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Ethan Stark awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Ethan is investigating visible light emitters using GaN microstructures for quantum dot and nanowire-based LEDs and lasers.| Short Read
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Ethan Stark has been awarded a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to continue his studies at the University of Michigan. Ethan will receive his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering this term, and begin his first semester as an EE graduate student in the fall.

As part of the research group of Pallab Bhattacharya, Charles M. Vest Distinguished University Professor, Ethan is currently investigating visible light emitters using GaN microstructures for quantum dot and nanowire-based LEDs and lasers. He is already co-author on a paper describing the first blue quantum dot laser, “Continuous-wave operation and differential gain of InGaN/GaN quantum dot ridge waveguide lasers (λ = 420 nm) on c-plane GaN substrate,” published in Applied Physics Letters, July 2012, along with Animesh Banerjee, Thomas Frost, and Prof. Bhattacharya.

Ethan came to Michigan from Southern California. After visiting several schools he said, “Michigan was obviously the best. I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities to do amazing things.”

One of those opportunities was building the power electronics for the 2009 Solar Car, Infinium. He accompanied the team to Australia for the World Solar Challenge, where the car came in 3rd in the world. “If you work on the solar car, you can basically get a job anywhere,” said Ethan.

He chose to work at SpaceX the following 2 summers. SpaceX developed Dragon, the first cargo-carrying private spacecraft. Ethan worked on the battery system and flight hardware.

His path to Prof. Bhattacharya’s research group was through an alumnus of his fraternity. This alum, Dr. Carl Fischer (MSE, Ph.D. EE ’02 ’04), said Prof. Bhattacharya would be a great person to work with – and Ethan agrees.


The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in the U.S. and abroad.

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