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Three MIT Graduate Students Win Unisphere Solutions-backed $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Team Prize for Innovation in Telecommunications & Networking

Cambridge, MA, February 9, 2000 — MIT graduate electrical engineering students Michael Lim, Jalal Khan and Thomas Murphy are blazing a new trail in the growing field of high capacity optical telecommunications transmission. Their fabrication and design research methodology focusing upon Bragg-grating-based high-performance integrated optical devices has already won them critical acclaim.

According to Henry I. Smith, Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT, the development by this team of methods to design and fabricate such devices as "their optical add/drop filter is truly an amazing accomplishment … (it) will have a profound effect on the future development of optical communication. This in turn, will have a profound effect on our access to information via future versions of the Internet."

The Lim-Khan-Murphy team was selected by the Lemelson-MIT Program as winner of a student competition for the Unisphere Solutions/Lemelson-MIT $30,000 Student Team Prize, recognizing innovation in telecommunications and networking. Unisphere Solutions, a leader in Service Ready Networking for Internet service providers and telecommunications carriers, joined with the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to sponsor this first-ever student team competition.

"We are delighted that an award celebrating team-based innovation in our chosen field has come into existence. It gave us a first-time opportunity to submit in contest format our doctoral research on the fabrication of integrated optical communication devices," said team leader Michael Lim. "All three of us are committed to careers in the high-capacity telecommunications transmission industry. We hope our efforts and example can validate Unisphere's and Lemelson-MIT's great goal of generating interest among American youth in invention, innovation and entrepreneurship."

Winning Lemelson-MIT Student Team Prize members Lim and Murphy already have succeeded in obtaining a U.S. patent for their reconfigurable wavelength-selective optical add/drop switch, another complex integrated optical device. The team will use its prize money as a seed fund for attracting more venture capital to further their research into the alignment and fabrication of both passive and active optical devices on a compact and highly functional scale. Much of this research employs skills involving nanofabrication (x-ray, e-beam and optical lithography) that will expand greatly the impact of optical communications. The team believes that the ability to economically manufacture Bragg grating-based integrated optical devices on a large scale will yield dramatic increases in both network bandwidth and functionality.

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Michael H. Lim plans to graduate in 2000 with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from MIT. He has an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California (1995) and received a Bachelor's in Science from MIT (1993). Lim also is conducting graduate research at MIT on improving x-ray lithography masks; he holds a joint patent for a new x-ray mask configuration. Lim was born in Seoul, South Korea.

Mohammad Jalal Khan is a candidate for a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 2000. He obtained his Master's and Bachelor's degrees in the same field from MIT in 1996 and 1994, respectively. An expert in the cutting-edge methodology of wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) as applied to high-capacity optical telecommunications, Khan conducted experiments last summer at Hawthorne, N.Y.-based Tellabs, Inc. to gauge the performance of WDM optical links. He has spent more than three years conducting research in the field of integrated optics at the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics. Khan is from Karachi, Pakistan.

Thomas E. Murphy expects to receive his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2000. He also has a Master's from MIT (1997) in Electrical Engineering and received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor's in Physics from Rice University (1994). In addition to the patent he holds jointly with Michael Lim for their reconfigurable wavelength-selective optical add/drop switch, Murphy has been the recipient of many awards. These include a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship in 1994-97, the T.W. Bonner Book Prize in Physics (1993, 1994) and numerous engineering scholarships. Murphy is a native of Arlington, VA.

About the Lemelson-MIT Program

Based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., the Lemelson-MIT Program was established in 1994 by independent inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife, Dorothy. The program celebrates inspirational role models in the fields of science, engineering, medicine and entrepreneurship, in the hope of encouraging future generations to follow their example.

About Unisphere Solutions, Inc.

Unisphere Solutions, Inc., based in Burlington, Mass., designs, markets and supports converged network ready solutions used to construct telecommunications services for the next millennium. Founded in March 1999, Unisphere Solutions is a product of the combined assets of the internationally recognized Siemens and the acquisition of three Massachusetts companies Argon Networks, Castle Networks and Redstone Communications. The company brings together the know-how of more than 500 people, including global assets from Siemens Information and Communication Networks Group, to deliver end-to-end networking solutions for converged networks. More information on Unisphere Solutions can be found on the Internet at http://www.unisphere.cc.

Unisphere Solutions is a trademark of Unisphere Solutions Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.


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