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

Statement from Past Mini-Conference Attendees:

"The II-VI Mini-Conference was an invaluable opportunity to meet all II-VI Foundation team members who cover a wide range of the United States. Since it invites both faculties and participating students, it naturally creates and encourages a nicely multiplexed dynamic environment to share ideas, challenges, and educational visions through the program. In particular, my students and I very much enjoyed the sufficiently long, lively, open discussions between various research groups. The conference offered excellent presentations and Q&A sessions for us to hear others' opinions, comments, and advice. We learned a lot from the active feedback and comments from other groups. The overview talk given by Dr. Alan Hedges, Director of IR Engineering at II-VI Incorporated gave us good insights and inspirations leading us to very real applications and target technologies. Thank you and II-VI Foundation for preparing such a nice event and inviting us to the beautiful campus of UNCC. "

Professor Dae Wook Kim

College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona

"The mini-conference provided a perfect environment for graduate students to meet with other students with similar interests. Compared to other conferences such as SPIE conferences which can be intimidating, the mini-conference provided a much closer and warmer environment. Since the students attend the conference with the advisors, this provides an opportunity for advisors to work directly with the students. For example, I was able to talk to my students constantly during the conference, maximizing the learning experience. The logistics provided by the II-VI foundation are extremely helpful, allowing attendees to concentrate on the discussions and exchange with each other. The mini-conference also provided an opportunity to hear directly from the Foundation members and help us understand the direction and concerns of the Foundation. The location of the mini-conference was ideal, easy to travel to, plus a chance to visit UNC Charlotte and FLIR within a very tight schedule."

Professor Allen Yi

The Ohio State University