How Light Works for Her

Dawn Tan

“Photonics is the study of light waves, how light can be manipulated and generated. Light is all around us. It’s a very magical feeling.”

Dawn Tan, 34, Singapore University of Technology and Design assistant professor

Dawn was awarded the “L’Oréal Singapore for Women in Science National Fellowship” in December 2017 for her ongoing scientific research to make transfer of data much cheaper and faster through light waves.

To get a sense of how meaningful her work is, Dawn said the amount of internet data generated worldwide in 2016 was one zettabyte. That’s 21 zeros.

“We intend to make the technology very palatable for the industry and easily integrated into existing infrastructure. For us to tailor it to a company’s specifications and bring it to the market, it will probably take another two to three years,” she said.

Separately, Dawn is also working on using optical fields to build sensors to detect small particles or amounts of gas in the air.

Dawn shared: “When I was in college, I was introduced to this field of photonics by my professors. I thought it was very intriguing.”

(Photo Credit: SUTD)

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