invited speakers

Title: Design, Simulation and Fabrication of a Silicon Photonic Mach-Zehnder Interferometer Circuit for Transverse Electric (TE) Polarization

Arslan Asim
- Ph.D. Candidate,
  Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
  Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
Contributors: Michael Cada (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada & IT4Innovations, VSB-Technical University of Ostrava, 17. Listopadu 15, 708 00 Ostrava-Poruba, Czech Republic), Yuan Ma (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada) and Alan Fine (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada).
Silicon photonics holds the same importance today as the integrated circuit electronics held in the 1970s. With the ability to route light through micro- and nanoscale structures on a semiconductor chip, silicon photonics is destined to revolutionize the semiconductor chip industry. At present, the engineering of silicon photonic devices is actively being carried out to comprehend the opportunities and challenges that come along the next semiconductor chip revolution. Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) find applications in communications, healthcare, and computing.

Arslan Aaim
Silicon photonics holds the same importance today as the integrated circuit electronics held in the 1970s. With the ability to route light through micro- and nanoscale structures on a semiconductor chip, silicon photonics is destined to revolutionize the semiconductor chip industry. At present, the engineering of silicon photonic devices is actively being carried out to comprehend the opportunities and challenges that come along the next semiconductor chip revolution. Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) find applications in communications, healthcare, and computing.
In this talk, we will discuss the complete process of designing and fabricating silicon Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) including the use of computational tools and fabrication processes. A brief introduction to fundamental silicon photonic components, especially in the context of passive devices, will be provided. The design of a new Mach-Zehnder interferometer circuit will be presented. The Mach-Zehnder interferometer consists of a laser source which supplies light to the circuit with the help of grating couplers. The incoming electromagnetic waves are then split into two waveguide paths. Each path is connected to a photodetector. The circuit operates in the near-infrared wavelength spectrum for Transverse Electric (TE) polarization.
The talk will include a discussion on the Process Design Kit (PDK) that has been implemented in KLayout. The role of computational software (like Ansys Lumerical) in design simulations will be brought to light as well. The process of modeling and simulating photonic waveguides will be explained. The modeling process involves the optical properties of materials under consideration (silicon and silicon dioxide in this case) and the geometrical dimensions of the micro/ nanostructures. The effects of changing geometrical parameters on the effective indices and field profiles will be highlighted to get a better view on fabrication tolerances.
The design process will be followed by a discussion on fabrication processes. For the fabrication results being presented, the waveguide thickness is set to 220 nm, which is a standard for Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) runs. The design has been fabricated through Electron Beam Lithography (EBL) and characterized by Applied NanoTools Inc. at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.
The talk will be concluded with a comparison between simulation and experimental results followed by an overview of challenges to be addressed in the realm of silicon photonics.
Speaker Biography:
Arslan Asim is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Dalhousie University, Canada. After completing his bachelor's degree in avionics engineering from the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), he pursued a master's degree in electrical engineering from the Information Technology University (ITU), Pakistan. He holds experience of working in the industry as well as academia for more than 5 years.
He is presently working on micro/ nanoscale biomedical sensors with potential applications in disease diagnosis. He has received the Scotia Scholars Doctoral Award, Dalhousie University Faculty of Graduate Studies scholarship, Bruce and Dorothy Rossetti Engineering Research scholarship and Exxon Mobil scholarship for his research. His work has been published in internationally recognized journals and presented at national/ international conferences

Title: The Fluorescent Frontier in Ionic and molecular Sensing

Lubna Rasheed
- Assoc. Professor.,
  Department of Chemistry
  Rawalpindi Women University
  Rawalpindi, Pakistan
The importance of fluorescent sensors lies in their remarkable detection capabilities, offering a versatile and sensitive means of identifying specific substances in various applications. The study investigates the dynamic realm of molecular recognition using fluorescence as a focal point. Tailored molecules, carefully constructed for their sensing prowess, play a pivotal role as we explore the intricate interplay between fluorescence and molecular recognition. The research navigates through inventive methodologies and applications employed to detect both ionic species and specific molecules.

