Emma Pawliczak’s research could play an important role in manufacturing the next generation of electronics. It has already garnered the attention of the microelectronics and electronics packaging industries.
Pawliczak, a mechanical engineering doctoral student at Binghamton University, has won several prizes, most recently in October, when she received the Best Student Poster Award during the 56th International Symposium on Microelectronics, held by the International Microelectronics Assembly & Packaging Society in San Diego.
Pawliczak’s research involves electrospray technology — employing electricity to disperse a liquid or fine aerosol — to create a thin (as in nanoparticle thin) film for electromagnetic interference (EMI) protection in electronics manufacturing. The silver film provides a low-cost, space-conscious way to protect against EMI.
“There is a push in the industry to miniaturize devices, from cell phones to hearing aids, so it’s important to maximize the available internal space,” Pawliczak says. “The idea is that electrospray will open the doors for many different applications of this technology.”
Pawliczak conducts her work in the Microfluidics and Multiphase Flow Laboratory of Paul R. Chiarot, professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. This research was a new direction for Chiarot’s group when the Semiconductor Research Corp., a research consortium that promotes collaborations among academic institutions, technology companies and government agencies, presented the research opportunity in 2020.
“Emma took on this project and ran with it, and at this point now has complete ownership of it,” Chiarot says. “She directs it herself, interacts with company liaisons at Texas Instruments, NXP Semiconductors and Intel, and she’s gone on to make great contributions in this space. She is a very careful and thoughtful scientist.”
The New Hampton, N.Y., resident knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue mechanical engineering. “I watched my father bring home drawings and documents throughout my life, coming up with creative solutions to complex problems,” she says. “Instead of looking at obstacles as work, he looked at them like puzzles. So I wanted to be like my dad. I thought I was going to go into construction, but now I work on a much different size scale, in the micro and nano range.”
It was an easy decision to attend Binghamton when she first toured the campus as a high school junior. “It was an immediate connection. I loved the energy of the campus,” she says. “As soon as I got my early action acceptance letter, I confirmed my enrollment the same day.”
Pawliczak received her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Binghamton in 2020 and then stayed to continue her graduate studies. Her career, so far, includes three peer-reviewed journal publications and seven conference paper publications. She has given more than 20 conference talks and poster presentations across the country.
She hopes to complete her doctorate in 2025.
“I will be interning at Intel this summer and I am extremely excited for the experience,” Pawliczak says. “I often go back and forth between entering industry or pursuing a career in academia, but I look forward to any and all paths my degree may lead me.”