Student Spotlight

Optics and Quantum Electronics Group: Michael Peng


Hometown, Country:
Laguna Niguel, CA, USA

Academic history prior to coming to MIT:
B.S. in Electrical Engineering Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley; M.S. in Electrical Engineering at MIT

What brought you to MIT?
Following my summer undergraduate research internships at MIT Lincoln Laboratory working on semiconductors lasers and remote-sensing spectroscopy, I wanted to continue research in optics on campus.  I chose to join the Optics and Quantum Electronics Group for my Ph.D. program because of their breadth in research and their vast wealth of knowledge, experience, and resources. I believed that these factors together would enable me to fully explore my interests in optics and to develop skills/expertise for a lifelong career.

What problem are you trying to solve with your current research and what are some possible applications?
Next-generation light sources, such as X-ray free electron lasers, need to synchronize various subsystems located across several kilometers with an unprecedented level of timing stability. My current research is to develop an ultra-stable optical timing distribution system (based on a hybrid combination of mode-locked laser technology and microwave electronics) to deliver sub-femtosecond (<10-15 sec) timing stability.

What interests you most about your research?
I am fascinated by how optics, when cleverly designed and adapted to electronic systems, can achieve an unprecedented level of system performance.

What are your future plans?
I plan on pursuing R&D within the photonics industry.