Leili Hayati is a woman propelled by a deep well of curiosity – as a high school student, that curiosity led her to the field of electrical engineering, which in turn led her from Tabriz, Iran to Boston and Northeastern. “When I was in high school, I loved studying physics. I took a course called ‘Modern Physics’,” she recalls, “I loved that natural phenomena could be defined and solved with math equations and physics concepts. That’s what led me to electrical engineering – I was always curious to see the physics within electronic devices, and the behavior of a single electron in quantum physics.”
With a Bachelor of Science in telecommunication engineering under her belt, Hayati’s unsated curiosity led her to a Master’s Degree in Nanoelectronics at Tabriz University. Still, this was not enough to satisfy her curiosity. “Up to that point, all of my research had been theoretical,” she says, “I had never gotten to work in an experimental lab setting.”
To get that opportunity, she began her doctoral research in Northeastern’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2014, in the Computational Electromagnetic and Physics Lab. “When I first joined the lab, I found that I could simulate the module substrate, and then fabricate the nanodevice. It was difficult at first, but it was really exciting for me to actually build the real thing, instead of just working in simulations!”
For the last three years Hayati has been a part of the Microwave Materials Lab, where her research has focused on designing and fabricating a ferrite composite substrate based on ceramic magnetic nanowires. To accomplish this, she is using a porous semiconductor membrane covered with nanopores as a foundation; by filling the pores with an insulating magnetic material, an array of ceramic ferrite nanowires is created that demonstrates intriguing properties.
“In today’s technology, the design of integrated circuits have advanced to the point that most circuits can easily be miniaturized,” she explains, “With the exception of magnetic bias circuits. The main barrier to miniaturization for these components has been that permanent magnets are bulky and take up most of the size and weight of a microwave magnetic device.”
More recently, ferromagnetic nanowires embedded into porous templates have been shown to be a practical solution to get rid of external magnetic bias. “This is just one of the interesting inherent magnetic properties of ferrite nanowires,” according to Hayati. “Based on the ferrite nanowires substrate, the first generation of self-biased ferrite planar devices operating at wireless communication frequencies can be designed and fabricated.”
As she works on completing her PhD later in 2020, Hayati is preparing for a career in industrial R&D; she’s currently involved in a research and development internship with the Bose Corporation through the end of the fall semester of 2019, working in an industrial lab.