Huang recognized for having best Ph.D. thesis at MIT


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- An assistant professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has been recognized for her outstanding Ph.D. thesis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Shengxi Huang, who joined Penn State’s electrical engineering department in the fall, won the 2017 Jin-Au Kong Award for Best PhD Thesis in Electrical Engineering for “Light-Matter Interactions of Two-Dimensional Materials and the Coupled Nanostructures."

Huang returned to her alma mater on Wednesday, Nov. 8, to receive this recognition.

“I feel very honored to be awarded the Jin Au Kong Thesis Award,” said Huang. “Jin Au Kong was a great scientist and professor at MIT, one of the leaders in electromagnetics. His book "Electromagnetic Wave Theory" has benefitted my studies and research in many ways. The award also reminds me of my thesis advisor, Prof. Mildred Dresselhaus. She unfortunately passed away this February, a few months before I defended my thesis. She was a great scientist, a true role model for me in science and many other ways. She will be dearly missed, and I hope her spirit and legend will be carried on.”

Huang’s thesis is about the optical spectroscopy of new types of two-dimensional (2D) materials. She said that the material is only a few atoms thick—and therefore shows many interesting properties subject to a number of external factors, such as temperature, defect, strain, doping. She said her work mainly focused on developing optical probes, such as Raman, photoluminescence, micro-absorption spectroscopies, to characterize the properties and states of these two-dimensional materials.

“Optical probes, or optical spectroscopies, have the advantages of being non-destructive, fast and convenient,” she said. “Therefore, the methods I developed can be practically used to study 2D materials.”

Huang received her B.S. in micro and nano electronics from Tsinghua University in China and her M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Her research interests are in optical spectroscopic techniques and light-matter interactions of low-dimensional materials; optical coupling between two-dimensional materials and plasmonic nanostructures; novel electronic/photonic devices using integrated nanostructures; trace chemical/molecule detection based on photonic methods. She has had numerous journal publications and is the recipient of many awards including the Ginzton Fellow from Stanford University, the Kavli Fellowship for Nanoscience, Xerox Fellowship, the Director’s Fellow from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and a Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad.


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Rebekka Coakley



The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research in fields.

We offer B.S. degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and data science and graduate degrees (master's degrees and Ph.D.'s) in electrical engineering and computer science and engineering. EECS focuses on the convergence of technologies and disciplines to meet today’s industrial demands.

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