduate Student Research Award. He was presented with the prize at the Mellon College of Science Graduate Student Town Hall in April.
"Mukund is a quiet person who does not draw attention to himself, but those who interact with him quickly recognize his abilities," Bapna's lab director, Professor of Physics Sara Majetich, wrote in nominating him for the prize.
In Majetich's lab, Bapna's research has looked at magnetic tunnel junction nanopillars, nanostructures that could be used for more energy efficient computing and data storage. With his "golden hands," Majetich said Bapna has fabricated devices as small as 15 nanometers in diameter using electron beam lithography and ion milling.
Beyond device fabrication, Bapna has also been involved in multiple other research areas within the lab and has 14 published papers (with several others on the way) and four patent applications to his name. Majetich noted how he also strives to be helpful for other researchers in the lab through brainstorming and scanning probe measurements, which has resulted in his being named as a co-author on several papers unrelated to his thesis.
Seconding Mejetich's nomination was her collaborator from the University of Arizona, Assistant Professor of Physics Weigang Wang. "I have interacted with more than 30 graduate students from my own group at the University of Arizona and from my collaboration with other institutions," Wang wrote. "Mukund is definitely one of the most talented and motivated among all of them."
Bapna received his Ph.D. in May, and is now heading off to Portland, Oregon, to work for the research and development team at Intel. There he will be developing smart interconnects for nodes under 20 nanometers in size for next generation processors.