Dr Mariastefania De Vido, a recent graduate of the EPSRC CDT in Applied Photonics, has been awarded the Heriot-Watt University MacFarlane Prize 2020. The MacFarlane Prize commemorates the contribution to the University made by Professor A G J MacFarlane during his tenure as Principal and Vice-Chancellor. The Prize is presented annually to the PhD/Engineering Doctorate graduate who has made the most outstanding contribution to the research of the University.

The title of Dr De Vido’s thesis is ‘Beyond 1 kW average power: scaling pulse energy and repetition rate in diode-pumped solid state laser amplifiers’. Dr De Vido’s theoretical and experimental research has resulted in clear routes towards improving the repetition rate, output energy, and efficiency of high-energy solid-state lasers, making them suitable for day-to-day application in the industry and the healthcare sectors.

During her Engineering Doctorate Dr De Vido has authored and co-authored 12 high-impact journal papers and 20 international conference papers. Of these she was first author on 4 journal papers leading 15 different collaborators, and first/presenting author on 7 international conference presentations, in addition she has two patents filed. Dr De Vido was also awarded a prestigious Industrial Fellowship by the Royal Commission of 1851 in 2018. She scooped several prizes at national and international conferences during her doctorate.

Dr De Vido was supervised by Professor Daniel Esser of Heriot-Watt University and Dr Klaus Ertel of the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory who sponsored the work of Dr De Vido during her Engineering Doctorate.

Professor Daniel Esser, said: “It is a great pleasure to work with such an outstanding researcher as Mariastafania. Her work resulted in significant advancements in laser technology, as well as more broadly for the international optics community. Stefania demonstrated full ownership of the research by producing a truly excellent, concise thesis, mirroring her internationally recognised quality of research reporting. The future research challenges also clearly articulated, which will benefit the next generation of doctoral students at STFC, at Heriot-Watt University, and internationally.”

The Director of the CDT in Applied Photonics Professor Derryck Reid commented “I’m delighted that Mariastefania has been selected by the Macfarlane Prize committee.  This is the first year that an EngD graduate has received the prize, recognising the outstanding contribution of her thesis work at STFC to the research of the University. This award highlights that research excellence is not limited only to fundamental science but can also be found in the applied engineering of Heriot-Watt’s doctoral students.”

Dr. De Vido said “I am very honoured to receive this recognition from Heriot-Watt University. I would like to thank my supervisors for their valuable advice and encouragement and the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 for supporting my research and my studies. This Prize is a great motivation for me to continue to give my best to the field of high energy solid state lasers.”