Author: Jack Darrell

Bella Hunt, a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has received a $100,00 award from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to support her research into chalcogenides, a class of materials used for memory storage.

Hunt’s project amorphizes, or crystallizes, chalcogenides to create meta-optics: a new kind of lens technology with sensing and imaging capability. She is working to create an amorphous optic that can then crystallize different areas, changing the meta optic’s functionality. The project has a number of potential applications, including use in space to change the focal length of a lens using a laser, thereby lessening the need for multiple lenses to view points at different distances.

“Think like CDs. You laserwrite CDs by amorphizing or crystallizing that material.  We are using that same method to create a meta-optic. This is done by selectively transitioning regions either to an amorphous state or to a crystalline state by tuning different parameters, such as which region are crystallized,” said Gabriella “Bella” Hunt, who works part-time at APL and received her bachelor’s in physics and business management from Wake Forest before coming to Johns Hopkins.

Hunt can reapply for annually for continued funding for this award, which is given to about 3% of applicants.