Undergrad Yijia Cai wins prize for her work on optical frequency combs

UCL engineering student Yijia Cai was one of nine undergraduates to complete a Rank Prize summer placement in optoelectronics in 2022. Under the supervision of Dr Zhixin Liu at UCL Electronic and Electric Engineering, Yijia worked on optical frequency combs – laser sources with many applications in the fields of spectroscopy, metrology, and optical communications – and developed new procedures to optimise their performance and practicality.

The Rank Prize Optoelectronics Committee were highly impressed with Yijia’s work, awarding her the prize for best report following her placement. Yijia’s project led to a research paper which has been accepted by the prestigious international Optical Fibre Communication Conference (OFC), a great achievement for an undergraduate.

Yijia’s placement was made possible thanks to a Rank Prize Undergrad Vacation grant. These grants allow undergraduate students to get hands-on research experience during the summer before their final year of study and see what it’s like to work in research.

The 2023 Undergrad Vacation grant in optoelectronics is currently open! We welcome applications from supervisors in UK universities who know of a student who would benefit from this challenging but rewarding experience. Find out more and apply here.

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During the summer studentship, I learned how to use high-performance and quality experimental instruments, including high-precision OSA, noise analysers, wave shapers, fibre splicers and autocorrelators. I never imagined I could touch these high-tech instruments during my undergraduate study.

The summer strengthened my determination to continue researching optoelectronics, so I plan to apply as a PhD student to continue studying and working in this field.”

Ms Yijia Cai Undergraduate student in Engineering, UCL