John Faruk Alptekin is a UNT graduate student working on his PhD in Analytical Chemistry while conducting research in the Interfacial Electrochemistry and Material Research Lab (IEMR) under the guidance of Dr. Oliver Chyan. John's unconventional introduction to the world of chemistry started in a musical repair shop where he worked using various chemical reactions to clean the brass and silver-plated instruments.
"This work helped me to develop a curiosity behind the chemistry of corrosion and corrosion's overall economic impact on society," he said. "Dr. Chyan's lab had an opening for an undergraduate researcher at the time of my interest, and after reading about his group's in-depth work in corrosion science (among many other fields they worked in), I decided it was the right fit for me to pursue my new interest in corrosion chemistry."
John was a recipient of the College of Science's Dean's Doctoral Summer Research Stipend this year, which helped him focus on his research through the summer months.
"Balancing the rigors of graduate study requires time management, dedicated academic pursuit, and financial stability," he said. "Typically, graduate students have to financially support themselves by taking on teaching responsibilities. The Dean's Doctoral summer funding provided the financial support I needed to focus on research without having to also find and secure TA funding."
The IEMR lab where John conducts his research investigates a multitude of fundamental and applied research projects relevant to semiconductor processing and advanced microelectronic fabrication.
"My work focuses on solving and preventing corrosion-related defects in integrated circuits while under use in adverse conditions like high temperature and humidity environments," said John. "The future implications of this research includes increased lifetime in wearable tech like smart watches, and safer and more reliable electronics systems necessary for next-generation automobile tech like full self-driving."
John says that the research in Dr. Chyan's lab is highly collaborative; everyone in the group is involved in every project, and because of this, they learn and grow together quickly. He also cites that one of the most rewarding parts of being a part of the research group is being able to closely interact with industrial collaborators and gaining first-hand experience coordinating with teams that are working at forefront of semiconductor engineering and manufacturing. He is also grateful to his professors, especially his research advisor, Dr. Chyan, for their guidance through the challenging journey of earning a PhD.
"Throughout my years here, [Dr. Chyan] has always been available to offer advice during uncertainty in research, and helped me to achieve and present my research at the highest level," said John. "Other professors who have, and continue to help me along this journey include Dr. Paul Marshall, Dr. Hao Yan, Dr. Guido Verbeck, and Dr. Jose Perez (physics) by providing their chemical insight, and in some cases, even the instrumentation in their labs! I'm very grateful for the academic support system the departments of chemistry and physics have offered me."
John, who also earned his bachelor's in Chemistry with a double minor in Biology and Music and UNT, said his decision to stay at UNT for his PhD was easy after experiencing the opportunities offered in the program first-hand.
In his free time, John is an avid musician who continues actively practicing and performing trumpet and piano. He intends to continue work in the industry of microelectronics and materials science after earning his PhD.
"A PhD will allow me to be a valuable contributor in this industry and provide me with the experience necessary to go beyond our current understanding of the fundamental science driving current technology," he said.
Help support graduate research at the UNT College of Science by making a donation to the Dean's Doctoral Summer Stipend Fund today: https://cos.unt.edu/help-support-graduate-research-unt