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From India to Tallahassee in search of superconductivity

Story by
Trisha Radulovich
Graduate student in electrical engineering Srikar Telikapalli researches lightweight compact electrical systems at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and the FSU Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS)
Graduate student in electrical engineering Srikar Telikapalli researches lightweight compact electrical systems at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and the FSU Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS).  (Photo: M Wallheiser/FAMU-FSU Engineering)

Graduate research students find success through CAPS program

Srikar Telikapalli is working toward his doctorate in electrical engineering at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering while a graduate research assistant at the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS). He recently delivered an invited presentation for his research on electric aircraft to a multi-national audience during the Cryogenic Engineering Conference-International Cryogenic Materials Conference. He received the “ICMC Best Paper” award for his work.

“I was—and still am—nervous about presenting to an audience who has been in this field for much longer than I have been,” Telikapalli said. “I learned a lot from the experience and look forward to learning more.” 

Telikapalli earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering at the Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology in India before coming to the college for his master’s and doctorate. He is interested in the prospect of researching compact electrical systems that are lightweight.

“During my undergraduate studies in India, I was introduced to the field of superconductivity and high-power applications,” Telikapalli said. “My adviser encouraged me to pursue my doctorate at CAPS because of the expertise and the state-of-the-art faculties it offers. This played a key role in why I chose FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.”

A focus on research at all stages of the engineering journey

CAPS is a Florida State University research center that focuses on power systems technology. The center concentrates on research for power distribution, superconducting devices, high voltage engineering, systems control and the performance needs of large electrical transportation systems.

At CAPS, graduate and undergraduate students have the chance to work on a team and gain valuable research experience. As full-time researchers, postdoctoral researchers work with students on practical engineering projects that complement the knowledge they have learned in the classroom.

“In our team, each graduate student holistically takes at least one project and works with other students and researchers,” Chul Kim, a research faculty at CAPS, said. “They design and build an experimental set up, perform experiments, collect data and present their at multiple international conferences. This helps in preparing the students for independent research in new emerging technologies.”

Peter Cheetham is another research faculty at CAPS and went through the program himself. He worked as a research assistant while getting his doctorate at the college. Upon graduation, he became a postdoctoral scholar and now is a research faculty focusing on high voltage engineering and electrical insulation systems for cryogenic applications.

“The students at CAPS work on contemporary engineering projects which complement the knowledge they have learned in the classroom,” Cheetham said. “They learn hands-on skills and build prototype devices for their research. They work in teams in an environment that facilitates collaboration and fosters success and development of the student’s professional growth.” 

The students work on theoretical and practical aspects related to medium-voltage high-temperature superconducting devices and can focus on areas that interest them. 

“We have several graduate and undergraduate students. The students we mentored are now working in the industry, government or academia,” Cheetham said. “Over the last five years our group has supported more than six graduate students and 30 undergraduate students.”

High-visibility industry sponsors

CAPS partners with government labs, industry, and universities, and supports graduate and undergraduate students through our multidisciplinary research programs. These partnerships give students unique opportunities for developing professional networks and broad knowledge on the end use of their research. 

“Our partners have said to us several times that they really like to recruit students from CAPS because in addition to the theoretical knowledge they gain from the classroom at the College of Engineering, they get real ‘hands-on’ experience with high-power systems at the Center,” Roger McGinnis, the Director of CAPS said. “Our students are highly sought after.”

For more information about research opportunities at CAPS here are some related links:

https://www.caps.fsu.edu/
https://www.caps.fsu.edu/graduate-study-opportunities/
https://www.caps.fsu.edu/news/

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