Google helps medallist find SFU

June 09, 2005, vol. 33, no. 4
By Barry Shell



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Richard Yuqiang Tu's SFU experience began with a Google search.

He had been working as a process engineer in a Singapore factory making computer memory chips when his wife was offered a job at PMC Sierra in Burnaby, B.C.

He thought if he could find a university near PMC with programs in semiconductor fabrication technology, he could join her and begin work on a PhD. Fortunately, his search led him directly to Glenn Chapman, professor of engineering science at SFU. Four years and many scholarships later, Tu is this year's winner of the dean of graduate studies convocation medal in applied sciences.

Tu also won the 2004 BACUS scholarship from the International Society for Optical Engineering, awarded annually to the most promising student studying microchip printing technology for the semiconductor industry.

Chapman says, "Tu is one of the best and most innovative students I've ever supervised in my 14 years at SFU and 10 years at MIT." Tu's research involves a type of mask that is part of the photolithography process required to manufacture microchips. It's a much simpler method than existing mask making techniques.

Tu's discoveries have led to two U.S. patents and 12 papers. He is SFU's leading candidate for the 2005 NSERC Innovation Challenge award.

Despite all the discoveries and acclaim, Tu says, "I've learned something more. Something that can be hard for a straight A student like myself. In research, experiments are bound to fail, and it's only through perseverance, trying experiments with new and varied techniques over and over again that you get results."

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