New faculty member Bryce is an expert in optoelectronics


Heather Punke, ECE ILLINOIS

Ann Catrina Coleman
Ann Catrina Coleman

Ann Catrina Coleman is one of the newest professors to call ECE ILLINOIS home. She comes to Urbana-Champaign from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom.

Bryce’s area of expertise is in semiconductors and optoelectronics. She got into that field in an interesting way—her PhD is in physics, but her first job was in an electronics and electrical engineering department. Her first post-doc research was in growth of semiconductors. Then she started working on the interaction of light and semiconductors and she was hooked on the field ever since. “I just found it interesting,” she said.

Bryce, a researcher in the Micro and Nanotechnology Lab, has already submitted her first proposal for a research topic here at Illinois. “It’s on semiconductor lasers that produce very short pulses at very high frequencies,” she explained. She is also interested in integrating other devices with the high pulse lasers. “I’m thinking to begin with [producing] integrated circuits that will do more than just give off light, it will give out some radio frequency radiation as well,” she explained.

Coming to the ECE ILLINOIS was “the obvious thing to do” for Bryce because of the department’s reputation around the world. “It’s been one of those institutions that has an excellent reputation. No matter who you talk to, if you mention the University of Illinois it produces a very positive reaction,” she said. “It’s always been seen as one of the places that’s at the forefront of research […] and it’s also seen as a place that produces very good people.”

Even though this is her first time living in the United States, she says the adjustments haven’t been as difficult as some might think. “It’s a change in some ways, but in others there are very many similarities,” she said. “I think that around the world academics tend to work in similar ways.”

Academia is not the only similarity Bryce has found between the UK and the US. She pointed out that stores tend to be laid out in the same way. But there is one major difference. “I’m getting used to driving on the wrong side of the road,” she joked.

While she is still settling into her office, she has enjoyed meeting the people down the hall. “They’re really nice people, it’s a lovely group of people here that are very helpful and I enjoy working with them.”

Bryce is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and IEEE, and she received the IEEE LEOS Engineering Achievement Award in 2006.