The II-VI Foundation holds mini-conferences at different times throughout the year for our Block-Gift recipients. These mini-conferences provide an environment for the purpose of sharing information, technology and expertise. Lively discussion can provide opportunities for students and professors to exchange new ideas and perspectives. In the best case they find common ground for new research topics. The mini-conferences group attendees around common topics of interest. They are held in various locations around the country that allows for local technical participation. In 2020our first ever virtual mini-conference was held with great success.

Since 2020 and the pandemic, three mini-conferences have been held virtually usually the Zoom mechanism. Virtual conferences allow for a wider audience base and possible participants and attendees from all over the world. The Ohio State University hosted two of these virtual conferences while the most recent mini-conference was hosted by The University of Arizona, Wyant College of Optical Studies, on October 19, 2021 and titled, "Engineering Advanced Device Structures for Photonic Applications." This conference included student led presentations describing the progress status in these research topics:

      • Generation of High-Power Mode-Lock 1550nm Laser in Vertical External Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VECSEL): Application for the Next Generation of High Data Rate Communication, The University of Arizona, Mahmoud Fallahi, PI

      • Polarization Control in VCSELs for Compact LiDAR and AR/VR Applications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, John Dallesasse, PI

      • High Volume Multiscale Functional Precision Optical Surface Replication, The Ohio State University, Allen Yi, PI

      • Understanding Kinetics of Carbon Transport across Length-Scales at Diamond-Transition Metal Interfaces, University of Pittsburgh, Bopaya Bidanda and Ravi Shankar, PIs

The below links are audio and video recordings from the University of Arizona mini-conference.

II-VI Mini Conference 10.19 - Video

II-VI Mini Conference 10.19 - Audio

Statements from II-VI Foundation Mini-Conference Attendees:

The opportunity for my students to present their work at the II-VI Mini Conferences has been a great benefit of our ongoing relationship with the II-VI Foundation. The thoughtful questions of the participants coupled with the feedback and encouragement from II-VI have been very helpful in the professional development of my students. The soft skills of learning how to make a good technical presentation and respond to questions are critical for all technologists, but they only come with practice and feedback. The II-VI Mini Conference is a great forum for improving these skills.

John Dallesasse, Ph.D.

Professor, IEEE Fellow, OSA Fellow

Acting Associate Dean for Facilities and Capital Planning, Grainger College of Engineering

Vice President of Technical Committees, IEEE Electron Devices Society

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The II-VI Foundation Block-Gift Mini-conferences have been a great opportunity for me to interact with industry leaders and cutting-edge researchers where we can discuss ideas relating to emerging technologies and current research topics, including my own. I have attended the Mini-conference for three years (both in person and virtually) and have seen my presentation and research competencies improve drastically. My group and I are very fortunate to receive support from the II-VI Foundation and we look forward to continuing our research endeavors for years to come.

Kevin Pikul

Graduate Research Assistant

Nick Holonyak, Jr. Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign