- Ph. D Electrical Engineering – Santa Clara University, U.S. (2007)
- M.S. Electrical Engineering – Santa Clara University, U.S. (2003)
- B.S. Electrical Engineering – Oregon State University, U.S. (2001)
"I oversee electrical testing of various on-wafer circuit elements and test chips involving nanotechnology using standard semiconductor test equipment and techniques."
Advice to Students:
"Study hard in high school. GPA matters! Many engineering or science programs in college require a substantially higher high school GPA than that of other fields."
Q: When did you first find that your career path focused on nanotechnology?
Ngo: When searching for a project for my Ph. D research at Santa Clara University, a unique opportunity emerged at NASA Ames Research Center working on Carbon Nanotube electronics and the development of semiconductor-based technologies using carbon nanotubes.
Q: What current nanotechnology applications are you working on?
Ngo: Carbon nanotube-based electronics for semiconductor applications.
Q: What's the most rewarding thing about working with nanotechnology?
Ngo: The most rewarding thing about working with nanotechnology is my ability to conduct scientific and engineering experiments that have likely never been performed before. Being on the cutting edge of next-generation circuit technology is very rewarding because I feel that I am contributing to the future of the nanotechnology and engineering field.
Q: Is there an example you can provide that shows how something you’ve worked on has positively impacted the world?
Ngo: Most of the highest impact work that I have done was during my doctoral thesis research involving using carbon nanotube and nanofiber technology to improve heat conduction across interfaces (primarily used in packaging technology). Applications involve heat-sink technology for next-generation microprocessors, as well as chip cooling for space applications.
Q: What do you think is the single greatest impact nanotechnology has had on the world thus far?
Ngo: At the very least, nanotechnology has spurred a new interest in basic sciences and engineering. In terms of tangible products, nanotechnology has been vital in creating new energy storage devices that allow energy to be used more efficiently in a time of great need. This technology will only be improved with the passage of time.
Q: Please give an example of what you envision nanotechnology applications leading to in the future.
Ngo: Nanotechnology applications are wide-varying, but to name a few, I think that the nanomaterials will be most prominent in electronics and opto-electronics applications, replacing current, less efficient methods. Specifically, it is likely that most electronic components can be replaced by nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes or nanowires of various materials.
Q: Do you find yourself working more in a team situation, or more alone?
Ngo: I believe it almost absolutely necessary to work in a team situation when conducting research projects involving nanotechnology. The vast field of knowledge is far to wide for one person to cover. It requires expertise in many disciplines, which requires a multitude of experienced personnel.
Q: If you work more as a team, what are some of the other areas of expertise of your team members?
Ngo: Areas of expertise within my team include backgrounds in mechanical engineering, physics, semiconductor materials, and circuit design to name just a few.
Q: Did your university training help you in your nanotechnology work?
Ngo: Yes, most definitely. My doctoral thesis work has prepared me for conducting research tasks and provided me with the general knowledge necessary to perform my current job function.
Q: Do you have a mentor? Did you in your college years?
Ngo: Currently I do not have a mentor, but I think it is important to seek out information from those that have the experience that I lack. In that respect, all of my more experienced co-workers around me are my mentors. During college, obviously my faculty advisor was my main mentor, but again, there are many situations that warrant the guidance of various people.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you still focus on nanotechnology applications?
Ngo: Yes, it has been an absolutely rewarding experience, and it has made the beginning of my professional career mentally stimulating and interesting.
Q: If a high school or college student was interested in nanotechnology, what advice would you give them to help prepare take on those roles?
Ngo: Do your homework (no, not that kind) on what it takes to develop a curriculum tailored towards science and engineering. These days, many high school and college courses and programs are directed towards nanotechnology fields, which is great! There is no one major that directly involves nanotechnology, so it is also good to develop a strong breadth of information with multi-disciplinary courses.
Q: What other advice do you have for pre-university students?
Ngo: Study hard in high school. GPA matters! Many engineering or science programs in college require a substantially higher high school GPA than that of other fields (generally 3.00 or higher).