From Dual Degrees to Cutting-Edge Research: Bharat Rajeeva, Research Engineer at Intel
Bharath Bangalore Rajeeva (Goa, ‘13), currently working at Intel as a Research Engineer, has published 20+ peer reviewed journal articles, 2 book chapters and holds 5 patents. He graduated with M.Sc. Chemistry and B.E. Electrical from BITS. He was also the table tennis captain during his time. Prior to joining Intel, Bharath completed his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from University of Texas at Austin.
What is it like to work for a successful company like Intel?
If you look at the semiconductor industry, it is involved in everything from small electronic toys to data centers. Intel is an integrated device manufacturer (IDM), where it designs its own chips and manufactures it inhouse. My PhD was in material science and my current job is focused on researching best manufacturing technology options to keep Moore’s law alive. The exposure and access to facilities I get at Intel along with its experienced professionals, helps build my knowledge and it has been amazing. The other aspect is that Intel is going through a transformation phase right now to reclaim process manufacturing lead. This has energized the whole company and I've been enjoying my time here.
What do you think the next big thing is going to be in your industry?
A.I., and recently generative AI has been getting a huge focus, and it relies heavily on semiconductor advancements. Intel is also betting big on it. My scope is more on the process and manufacturing front. The focus is on how fast you get new advancements, whether it's Moore's law or innovations to pack in more transistors for greater power efficiency and performance. One specific advancement is the chiplet based approach wherein multiple chips are integrated and packaged on a substrate. Leveraging softwares within the company to simulate process steps instead of physical experimentation is also gaining more traction.
How did you manage to pull a high CG while being a dualite?
The thing I liked most about BITS was the freedom you get. Not a lot of institutes in India can provide that. Specifically for me, I did a dual degree in Chemistry and EEE, and I was trying to figure out options to combine both my branches. During my fourth year, topics related to semiconductor manufacturing piqued my interest. This eventually pushed me towards material science. I think the independence to choose what I want was a huge boost. While at BITS, receiving the KVPY scholarship helped me to pursue multiple research internships, lab-oriented projects (LOPs) and two theses. These experiences exposed me to rigorous research methodology which was very beneficial during my graduate school.
What motivated and inspired you to work on the numerous patents and journals you have written?
I'll address the publications first. My focus during graduate school at UT Austin was on directed assembly of nanoparticles and their applications. Researching and developing a foundational technology helped me to explore applications in various fields such as optical sensing, catalysis and displays. These resulted in multiple publications and book chapters. In addition, having a young and passionate advisor was also beneficial. A lot of patents of mine have come from internships, some from unlikely places like Facebook, which you would not expect to be involved in any materials research. My patents have been focused on innovative ways to create nanoscale features and their application in the fields of augmented reality and logic chip manufacturing.
If students wants to follow your footsteps, what advice do you have for them
BITS is a very nice institution, with its huge alumni network and prestige within academia and industry. I would encourage everyone to explore multiple courses, electives and pursue a few projects to gauge where the interest lies. It’s also beneficial to have a hobby and be involved in other extra-curricular activities. Academically, good projects will be useful for both graduate school applications and campus placements. In addition, practice school is a great option to gain industry experience and build your network. I would also like to stress upon the importance of perseverance during your academic life and professional life. Many advancements are realized over long durations and it is important to persevere through the saddle period.
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