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Published: 13 January 2014

ATI PhD student Zahida Batool wins the Vice Chancellor’s award for postgraduate research

The accolade follows Zahida’s achievement as PhD student of the year in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.     

Zahida came to Surrey from the University of Bahawalpur in Pakistan where she was one of the highest achieving students in her class. Her Master’s degree introduced her to the field of semiconductors and, based on her performance, the University of Bahawalpur and The Kwan Chiu Kuen Memorial Trust offered her sponsorship to undertake a PhD in Physics, which she took up at the University of Surrey. Zahida’s PhD focuses on developing new classes of semiconductors incorporating dilute quantities of bismuth. These have the potential to produce low energy consuming lasers for applications in optical communications (e.g. the internet) and environmental sensing.

Professor Stephen Sweeney, head of the Photonics group at the ATI and Zahida’s PhD supervisor commented: "Zahida’s work has been pivotal in developing a clear understanding of the optical and electronic properties of these new materials and to predict optimum semiconductor alloys to make devices. To date, Zahida has published three key journal articles in Physical Review B, Journal of Applied Physics and Applied Physics Letters. In addition, Zahida has published, as first author, an invited book chapter on bismides, along with our collaborators in the USA, Canada and Germany. These outputs are a strong testament to Zahida’s ability and achievement. During the second year of her PhD, Zahida took maternity leave and is now raising her son in addition to her studies. This requires significant planning and organisation; skills which she has in abundance. Furthermore, she is a strong advocate of promoting women in science and is raising awareness of this back home in her native Pakistan based upon her achievements and experiences to date."

On receipt of her prize, Zahida said: "I am very grateful for the encouraging research environment that the ATI is providing. I would like to thank my supervisor for all his guidance, support and opportunities for work within the high-profile international collaborations in my field."

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI said "Congratulations to Zahida on winning the prestigious Vice Chancellor’s award for postgraduate research. Zahida joins a long list of ATI students who have been recognised at faculty level and above".

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