Nanoscience master’s program graduates its first student

May 5, 2022

Adewumi Bakare begins a career in optical engineering.

Adewumi Bakare Nanoscience Graduate
Adewumi Bakare will be the first student to graduate from the Nanoscience program. (Photo credit: Alex Irklievski)

This June marks the graduation of the first student to emerge from the new Graduate Center master’s program in Nanoscience, launched in 2020. Adewumi Bakare says he’s ready to start work in the growing field of optical engineering.

Bakare says the real-world work experience he gained from his research at the Advanced Science Research Center of the Graduate Center (CUNY ASRC) helped to propel him into the semiconductor industry. “You could really see what we were discussing in class about how to fabricate nanomaterials,” he said. “The hands-on experience really helped.”

Bakare graduated with a degree in engineering physics from Nigeria’s Obafemi Awolowo University in 2017. By the time he arrived at the Graduate Center, he knew which direction he wanted to take.

“There are always advancements in technology… new phones, new devices that are smarter, smaller, efficient. They're using smaller materials. And, as a materials scientist, you want to understand the kind of materials they're using. That's why I decided to study nanoscience.”

One of his classes — taught by Milan Begliarbekov, a research assistant professor at the CUNY ASRC — was held inside the center’s nanofabrication facility, also known as a clean room. The facility is equipped with an air filtration system that keeps the environment dust-free. While there, he met physicist and entrepreneur James Scholz. Together, they ran experiments on a nanoscale level.

“We were depositing silicon dioxide on silicon wafers,” Bakare said, used to build semiconductors and other electronics. In a process called plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, they laid thin films of silicon dioxide onto wafer substrates. Later, they used an ellipsometer to measure thickness and other properties of the film.

“The goal was to make a camera that has high resolution at a low cost,” Bakare said. “In order to achieve that, we needed to study the materials at the nanoscale.”

The 27-year-old says the experience inspired him to apply for jobs as an optical engineer, and an offer soon followed. “The fact that I had access to the lab, the clean room, and I was able to work with the equipment, it really gave me an edge in the industry,” Bakare said.

His mentor, Professor Angelo Bongiorno, a faculty member at the College of Staten Island and an affiliate faculty member of the CUNY ASRC Nanoscience Initiative, says he isn’t surprised. “Personality-wise, he's very open, approachable and definitely smart,” Bongiorno said. “Most important, he knows what he wants.”

This week, Bakare accepted an offer to work as an optical engineer for ASML, the world’s leading supplier of the lithography machines that make microchips. He begins the job in late May.

Bakare described himself as “beyond happy” about his new job. “It’s a great opportunity to work for ASML,” he said. “I really can’t wait to get started, to learn, and come up with ideas to make the technology world even better.”

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