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Kandadai named to Accomplished Under 40 list

Electrical and computer engineering Assistant Professor Nirmala Kandadai, who is also director of the Fiber-Optics, Lasers, and Integrated Photonics Research Lab, was named one of Idaho Business Review’s Accomplished Under 40 for 2022.

Each year the business magazine names 40 industry, government, and nonprofit sector professionals who they consider to be the decision-makers of tomorrow. Nominees for the award must be residents or working professionals in the state of Idaho, and under the age of 40.

“I remember back to my first day in my undergraduate engineering when a fellow student told me that I don’t belong in electrical and computer engineering as a woman,” said Kandadai. “I am extremely happy for this honor, as a big part of my journey has been trying to encourage underrepresented students. I rate my success not just by grants, patents, and awards, but also by the number of students who I can motivate and achieve their dream.”

Kandadai received her bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology. She then received her master’s and a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. She joined Boise State in 2019 as an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Before Boise State, Kandadai worked for National Energetics in Austin, Texas, as a laser scientist. She led a team in designing and building high-power, ultrafast laser systems, which included successfully building the front end of a 10 petawatt laser system for European Union’s Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines facility. 

Her research involves optical fiber sensors, laser-matter interaction, and optical imaging to create fiber sensors in harsh environments. Her work leading the Fiber-Optics, Lasers, and Integrated Photonics Research Lab focuses on developing coherent optical fiber bundles for visualization sensors and in-pile infrared thermography for crack detection.

Kandadai also collaborates on research with the Nanoscale Materials and Device Group in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering. Her work contributes to materials research by using ultrafast laser spectroscopy to study coherent excitonic networks generated by the precise arrangement of chromophores using DNA self-assembly.

Kandadai will be honored on Thursday, June 2, at the Boise Centre East during the in person Accomplished Under 40 and Icon Awards ceremony. Click here to view the full list of awardees.

-By Jamie Fink