JILA Graduate Student Brendan McBennett named as 2023 recipient of Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship

Submitted by kennac on Sat, 12/31/2022 - 9:49 am

McBennett adjusting a wedge, which is an optic that reflects only a small fraction of the laser beam and transmits the rest. This allows imaging of a beam mode on a CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) camera, which would otherwise be damaged by the full laser power.

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JILA graduate student Brendan McBennett has been announced as the 2023 recipient of the $10,000 Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Siemens EDA. McBennett was cited for this award "for his potential contributions to the field related to advanced lithography." At JILA, McBennett works under the supervision of JILA Fellows and University of Colorado Boulder professors Dr. Margaret Murnane and Dr. Henry Kapteyn.

For his research, McBennett "uses short-wavelength lasers to resolve heat flow on length scales below the visible diffraction limit, which has led to numerous counterintuitive observations that have pushed the boundaries of existing theory and opened new routes to modeling heat dissipation in nanoelectronics. To address a critical bottleneck issue — acquiring the nanofabricated samples necessary to study industry-relevant material geometries — McBennett has worked with mentors at NIST and across CU to learn electron beam lithography, while simultaneously developing an ultraviolet transient grating experiment to extend nanoscale heat flow measurements to high bandgap energy materials," stated the 2023 SPIE awards article about McBennett. 

“It is an honor to receive the Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship, and I am excited to build closer ties with other advanced lithography researchers at the SPIE conference this February,” McBennett stated in the article. “Thermal management is critical to nano, energy, and quantum technologies, and, as our understanding of heat flow at nanometer scales improves, it will be possible to design faster and more energy-efficient devices. I look forward to the new collaborations that this award will make possible as we apply our ultraviolet sources to study heat flow at shorter length scales and in new materials.”

According to the article: "The Nick Cobb scholarship recognizes an exemplary graduate student working in the field of lithography for semiconductor manufacturing. The award honors the memory of Nick Cobb, who was an SPIE Senior Member and chief engineer at Mentor. His groundbreaking contributions enabled optical and process proximity correction for IC manufacturing. Originally funded for three years ending in 2021, the Nick Cobb scholarship will be awarded to one student annually for an additional period of three years, through 2024." 

Learn more about this award and McBennett's work at this link.

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