Laura Popa

Laura Popa, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
New York
  • CV (English)
  • Contact Card

Dr. Popa has a background in condensed-matter physics with experience in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). She has designed, simulated and evaluated acoustic resonators for timing and filter applications as well as a variety of sensors for industrial, automotive and healthcare products. Dr. Popa has an extensive knowledge of semiconductor fabrication processes, with a focus on III-V materials and heterogeneous integration. She also has experience with phase-gated product development, leading cross-functional teams through root-cause failure analyses of complex electromechanical systems and using statistical packages to understand manufacturing process variations. She is proficient in multiple engineering software suites such as Matlab, JMP, Comsol Multiphysics, SolidWorks, and Cadence.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Popa worked as a Staff MEMS Design Engineer at Analog Devices where she led the development of inertial sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes. As part of this role, she performed extensive Finite Element Analysis simulations of complex electromechanical structures. She also gained experience evaluating devices over a variety of field conditions, such as shock and vibration, temperature and humidity excursions as well as with understanding interactions between physical sensors, electronics and packaging.

Dr. Popa received her PhD in the Physics Department at MIT where she worked on piezoelectric Gallium Nitride (GaN) RF MEMS resonators for reconfigurable radio systems. As part of this research project, she designed novel resonant structures and developed fabrication processes to enable the monolithic integration of acoustic resonators with high-frequency and high-power GaN transistors. Dr. Popa represented the research group as lead graduate student in DARPA’s Diverse Accessible Heterogeneous Integration (DAHI) program. She gained knowledge in a variety of semiconductor processing areas such as photolithography, thin film deposition and etching, as well as in metrology tools such as SEM, AFM. She also has extensive experience in RF measurements and standard semiconductor characterization.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2015
  • B.A., Physics, Bryn Mawr College, 2009
  • 2014 IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium Best Paper Award (for the paper “L-Band Lamb mode resonators in Gallium Nitride MMIC technology”)

    University of California at Berkley Rising Stars in EECS, 2014

    Bryn Mawr College Gertrude Taylor Slaughter Fellowship, 2009

    Bryn Mawr College Elizabeth Shippen Scholarship in Science, 2008

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Six Sigma Yellow Belt - American Society for Quality, #1166

LANGUAGES

  • Romanian
  • Spanish

Publications

Wang S, Popa LC, Weinstein D. Piezoelectric nonlinearity in GaN Lamb mode resonators. 2015 Transducers - 2015 18th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems (TRANSDUCERS), Anchorage, AK, 2015, pp. 989-992, doi: 10.1109/TRANSDUCERS.2015.7181091.

Bahr BW, Popa LC, Weinstein D. 16.8 1GHz GaN-MMIC monolithically integrated MEMS-based oscillators. 2015 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference - (ISSCC) Digest of Technical Papers, San Francisco, CA, 2015, pp. 1-3, doi: 10.1109/ISSCC.2015.7063047.

Wang S, Popa LC, Weinstein D. Tapered Phononic Crystal saw resonator in GaN. 2015 28th IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), Estoril, 2015, pp. 1028-1031, doi: 10.1109/MEMSYS.2015.7051137.

Popa LC, Weinstein D. L-band Lamb mode resonators in Gallium Nitride MMIC technology. 2014 IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium (FCS), Taipei, 2014, pp. 1-4, doi: 10.1109/FCS.2014.6859997.

Popa LC, Weinstein D. 2DEG electrodes for piezoelectric transduction of AlGaN/GaN MEMS resonators. 2013 Joint European Frequency and Time Forum & International Frequency Control Symposium (EFTF/IFC), Prague, 2013, pp. 922-925, doi: 10.1109/EFTF-IFC.2013.6702242.

Wang W, Marathe R, Bahr B, Popa LC, Weinstein D. RF solid-state vibrating transistors. 2013 Joint European Frequency and Time Forum & International Frequency Control Symposium (EFTF/IFC), Prague, 2013, pp. 529-538, doi: 10.1109/EFTF-IFC.2013.6702312.

Popa LC, Weinstein D. Switchable piezoelectric transduction in AlGaN/GaN MEMS resonators. 2013 Transducers & Eurosensors XXVII: The 17th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems (TRANSDUCERS & EUROSENSORS XXVII), Barcelona, 2013, pp. 2461-2464, doi: 10.1109/Transducers.2013.6627304.

Wang W, Popa LC, Marathe R, Weinstein D. An unreleased mm-wave Resonant Body Transistor. 2011 IEEE 24th International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, Cancun, 2011, pp. 1341-1344, doi: 10.1109/MEMSYS.2011.5734682.

Popa LC, Rheingold AL, Beckmann PA. A proton spin-lattice relaxation rate study of methyl and t-butyl group reorientation in the solid state. Solid State Nucl Magn Reson. 2010;38(1):31-35. doi:10.1016/j.ssnmr.2010.06.003

Presentations

Popa LC. Towards Ultra-High Stability Inertial Sensing. Invited oral presentation, 2019 Joint European Frequency and Time Forum (EFTF) and International Frequency Control Symposium (IFCS), Orlando, Fl, 2019.

Popa LC, Weinstein D. 1 GHz GaN resonant body transistors with enhanced off-resonance rejection. Poster presentation, Solid-State Sensors, Actuators, and Microsystems Workshop (Hilton Head 2014), Hilton Head Island, SC, June 8-12, 2014.

Popa LC, Weinstein D. Switchable Gallium Nitride Piezoelectric Resonators. Invited oral presentation, MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories’ Annual Research Conference (MARC), Bretton Woods, Jan. 29-30, 2014.

Prior Experience

Staff MEMS Design Engineer, Analog Devices Inc., 2017-2020

Senior MEMS Design Engineer, Analog Devices Inc., 2015-2017

Intern, Analog Devices Inc., 2014

Physics Graduate Student Researcher, MIT, 2009-2015

Professional Affiliations

American Physical Society – APS (member)

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – IEEE (member)

Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society – UFFC-S (member, IFCS Women in Engineering Chair)

Additional Information

Advisory Appointments

International Frequency Control Symposium (IFCS), Sensors and Transducers Technical Group Chair, 2020

International Frequency Control Symposium (IFCS), Technical Program Committee Member, 2015-2020

Peer Reviewer

Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems (JMEMS)

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2015
  • B.A., Physics, Bryn Mawr College, 2009
  • 2014 IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium Best Paper Award (for the paper “L-Band Lamb mode resonators in Gallium Nitride MMIC technology”)

    University of California at Berkley Rising Stars in EECS, 2014

    Bryn Mawr College Gertrude Taylor Slaughter Fellowship, 2009

    Bryn Mawr College Elizabeth Shippen Scholarship in Science, 2008

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Six Sigma Yellow Belt - American Society for Quality, #1166

LANGUAGES

  • Romanian
  • Spanish