Jake Hecla developed field-tested engineering skills by delving into theoretical problems.
Jake Hecla during his internship at MEPhI's Engineering Center

Ahead of the plan

Before Hecla’s arrival in Moscow in June 2014, his research supervisor at MEPhI had created an internship plan for the student for the whole summer. The tasks in the plan were gradual, ranging from relatively easy ones at the beginning toward more complex at the end of the summer. “I was very surprised when Jake finished modeling enabling circuit of silicon photoelectric multiplier two times faster than what we projected for in the initial plan,” says Timur Khabibulin, Hecla’s research supervisor at MEPhI.

During his internship at MEPhI, Hecla was tasked with modifying circuits of silicon photoelectric multipliers of semiconducting detectors, also known as solid state detectors of photons, which are widely used in particle physics, medicine, biology and other high-tech fields. “With the help of Jake, we were able to increase the precision of tumor detection. Also, we decreased the size of the medical device used for such detection. This is an important achievement not only for doctors, but also for patients,” says Khabibulin.

New skills

The internship also helped Hecla to acquire new skills such as learning to use radio-detection modeling software for modeling processes happening in electric circuits. The new skill was put into practice to test a silicon photomultiplier and amplifier. “That was the first time I worked so much with silicon photomultipliers. I have significantly improved my skills during my internship at MEPhI,” says Hecla.

Apart from gaining technical skills, Hecla also took some Russian language classes at MEPhI and learned the most common phrases used to get by in the city. “Where is the metro? was one of the most common phrases I used,” says Hecla, who found the Moscow metro very easy to navigate.

As a result of a productive summer, the team at MEPhI together with Hecla are planning to publish an article in Russian, English and Chinese on the results of their work.

  • Russia
  • Internship
  • Physics