-By David Murphy
Muhammad Akram Karimi describes himself as an inquisitive-minded researcher who loves to solve industrial challenges through science and technology. Karimi is a third-year Ph.D. student working in the Integrated Microwaves Packaging Antennas & Circuits Technology (IMPACT) Lab under the supervision of Professor Atif Shamim. His current research focus is on the design of low-cost and printed microwave sensors for various industrial applications, with a prime focus on the oil industry.
Creating novel sensing systems
Karimi is currently involved in the development of a field prototype of a microwave sensor for Saudi Aramco based upon a novel design he developed and tested during his Ph.D. Along with his professor, he is planning to become a part of a startup company aiming to provide innovative microwave sensing solutions to different industries, with a prime focus on the oil industry.
"My M.S. and Ph.D. work has been sponsored by a research grant from Saudi Aramco. During the course of the last three years, we have successfully developed and tested the lab prototype of a microwave sensor for the industry and are now in the phase of its commercialization in collaboration with a Norwegian company. The vibrancy of this project gave me a chance to present it to the Board of Trustees of KAUST, where it was really appreciated by the CEO of Saudi Aramco and the Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia," Karimi said.
"Due to the nature of the Ph.D. project, I have made contacts in the industry from Saudi Arabia, Norway and the U.S., which will definitely help me in my professional career as well," he said.
Freedom and competition
Karimi, who completed his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore, Pakistan, said that one of UET's senior university faculty members told him about the research facilities and the competitiveness of the work being done at KAUST.
"I love the freedom the University gives me to follow my passion. Wireless systems is the area I had always dreamed to work in, and this is what I am making progress in. The competitive work environment at KAUST has helped me achieve significant academic milestones, like winning the best paper award in the premium microwave conference during the first year of my Ph.D." Karimi said.