Lubna Rasheed, Ph.D.
Speaker Biography:
Dr. Lubna Rasheed, an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry, Rawalpindi Women University, is a distinguished researcher in multiple areas in chemistry. She is currently serving in the Department with a focus on Drug Design and Synthesis, Fluorescent Sensors for Ionic and Molecular Recognition, as well as Nanomaterials for HER, OER, Electronic applications, and Environmental Purposes. She leads her own research group in exploring diverse aspects of chemistry.
Dr. Rasheed holds a Doctorate in Organic Chemistry, jointly from QAU, Islamabad, Pakistan, and Université de Rennes 1, France, with a specialization in Synthesis and Biological applications of Natural Product Chemistry. She has also completed a prestigious Postdoctoral fellowship at the CSC Lab, UNIST, South Korea, further enhancing her expertise in Synthesis of Synthetic Chemistry.
In recognition of her exceptional contributions, Dr. Rasheed serves as a member of the editorial boards for renowned journals including the Journal of Molecular Structure, Thin Solid Films (a specialty section of Frontiers in Materials), Peer J, and Chemical Synthesis. She is also serves a reviewer for various international journals, including Chemical Communication, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, ChemistrySelect, Journal of Bioorganic Chemistry, Journal of Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, Research on Chemical Intermediates, Chemistry A European Journal, Chemistry & Biodiversity, Dyes and Pigments, Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, Analytical Methods, CHPA, Journal of Taibah University of Science, and Journal of Chemistry.
Dr. Rasheed's research findings have been published in prestigious international journals, earning her recognition such as the Nature Index 2019 award for one of her publication in Chem.Comm. She has been invited as a speaker to present her research at numerous national, international conferences and workshops showcasing her expertise and discoveries to fellow scientists.
Beyond her research endeavors, Dr. Rasheed actively contributes to the academic community by organizing and hosting seminars/webinars and workshops on student counseling and various topics related to advances in chemistry research. She has supervised and mentored a Ph.D. students, along with guiding the research work of 20 MS and 35 M.Sc/BS students. She is also doing volunteer work for STEM research. She is working as mentor at Wempower Pakistan and leadership team member at IWISTER Pakistan. Both are women lead organizations working to support Young women researches in STEM.
Dr. Lubna Rasheed's dedication to advancing the field of chemistry, her prolific research contributions, and her commitment to mentoring future scientists make her an exceptional and influential figure in the scientific community. Her work continues to shape the landscape of chemistry research, while her guidance inspires and nurtures the talents of aspiring researchers.

Title: The Electrochemical Study of NixCe1-xO2-δ Electrode using Natural gas as a Fuel

Shumail Farhan
- Ph.D. Candidate,
  Department of Material Science and Chemistry
  China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
Contributors: Shumail Farhan (CUG Wuhan, China), Munazza Mohsin (LCWU, Pakistan), Naveed Ahmad (UOE, Pakistan), Asif Hassan Raza (CUG Wuhan, China), Zohra Nazir Kayani (LCWU, Pakistan), Hassan Mujtaba Jafri (MUST, Pakistan) and Rizwan Raza (Linköping University, Sweden).
This research study was employed for the synthesis of Nickel-doped ceria as the active composite anode material for fuel cell. Efficient and compatible electrode and electrolyte materials are required to enhance the efficiency and performance of the fuel cell. Natural gas is one of the most promising fuels for SOFC, while anode activity and stability issues arise because of sluggish oxidation reactions and severe deposition of carbon. Nanostructured ceria doped with Ni is most attractive due to enhanced redox properties, reforming of methane, reduced coking, oxidation of CO, mixed ionic and electronic conductivity (MIEC), and improved electrocatalytic activity by the reduction of Ce+4 to Ce+3. Because of these extraordinary mannerisms, we have to introduce it in fuel cells. Thermodynamic parameters of catalytic oxidation and carbon formation are employed to analyze the operational safety of fuel cell fueled with natural gas. Different characterization techniques (XRD, SEM, UV-Vis, Conductivity, Fuel Cell testing) has been used to study the different aspects and characteristics of the synthesized materials.

