Assigned Paper

A proposed paper topic is due prior to the paper itself. The topic should consist of a paragraph describing the device and the major materials issues associated with it, citing at least two to three references. The completed paper is due three weeks later, at the beginning of class.


To provide students an opportunity to synthesize concepts learned in the course in an in-depth examination of a device employing electrical, optical, or magnetic materials.

Emphasis will be placed on the development of individual writing and literature review skills.

Organization of the Paper

  1. Introduction: Interest and relevance, 1-2 paragraphs
  2. Principles of Operation: This should be as brief as possible, but it needs to inform the reader how the device works so that s/he can appreciate the materials choices that need to be made
  3. Materials Choices: Describe what materials are used in the device and why?
  4. Present Limitations and Opportunities for Materials Improvements: How are the properties of the existing materials limiting device performance? Where is the technology heading, and what new materials might be used in future generation devices?

Sections 3 and 4 should comprise the bulk of your report.

Sample Subjects

  • Light Emitting Diodes, e.g. Yellow, IR, UV
  • Semiconductor Lasers e.g. Blue, IR...
  • High Power Lasers, e.g. Ruby, Nd: YAG
  • Semiconducting Thermoelectric Devices
  • Phosphors e.g. 'Indiglo'
  • Ferroelectric RAMs or Magnetic RAMs
  • Pressure and Temperature Transducers
  • A Quantum Well Device
  • Conducting Polymer Devices, e.g. Organic Transistors
  • Fibers for Optical Transmission
  • Fiber Amplifiers for Telecommunications
  • Photonic Switches
  • Magnetic Recording Media, e.g. Perpendicular Media
  • Phase Change Media
  • Rewritable Magneto-optical Data Storage
  • Magnetic Bearings
  • Amorphous Metal Transformers
  • Rare-earth Permanent Magnet Motors
  • Superconducting High-Field Magnets
  • An Electronic Device made from High-Tc Superconductors

Typical Length

8-10 pages

Note: You must select a paper topic which is clearly distinct from your co-op or UROP research experience. Papers which represent a simple extension of these research efforts will not be accepted. Please discuss any possible conflicts with the instructor.