Undergraduate Physics student Aman Patel wins The Robert S. Hyer Research Award

October 24, 2022
Aman Patel receiving Hyer Award

Aman Patel is a physics and applied math major from India who works with Dr. Zhenrong Zhang on research in photonics and quantum optics, studying the interaction of light with materials.  Aman recently received The Robert S. Hyer Research Award, given by the Texas Section of the American Physics Society for excellent undergraduate research.  He was awarded an URSA research award to support his undergraduate research and an URSA travel award to attend the international AVS Symposium in Pittsburg, PA. Aman credits Dr. Zhang with his success, commenting that

“Dr. Zhang has been instrumental in guiding me during my undergraduate career. Working with her in her lab, I got the opportunity to experience working as a researcher and see the potential of working as a physicist. I realized my true passion for physics, and I changed from pre-med to physics, committing to becoming a physicist. Dr. Zhang has helped me develop important skills such as presenting research results at conferences and writing research papers for publication. She has also given me a great number of opportunities to work on different kinds of research project and helped me explore the different facets of interesting research in physics.”

Aman studies the properties of a new type of nanomaterial called K-W-O (potassium-tungsten-oxide). Nanomaterials refer to structures that are one-billionth the size of a meter. He uses Raman Spectroscopy to study how the property of the KWO nanomaterial changes when it interacts with acetone. This method provides information about the chemical structure of molecules using the interaction between light and the chemical bonds in the molecule. One exciting application of this project is the development of an improved design of an acetone breathalyzer that can be used for diagnosing diabetes by monitoring the acetone concentration in the exhaled air from patients. Aman is also working to develop a fiber nanoprobe that can enhance the collection of thermal emissions.  The nanoprobe has a plasmonic coating, which is a material that can manipulate light when the oscillations of its electrons synchronize with the oscillations of light. This probe can be used in microscopy techniques to produce thermal images from a sample with nanoscale resolution.  This type of discovery can allow researchers to study heat emission in small scale systems, such as small computer chips or biochemical reactions in cells. Learn more about Aman’s research during URSA Scholars Week, April 3-5, 2023. 

Thank you Dr. Zhang and congratulations Aman!