January 12, 2011
Written by Jaryn Jones
Laity's project is focused on the measurement of vacuum ultraviolet light and creating an environment to collect accurate data.
Texas Tech graduate student George Laity was recently awarded a $5,000 fellowship from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society (IEEE DEIS).
The fellowship is awarded to IEEE DEIS members pursuing graduate research in the area of insulating materials, breakdown, charge transport, electrostatic phenomena, high voltage effects or related subjects. Laity is one of only five doctoral students worldwide who received the award and a portion of the scholarship goes toward travel to an international IEEE conference.
"I am extremely fortunate to be a graduate student at the Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics and to be among many of the world's leading scientists in pulsed power and pulsed plasma physics," Laity said.
Laity's project aims to create an environment which allows for accurate measurement of vacuum ultraviolet light. Because this light is naturally produced by electrons during breakdown caused by applying a large power voltage, it is difficult to measure.
The IEEE DEIS is interested in this type of phenomena because the "breakdown" of electrons is often undesirable and lowers the efficiency of electrical equipment. Laity said he hopes his research will allow for a good understanding of the function of this process and eventually help develop new technologies in the aerospace community.
Laity has been successful throughout his educational career and previously received a fellowship from NASA and the Texas Space Grant Consortium. He was also the first Texas Tech student to receive a fellowship form the Directed Energy Professional Society and Air Force High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office.
Laity, whose grandfather was both a NASA engineer and Navy veteran, said his long-term career goal is to secure a research position in the aerospace community.
"This is especially important to me as a United States citizen because the shortage of qualified engineers and scientists able to access sensitive material is a great concern in the defense sector," he said.
The Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering has educated engineers to meet the technological needs of Texas, the nation and the world since 1925.
Approximately 4,300 undergraduate and 725 graduate students pursue bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees offered through eight academic departments: civil and environmental, chemical, computer science, electrical and computer, engineering technology, industrial, mechanical and petroleum.