KNI SURF Spotlight: Joshua Yang

Subscribe to the KNI Email List

KNI SURF fellow Joshua Yang is a rising senior at University of Texas, Austin, who is studying super-conducting quantum circuits.

KNI SURF Fellow Joshua Yang

August 22, 2018

This summer the Kavli Nanoscience Institute took part in the mentorship of two outstanding undergraduate researchers through Caltech’s competitive SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) program. Over this 10-week period, the fellows complete a research project under the guidance of faculty members and scientists in their chosen fields. The program offers students hands-on experience in a laboratory setting and concludes with public presentations on what they’ve learned.


Joshua Yang is a rising senior at The University of Texas at Austin where he’s double-majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mathematics. Josh grew up in Sugar Land, TX, with parents who supported his interest in the sciences. In fact, his father has a PhD in physics and his mother has a master’s degree in chemistry.


One of the things he most appreciates about college life is the independence it affords him. Last summer Josh was awarded a Nakatani RIES fellowship where he travelled to Tokyo and worked on a molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) system for thin-film deposition and semiconductor devices. This summer Josh is at Caltech working on a research project on super-conducting quantum circuits (SQCs) to investigate ways of reducing noise interference in quantum computing and communication – an area that Fletcher Jones Foundation KNI co-director and professor Oskar Painter is actively working on.


Under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Hunt, Assistant Director of Staff Research at the KNI, and with the help of KNI Plasma Process Engineer Nathan Lee, Josh is utilizing the helium and neon focused ion beams on the Zeiss ORION Nanofab microscope to optimize a hard-mask lithography process to fabricate inductor-capacitor circuits. When created, the circuit will play a critical role in the interconversion between different wavelengths of light, allowing qubits to communicate with each other at long distances. With the help of Painter grad student Szilard Szoke, Josh is also applying imaging and milling techniques to tune the optical and mechanical resonances of an optomechanical circuit, another vital component in this interconversion process.


Outside of the lab, Josh finds time to enjoy various sports, like volleyball, basketball and even hip hop dance. After his SURF at Caltech comes to a close, Josh plans to take the GRE and begin his next step towards earning his PhD. He hopes to study applied physics in optics and photonics, where he can continue honing his technical skills in nanofabrication.


The KNI is delighted to have Joshua working in our facilities with our team members. We wish him the best of luck in his graduate school endeavors!