Engineering Student Recognized by National Society

Burford and El-Shenawee working with the terahertz imaging system.
Photo by Russell Cothren

Burford and El-Shenawee working with the terahertz imaging system.

Nathan Burford, a doctoral student in the microelectronics-photonics program, recently received a Doctoral Research Fellowship from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Antennas and Propagation Society. Burford was recognized for his research on terahertz radiation by the IEEE awards board, which seeks to honor members whose research proves beneficial to society.

Burford's research focuses on a type of radiation called terahertz, which falls between microwaves and infrared on the electromagnetic spectrum. Though research on terahertz imaging is relatively new, this field has many potential applications in areas including health care and security.

"When you go to the airport and get scanned, that technology is really close to terahertz and uses similar applications. It allows you to see through material. But with terahertz, you can see objects that are smaller than a millimeter and see inside certain objects," Burford explained.

Burford specifically works on using new fabrication methods to produce the hardware necessary to generate this type of radiation. He explained that in the lab of his mentor, electrical engineering professor Magda El-Shenawee, he has access to state of the art equipment for his research.

El-Shenawee's lab houses a comprehensive terahertz imaging system, which can scan tiny tissue samples for healthcare applications, or larger objects, like shoes, for security applications. Other pieces of equipment in the lab can heat samples to 250 degrees Celsius or cool them to -270 degrees Celsius, so that the behavior of materials can be observed at different temperatures.

"I am very proud of Nathan for earning this recognition from one of the most respected organizations in our field," said El-Shenawee. "He has been an excellent and accomplished graduate student, and he is close to completing his doctorate."



Camilla Shumaker, director of communications
College of Engineering
(479) 575-5697,


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