Dr. Shanti Bhattacharya

Academic Background
I obtained my Ph.D in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 1997. My Ph.D work was in the area of Optical Array Illuminators. I completed my M.Sc Physics at the same university in 1992 and my B.Sc Physics from WCC, Madras in 1990.

Work Experience
I was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt award in 1998 and spent more than two years at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. My research work there included development of an optical pick-up for CD/DVD systems and design of diffractive optical elements for beam shaping of high power laser beams. By the way, the AvH Foundation fellowship is one of the coolest fellowships around. One gets to learn German for a couple of months before starting work at the university. Association with the foundation continues for the rest of your life. They have continuation fellowships, book grants, equipment grants, etc. After spending almost three years in Germany, I moved to Cambridge USA where I worked at the MEMS division of Analog Devices. My work focused on the design of an optical MEMS switch. In 2002, I returned to India and worked part-time at the Centre for Intelligent Optical Networks. I joined the TeNeT group as an assistant professor in February 2005.

Research Interests

Diffractive Optical Elements (DOEs)
Beam shaping elements can be used for redistribution of power in arrays of high power laser diodes. These arrays have industrial applications but are highly inefficient due to their poor beam quality. DOEs can be used to improve the beam quality. In telecommunications, it is sometimes advantages to couple light into higher order modes. These modes may be more efficient or exist in speciality fibres. DOEs can be used to create specific phase profiles that allow coupling of light into such modes.

Interferometric metrology is a powerful tool and has many applications in research and industry. One technique uses the principle of path-length/phase shifting. The path length of the reference arm of the interferometer is adjusted till maximum fringe contrast is obtained. Interferometric height profilers of this kind can measure heights with a precision of up to 1nm. I am interested in developing interferometric systems for such measurements. For example, in MEMS sensors, where the deflection of a cantilever indicates the presence of a certain material.

Design of Optical MEMS for telecommunications and sensors
There is much research work going on in the area of MEMS. Adding optical functionality to MEMS involves much more than making surfaces reflective. This is an exciting area, since one has to work with engineers from the MEMS process, MEMS design, packaging and testing areas. Design of such systems, therefore, means a lot of inter-disciplinary work and makes this a challenging field.

EE501 Wave propagation and radiation

EE546 Optical Engineering

My publications

In my spare time...
I love reading, listening to music and playing with my daughter and my cat. When not relaxing like that then theres a good chance that I am involved in one of the following things:

My family and I escape to the Himalayas every summer.

Creating awareness with Chetana, an NGO started by my friends and I in 2003.

The IIT Madras Wildlife club Prakriti

Deutsche Stammtisch
I run a German club that meets once a month. The club is open to anyone who can speak at least passable German. Our main objective to talk about anything, everything and sometimes nothing- but always in German! We usually meet the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30pm at the Gurunath Students Cafe, IIT Madras. We have regular visitors from the German Consulate.

Once was an avid photographer but havent had the time since the arrival of my daughter! Plan to put up some of my favourite photos here.