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Tell us about yourself. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
A career at the forefront of the exciting field of nanotechnology is Hari’s dream, and he came to UC (University of Canterbury) to pursue that goal, a PhD in Nanotechnology.
‘My aim is to fly high and make my mark in the field of research,’ he says. ‘I want to be deeply involved in research activities in industry to make economically viable products for the society.’
Tell us what do you do
Hari’s PhD investigates new ways to deposit ‘low-k’ materials onto silicon surfaces, a method which improves the performance of microelectronic devices and will enable the further reduction of the size of microchips.
‘The idea is to increase the density of copper interconnects in a chip without any adverse effect on the power supply or current leakage. This technology can be used to replace the existing system in the microchip manufacturing industry,’ he explains.
‘There are so many areas where nanotechnology can be applied to improve our lives. The trick is not to make nanotechnology a myth and mystery to people, but to introduce it in everyday life so that we are all aware of its potential and advantages.’
Hari found the step up from undergraduate study to research suited him well.
‘I liked the freedom that I got – I had the leisure to take my own time to understand what I am doing and why I am doing it, which is essential when you are doing a research degree.’
What did you study?
Once Hari knew that he wanted a career in research, he planned his path accordingly. Originally from Chennai, India, he completed his master’s at Anna University in M.Tech (Nanoscience & Technology) before moving overseas to start his doctoral studies. He had completed his B.Tech from Bharath University (Electronics & Communication).
‘The next logical step was to pursue a PhD at another globally-recognised university which would give me an opportunity to interact with researchers and scientists from all over the world. The international exposure would enrich my knowledge and understanding of the subject, and at the same time I would get a chance to know different cultures.’
How was the experience at University of Canterbury?
In fact, the experience of being an international student at UC has been one of the highlights of Hari’s time here.
‘To be frank, I expected to feel lonely and homesick when I first arrived, but the people are so friendly that you get to make a lot of friends quickly, and you won’t be feeling lonely any time. There are a huge number of international students and it’s always nice to interact with people with different cultural backgrounds and learn about their culture.’
Hari was keen to support new students. He participated in UC’s mentoring programme and also worked as a teaching assistant in the undergraduate labs in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Any advice to students?
‘I would definitely encourage students across the globe to come to New Zealand, especially Christchurch, and to enjoy the Kiwi hospitality. There are so many things to do around here that I can guarantee that there will not be a single dull moment.
‘It’s not only about the studies. Christchurch is neither over-populated nor polluted. The atmosphere is serene and calm and one can concentrate on one’s studies here. But that does not mean that the place is boring – there are many exciting places to go for a break. There are also lots of student clubs, from biking to dancing to music to sports, which provide a great way to bond and meet new people, and to learn new things.’