By David Murphy
Dr. Tien Khee Ng, principal research scientist, electrical and computer engineering, has been recently recognized as a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (IOP).
According to the IET, the FIET represents “the highest grade of IET membership [and] is reserved for those respected professionals at the forefront of engineering, technology or cognate disciplines for at least five years or more.” While the IOP’s highest attainable membership is reserved for individuals “with a degree in physics or related subject and who have made a significant impact on their sector.”
Of his acknowledgment by the IET, Tien Khee Ng noted: “I am honored to be acknowledged by the IET for the significance of my engineering career and my research contributions. Serving as an associate editor for various international scientific journals and as Vice President of the IEEE Photonics Western Saudi Arabia Section Chapter further enriched my career and significantly contributed to my performance recognition.”
“And to become a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP) two months after becoming a FIET was particularly humbling. The journey of physics and engineering education and career at KAUST is rewarding, as one can progress alongside motivated and talented students and competent and approachable staff.”
Creating tangible translational output
At KAUST, Tien Khee Ng spearheads research programs on molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) grown group-III-nitride-based quantum structures for light-emitting applications. As the center manager and one of the co-principal investigators for KACST Technology Innovation Center (TIC) on Solid State Lighting at KAUST, Tien Khee Ng also oversees a laser application program related to the utilization and manipulation of light. These patent portfolios of processes and products include solid-state lighting, optical wireless communication, laser-based horticulture and solar water splitting.
“The significant findings and tangible translational output and know-how from our center has led to further funded projects from the Office of Naval Research Global, Lockheed Martin, SABIC, and Huawei.
The Solid State Lighting researchers specialize in the practical use of incompatible metal or transparent substrates to show proof-of-concept solutions beyond green-gap solid-state lighting devices. The team’s research could also offer internet and energy solutions for infrastructure monitoring and non-intrusive marine protection, especially relevant to protecting Saudi Arabia’s pristine Red Sea coastline.
“By engineering the form factor and the dimensionality of semiconductors and seamlessly integrating optical elements to laser devices, we could achieve modification of wavelength, spectral content, and heat dissipation properties.
“By packing more functionalities into a laser diode, our seminal research effort has enabled monolithic laser modulation, energy-efficient lighting, and remote energy transfer in hard-to-reach environments while enabling fast internet on land and undersea.
“The semiconductor device technology can be further developed to enable optoelectronic and electronic integrated circuits and devices. We can use these tools for multifunctional applications in augmented displays, data centers, ultra-fast computing, and low-latency communication networks worldwide,” Tien Khee Ng emphasized.
Personal awards mirror shared journey
Tien Khee Ng believes that, in a sense, his recent personal achievements have mirrored his eleven-year journey at KAUST: from supporting the University’s founding vision to its current status as a choice destination for scientific and technological education and research.
“From joining KAUST in 2009 as an assistant research scientist to receiving my promotion as a principal research scientist last year is a particular milestone. It is particularly rewarding for my family and me - bearing in mind how we uprooted ourselves from our comfort zone to join our fellow team of exploratory, determined “KAUSTians” 11 years ago.
“I would like to celebrate and thank the many individuals who have created the environment for my advancement or who have mentored me in any way; I am blessed to be surrounded by the many talented people with whom I work,” he concluded.