Lakehead University PhD student finished third in an oral presentation on lasers

Photo of Varsha


Lakehead University PhD student Varsha recently earned third place for her oral presentation at the Canadian Association of Physicists at the University of New Brunswick.

Her research focuses on the development of a mid-infrared laser (2-micron). This type of laser can be used to detect trace gases such as carbon dioxide and in health care for precise cutting into biological tissues. 

Varsha, who is in the third year of her PhD in Chemistry and Materials Science, spent roughly six months on this experiment and prepared for the conference over a few weeks this summer, including five to six hours in front of her group members. 

Her presentation at the University of New Brunswick lasted 15 minutes with a three-minute question and answer session. Varsha said she was excited when she learned that she’d placed third. 

“It was an appreciation for all the time that I put into my work, and it motivated me to focus more on my research in the future,” she said. 

Varsha developed a pulsed laser at 1567 nm using a mixture of gold nanorods and polyvinyl alcohol in aqueous solution as a saturable absorber in aqueous form, which makes it different from other lasers. This laser will be used as a pump source to develop another laser at 2 microns. 

The laser at two microns will be used to detect any form of gas with an absorption band near two microns. 

Varsha said she is happy she chose to study at Lakehead University. 

“The time I am spending at Lakehead University is giving me opportunities to do fascinating research. I am grateful to be here, and I hope that my research will help the community.”