By Aditi Risbud Bartl
DAVIS, Calif.; May 10, 2018 – Diana Gamzina, Ph.D. is the recipient of the 2018 Zuhair A. Munir Award for best doctoral dissertation in the College of Engineering. Gamzina, who received her Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from UC Davis, is now a staff scientist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, CA.
Gamzina was recognized for her work on the design and analysis of high-power vacuum electron devices, in which energy is exchanged between electrons and an electromagnetic wave. Gamzina investigates vacuum electron devices that serve as high-power sources in particle accelerators, broadcast transmitters, industrial heating, radar systems and communication satellites.
In particular, Gamzina’s thesis work involved studying vacuum electron devices that operate at terahertz frequencies, which lie between microwaves and infrared light on the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that also includes everything from X-rays to visible light to gamma rays.
Because these devices are fabricated at the micro- or nanoscale, their mechanical behavior is greatly affected by the material’s local structure, which hampers the overall performance of a given device. Gamzina’s efforts will help engineers design and manufacture terahertz frequency devices and analyze their stress and fatigue properties while in operation.
“I am honored to be selected as the recipient of the 2018 Zuhair A. Munir award for Best Doctoral Dissertation,” Gamzina said. “The team at UC Davis not only introduced me to the field I am now very passionate about, but also provided the necessary guidance for me to succeed on my academic and professional development path. I hope to continue to have a strong connection with the College of Engineering.”
Co-advised by Bahram Ravani, distinguished professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Neville Luhmann, distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, Gamzina is now at the Technology Innovation Directorate at SLAC, where she explores new directions in radio frequency vacuum electronics and accelerator physics.
“In all of her research, Diana showed a high degree of creativity, independent thinking and the ability to address problems in a multidisciplinary fashion,” Ravani said. “She demonstrated a high level of engineering design skills that I’ve only seen in engineers in industry, not typical Ph.D. students.”
“Diana epitomizes the absolute best in a graduate student: intelligence, drive, independence and outstanding character,” Luhmann added.
Zuhair A. Munir led the College of Engineering as dean from 2000 to 2002 and served as associate dean for graduate studies for 20 years. Established in 1999, the annual Zuhair A. Munir award honors the student who has submitted the best doctoral dissertation based on outstanding research conducted in the college. This award also acknowledges the mentorship of the recipient’s major professor(s).
Gamzina will receive her award on May 23, 2018 as part of the UC Davis Graduate Studies Honors and Awards Ceremony.