Shumail Farhan
We will begin by discussing the importance of this Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) which enable the direct electrochemical conversion of hydrocarbon-based fuels, such as natural gas, to electricity with high efficiency. Nevertheless, the direct utilization of natural gas in the presence of Ni-based anodes is still challenging as it causes severe deposition of carbon (coke). For this, CeO2 has been used that can lose oxygen without altering its structure. In this study, NixCe1-xO2-δ, where x = 0.2, 0.4, 0.6 or 0.8, was prepared by the sol-gel technique. The XRD results confirmed the cubic structure of the prepared samples. The SEM showed the porous and inhomogeneous nature of the particles with calculated sizes from 22.83 to 119 nm. The FTIR verified the presence of nitrates in all the prepared anodes. UV-vis spectroscopy demonstrated that the bandgap and optical constants decrease with increasing Ni content up to x = 0.6. Among the four samples, Ni0.6Ce0.4O2-δ possessed the highest electronic conductivity (5.97 at 650 C and low activation energy of 0.120 eV, which indicated good catalytic activity with enhanced electrochemical performance for the SOFC. The maximum power density (MPD) of 386 was obtained for NDC3 at 600 °C, which is comparable to other prepared electrodes. The electrochemical impedance spectrum (EIS) of NDC3 was also analysed in a H2 atmosphere at 600C.
Our talk will conclude by discussing the important features of Ni-doped Ceria evaluated as SOFC electrode. Thus, Ni-doped ceria can be considered as a potential anode material for SOFCs due to its efficient and excellent catalytic properties, ease in redox-based reactions, and improved resistance against the formation of coke.
Speaker Biography:
Shumail Farhan is a doctorate student in the Department of Material Science and Chemistry, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China. Her research focuses on Clean & Renewable Energy systems. She has successfully completed her Master (MS) degree from Lahore College for Women University, Lahore 54000, Pakistan. She also participated in many international conferences and won prizes.

Title: New directions to develop dissipationless electronics and computing

M. Shahbaz Anwar, Ph.D.
  Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy,University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
  Department of Engineering, University of East London, London, UK.
Contributors: Jason Robinson (University of Cambridge, UK), S. Yonezawa (Kyoto University, Japan) and Y. Maeno (Kyoto University, Japan)
Currently, carbon emission from information and communications technology has crossed the carbon footprints of the aviation industry. This is silently deteriorating the environment. Therefore, this has attracted a great attention of materials scientists and device physicists to develop dissipationless electronics and computing. Recently, superconducting diode effect has been observed in superconducting multilayers/devices that exhibit broken inversion and time reversal symmetries. This stimulates new concepts of dissipationless electronics and computing.

M. Shahbaz Anwar, Ph.D.
In this talk, we will discuss recent progress towards developing superconducting diodes and transistors. We will also present our recent finds of spontaneous superconducting diode effect observed in topological junctions that are based on unconventional superconductors. Our work provides a technique to investigate time-reversal symmetry in superconductors and pathways to develop energy-efficient electronics and computing.
[1] M. S. Anwar et al., Nature Communications Physics 6, 290 (2023).
[2] F. Ando et al., Nature 584, 373 (2020).
[3] M. S. Anwar et al., Nature Communications 7, 13220 (2016).
Speaker Biography:
Dr Muhammad Shahbaz Anwar is a Lecturer and senior researcher at University of Cambridge. His field of research is Quantum Materials and heterostructures. Recently, he discovered superconducting diode effect in devices based on unconventional superconductors; this project was funded by EPSRC and JSPS. During his JSPS-fellowship at Kyoto University, he engineered a unique oxide heterostructure to study the correlation between superconductivity and ferromagnetism. He did his PhD at Leiden University, where, he found a new protocol to generate fully spin-polarized dissipationless supercurrents in Josephson junctions. He is one of the pioneers of a new field of research “Superconducting Spintronics”. He has received awards, including: many research grants, and best reviewer and speaker.

