Having a background in electronics and communications engineering, the field of Photonics was completely new to me. The first semester revolved around understanding the fundamentals through theoretical concepts in physics. It was challenging at first, but the way in which the professors portrayed the subject, it was hard not be in awe. The second semester involved more practical work and was much clearer than the first as it was all about implementing the concepts in labs that I learned from theory. My favourite course throughout the tenure of my masters was ‘Mathematics in photonics’ taught by professor Bienstman. It just made me realise that something can be complex and beautiful at the same time. Throughout my academic career before my masters, I’ve always felt that deadlines and schedules governed me more than interest and passion. This was probably the first time the converse had happened and I was so happy about it.
I was an exchange student at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm throughout my second year. I got to experience a new city and its new culture, meet new people and to work at advanced labs studying spectroscopic methods to characterise the growth of III-V semiconductors. So for budding scientists out there who also love to travel and experience new things, there is no other place to be than in Ghent or Brussels studying light and all its important aspects to change the world.
Having strong fundamentals in photonics enabled me to choose my focus area from a wide array of scientific fields including semiconductor fabrication and processing. Currently, I am a PhD student at IPVF (Institute of Photovoltaics in France) and an affiliated student of Ecole Polytechnique in France. I am working on building a low temperature, low-cost plasma reactor to grow GaAs towards the application of tandem solar cells. I owe my career to this masters programme which has such a strong base. I would certainly recommend this programme to all the future aspirants who want to achieve something great in the field of physics.