Summer Spotlight - MacREU

This week we are talking with Mina about her experience so far at MacREU

Aaroh Mankad


Hello! I'm Carmina Jean delos Santos, but people just call me Mina. I'm an incoming second year Computer Engineering major. My technical interests include VLSI and embedded systems. This summer, I have been working as a microelectronics research fellow, under the Materials Connection Research Experience for Undergraduate Students (MacREU) program. The program funds my project, which revolves around chip optimization.

Interview Process

I have been working in Dr. Bartels’s research lab since Winter Quarter, and he recommended me to the program.

Culture & Work Life

The program itself is very initiative-based; there is no determined schedule. MacREU aims to emulate life as a graduate student, conducting your own experiment and obtaining results for your own project. At the end of the program, we are to present our findings at a research symposium.


My project is “Transition Metal Dichalcogenide (TMD) Integrated Waveguides for Optical On-Chip and Inter-Chip Communication.

To preface, TMDs are 2D semiconductors. They are widely studied as a replacement for Silicon, which is no longer semiconducting at a certain width. The integration of TMDs in microelectronics would allow us to go even smaller with our computing hardware.

Instead of transmitting data using copper wires, we want to use optical waveguides lined with a TMD. Think of it as fiber optics on the nanoscale.

Using TMD integrated waveguides instead of copper wires, we escape a lot of copper wire’s flaws, which involve data loss and the inability go smaller. Additionally, because light has different wavelengths/a larger bandwidth, this opens up to a future of quantum computing, should.


MacREU is hosted on the UCR campus, and my lab is in Pierce Hall. Even though it’s a little too familiar of a place to be, especially during summer, I like that I run into a lot of my friends taking summer courses or working in the area.

I primarily work in Pierce Hall and in the Cleanroom.