Title: Some Outstanding Women Scientists and Their Contributions to Physics

M. Zafar Iqbal, Ph.D.
  Department of Physics
  Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan
Women scientists have, in general, been considered to have not been given the pride of place that their male equivalents have been elevated to in the realm of scientific discoveries and achievements. This talk will attempt to highlight some of the select class of women, who have carved out their own niche by their outstanding scientific contributions and achievements. Some of these distinguished female members of the elite club of scientific research have managed to push the frontiers of science, in general, and of physics, in particular. This talk aims to highlight this less-talked-about side of the story of development of scientific progress of humankind, by providing some of the glaring examples of such outstanding women scientists. The arenas of research of such outstanding women include mathematics, usually considered to be too challenging for women, by the erstwhile male dominated human endeavors.

M. Zafar Iqbal, Ph.D.
Speaker Biography:
Dr. M. Zafar Iqbal is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Prior to his current position, he has served as the Dean, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and for several years as Chairman of the Department of Physics at the same university. Having obtained an M.Sc. degree from the Government College, Lahore in 1968 and an M. Phil. Degree in Theoretical Physics from the then Islamabad University (now Quaid-i-Azam University), in 1969, he was appointed a Senior Lecturer/Assistant Professor at the same University. In 1970, he proceeded abroad to obtain a Ph.D. from the Victoria University of Manchester, UK in the field of Semiconductor Physic. As a faculty at the Quaid-i-Azam University, he served in various leadership roles, including the establishment of the first semiconductor laboratory at the Department. On his retirement from the Quaid-i-Azam University, he served as Professor and advisor to the Department of Physics, COMSATS Institute of Information technology (CIIT) (now COMSATS University, Islamabad) till 2018.
Prof M. Zafar Iqbal has organized and co-organized several conferences and professional meetings and has been keynote and invited speaker in international conferences and symposia in his field of specialization and related areas. These activities later expanded to cover many other academic institutions and cities of Pakistan. His additional current Interests include Astrophysics/Cosmology, Life Sciences, and other Breakthrough Areas. He is a Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) and the Institute of Physics (IOP), UK and recipient of the national civil awards, Pride of Performance (1998) and Sitara-e-Imtiaz (2004), for his contributions to scientific research in Pakistan.

Title: Reliability of Photovoltaic Metallization Technologies for Cost-effective Solar-electricity

Abasifreke Ebong, Ph.D.
  Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, USA
Reliability of a photovoltaic device is critical in guaranteeing the cell to produce more than 80% of power for more than 25 years or more in the field. The longer the device is able to produce power, the lower the cost could be, in terms of replacement, and recycling of the modules. Metallization is the key failure mode of any electronic device, and is the second most expensive layer of the photovoltaic device. To ensure reliability of this device, contact delamination and diffusion of impurities that can cause degradation of the junction through the contacts must be eliminated. There are two major metallization technologies, namely plating and fire through dielectric with screen-printed thick metal paste. This paper aims to compare and contrast the two technologies in the light of reliability that leads to cost reduction through longevity in the field.

Abasifreke Ebong, Ph.D.
Speaker Biography:
Abasifreke Ebong received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Australia in 1995. He then joined Samsung Electronics in South Korea served as a Postdoctoral Fellow. In September 1997, he joined the University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaic Research and Education (UCEP), Georgia Tech., Atlanta, as a Research Faculty. At UCEP, he worked on the development, design, modeling, fabrication, and characterization of low-cost, high-efficiency belt line multi-crystalline, Cz, and Fz silicon solar cells. In 2001 he joined GE Global Research as Electrical Engineer, working on Solid State Lighting (LED-light emitting diodes) based on III-V semiconductors. While at GE, he developed current spreading model for light emitting diodes, which enhanced the evaluations of several conceptual designs without actually fabricating them. In 2004, he returned to the UCEP at Georgia Tech as the Assistant Director of the center, responsible for sponsored research in crystalline and amorphous silicon solar cells. Dr Ebong joined the Faculty of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a Professor in February 2011. He has published over 160 papers in the field of Photovoltaics. URL: