Ewa Simpanen has just returned from the United States, and we got the chance to exchange some words with her. Here she also gives her best tips for writing a praised paper.
Her paper, "1060 nm single and multimode VCSELs for up to 50 Gb/s modulation", was honoured with a prize sum of 500 USD. An excellent way to pay attention to student contributions at major conferences, as they otherwise easily end up in the dark, Ewa thinks.
"That I received the prize indicates that my research is contemporary, relevant and quality-oriented, which is fun feedback," she says.
What was your paper about?
"We present a VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) especially designed for data transmission in data centres where the fibre needs to be 1-2 kilometres long. It is a GaAs (gallium arsenide) VCSEL which is single-mode with a wavelength of 1060 nanometre. We show that our design can handle up to 50 Gb/s over a very short distance and 25 Gb/s data transmission over 1 km MMF. We also make a brief comparison of this VCSEL against a slightly larger, multi-mode VCSEL," explains Ewa.
She received the encouraging award in competition with 350 other contributions. The road to the price was long, and one can describe the process as getting through a needle eye.
"A month before the conference started, I received an email that I was chosen as one of five finalists who remained in the first prize competition. We would all prepare a presentation and be ready to present our work in front of a jury – four people who were the conference's "chairs". It was fun to present the contribution but the questions that followed were tough to respond to under pressure. It was also exciting to have an opportunity to talk more with the other finalists and learn more about their research, although the applications we wrote about in our papers were very different," explains Ewa.
Her best tips for those who want to write a successful paper are to start with having a relevant question to explore and to write with it as a starting point.
"Do not include anything that does not feel directly relevant and rather cut too much than too little. Also think about whether the introduction really describes the background and the opportunities you see with your core question, and if the measurements and results you have chosen are the best to show what you want to get," Ewa says.
To get started, she recommends beginning with choosing which images to include in the paper. From these, you can then formulate short points that describe what you want to say in each paragraph before writing full text.
"It's also important to spend time on small details, such as spelling, indentation, punctuation and other things that can disturb the eye – if the paper is looking nice, it will be experienced as better," concludes Ewa Simpanen.
Text: Michael Nystås