Student Spotlight

Optics and Quantum Electronics Group: Michael Peng


Hometown, Country:
Laguna Niguel, CAUSA

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.