Science & Technology
11:40 am
Fri March 15, 2013

RPI student 7th recipient of Lemelson-Rensselaer Prize

Ming Ma, PhD Student, Materials Science and Engineering.
Ming Ma, PhD Student, Materials Science and Engineering.
Credit RPI

We're all familiar with LED technology - Light-emitting diodes are used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, automotive lighting and traffic signals. LEDs have allowed new text, video displays, and sensors to be developed, while their high switching rates are also useful in advanced communications technology.

An RPI student has been named the winner of a national competition for technological innovation...

Ming Ma is a doctoral student in RPI's Department of Materials Science and Engineering of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been named the winner of the 2013 Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize which (along with prizes for students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is one of three $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prizes awarded annually.


Ma invented a new type of LED - graded-refractive-index, or GRIN. GRIN LEDs are brighter, more energy efficient, and have superior technical properties than those on the market today. Ma explains a bit about his patent-pending invention:

Ma is the seventh recipient of the Lemelson-Rensselaer Student Prize. First given in 2007, it is awarded annually to a senior or graduate student at RPI who has created or improved a product or process, applied a technology in a new way, redesigned a system, or demonstrated remarkable inventiveness in other ways.

Ma grew up in Jiangxi Province in southeast China and became interested in advanced materials as an undergraduate student at Fudan University in Shanghai, which inspired him to study LEDs as a graduate student at RPI. Ma plans to stay in the United States after completing his education at RPI.

The Lemelson-MIT Program was founded in 1994 by Jerome H. Lemelson (one of America’s most prolific inventors) and his wife Dorothy. Funded by the private philanthropy The Lemelson Foundation, the program is administered by MIT's School of Engineering, and supports projects in the USA and developing countries that nurture innovators to advance economic, social and environmentally sustainable development.