• Matt_s Swirls

Wenhao Li

R&D Engineer, Intel Corporation

I was born in Jinan, China and moved to Beijing when I was little, living there for 16 years before coming to the US to pursue a Ph.D. degree. While in Beijing, I attended Tsinghua University and was enrolled in the Chemical Engineering program, with a focus on polymers. The undergraduate trainings laid a good foundation for my future study and strengthened my interest in polymer science. During college, I conducted research with Prof. Yaning He, working on ATRP synthesis of azo- and ferrocene-containing block copolymers and studying their self-assembly behaviors under light radiation. I also had an oversea summer research in 2013 with Prof. Andrew Livingston at Imperial College London, working on composite filtration membranes comprised of polysulfone and graphene oxide. I was fascinated by the versatility of polymers and the great potential of applying polymers with other organic, inorganic materials to new areas of applications.

In 2014, I was admitted to UMass PSE. I chose PSE over other institutions due to the very diverse research topics across polymer chemistry, physics and engineering. Each student was given about three months after enrollment for advisor selection. Though my undergraduate research labeled me more of a synthetic chemist, I eventually decided to explore the engineering side of the research after attending multiple group meetings and one-on-one discussions with professors and students. The broad scope of the Department’s research interests enabled my choice. I was fortunate to join Prof. Jim Watkins’s group, researching at the interface of materials science and nanotechnology. I applied soft lithography (top-down) and polymer templating (bottom-up) methods to fabricate well-defined nanostructures and explored their applications in advanced energy storage devices like batteries and supercapacitors. The interdisciplinary research bestowed me with fundamental understanding of the field, breadth of technical toolboxes and most importantly, the effective research methodologies and strategic thinking that benefit me so much in both my internship at Facebook Reality Labs and now my job at Intel.    

I also greatly enjoyed the cooperative and open environment of the Department. There are a lot of research collaborations locally and externally. The initiation of a collaborative project is smooth-sometimes it starts with a casual talk between students after the weekly seminar. During my five years at PSE, I collaborated with Prof. Laura Bradley at PSE and multiple scholars in Europe. Outside of research, PSE provides a great deal of Outreach opportunities in the local communities. I volunteered as a Scanning Electron Microscopy mentor to local high school students every year in grad school. Coming to PSE is one of the best decisions I have made so far.   

After defending my thesis in the Fall of 2019, I joined Intel’s Assembly and Test Technology Development (ATTD) in Phoenix as an R&D engineer. I applied my training at PSE to the development of epoxy underfill materials and processes for 3D assembly/packaging of next-generation microprocessors.