Narek Karapetyan is a PhD student at B-PHOT. His ardent desire for the pursuit of knowledge has guided him to apply for admission to the Bachelor program at the Department of Physics at Yerevan State University (YSU) in Armenia in 2013. During the international conference on Optics and its Applications 2013 held at YSU, he became interested in the field of photonics. The conference engendered the opportunity to explore various interesting presentations on laser physics, to engage in hands-on experiments demonstrating spectacular optical phenomena and to understand the role of laser physics in science, medicine and industry. Fascinated by the beauty and power of photonics, Narek started exploring this realm through online materials and by auditing related extracurricular courses, which in its turn drove him to join Ultrafast Optics and Photonics Laboratory (UOPL) at YSU.
In UOPL, he has been engaged in extensive research on the analyses of so-called “spectronic” pulses’ (a.k.a., spectrons) phase. As such, spectrons are optical pulses shaped in the far zone of dispersion, which is unique in a way that their temporal waveform mimics the spectrum. The findings of this study, which can be utilized for characterization and diagnosis of femtosecond optical pulses, then framed my Bachelor’s thesis entitled “Spectron Phase Characteristics: Numerical Study”.
Towards preparing for MS studies, he decided to polish his research skills and knowledge in laser physics. Narek joined the CANDLE Synchrotron Research Institute, which is among the leading scientific institutions in the Caucasus region, as a research assistant at Microfabrication Laboratory. He has been conducting research studies on ultrafast material processing, which analyze the interaction of light with the matter on femtosecond time scale. Thanks to the research results obtained at UOPL and CANDLE and the outstanding academic records (GPA 19.9 out of 20), he was awarded a research scholarship after Viktor Hambardzumyan, alongside the university scholarship covering the full tuition for my undergraduate studies.
In 2017, Narek graduated (with honors) from Bachelor’s program in Physics at YSU, and applied to the European Master of Science in Photonics program at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) & Universiteit Gent (UGent) at Belgium. The academic achievements and skills gained throughout his undergraduate studies helped him to receive the Master Mind scholarship award from the Flemish Ministry of Education (for outstanding students for Master programs in Flanders and Brussels) and be admitted to the VUB. At VUB, Narek worked on a master thesis project on 3D printed and fiber-coupled photonic components for bio-sensing applications under the supervision of Dr Tigran Baghdasaryan, Prof. Jürgen Van Erps and Prof. Thomas Geernaert. The goal was to develop and fabricate a new type of fiber coupled lab-on-a-chip sensing device that will demonstrate enhanced sensitivity to the changes of the refractive index of the surrounding medium owing to the dedicated design of the exposed waveguide grating. Due to the promising results achieved and hard work throughout the thesis project, he was awarded Best Thesis Award by VUB & UGent.
The research conducted at VUB during the Master studies has motivated him to further continue my academic career by applying to the PhD program in Engineering Sciences at VUB and becoming a researcher at the well-known B-PHOT team.