Nickolas DiRocco

Mentor: Dr. Henry Zmuda
College of Electrical Engineering
"I feel undergraduate research is an integral part of the college experience for any STEM Major. Aside from giving me experience in the field, research will teach me about the methods, procedures, and mindsets needed to excel in my chosen field. In the case of my current research, I felt it was important to get a feel for the optics industry (my preferred career area) as well as the hurdles it currently faces, and working for professor Zmuda will help me to achieve this."


Electrical Engineering



Research Interests

  • Laser Systems
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Mechanical Systems

Academic Awards

  • Northrop GGrumman Engineering Scholarship (2013)
  • Khouri Scholarship (2014)
  • Sias Scholarship (2014)
  • Snelling Engineering Scholarship (2015)


  • Venturing Crew 880 (Boy Scouts of America)
  • Intro to Chemistry Peer Mentoring (UF)
  • Northrop Grumman Laser Systems (Summer Internship)


  • Apopka Church of the Nazarene - Vacation Bible School Cleanup
  • Boy Scouts of America (Scout Leader)

Hobbies and Interests

  • Camping
  • Scuba Diving
  • Marksmanship
  • Modifying NERF Blasters

Research Description

Research into Optics-Based ADCs
The purpose of this research project will be to extend the state-of-the-art performance of Analog-to-Digital Converters by exploring the viability of component fabrication with silicon photonics. Silicon-based photonic devices and systems can be fabricated along with electronic integrated circuits and could, in theory, allow for ADC performance at significantly increased rates while maintaining high-resolution data conversion. The integration of both optical and electronic components on a single chip would further elimination of the speed bottleneck that often arises from metallization. The proposed research will explore the use of high-speed tunable optical filters in a wavelength-based ADC system. Such a system could allow for unparalleled DSP speed with high resolution (12+ bits) and could completely revolutionize the data processing industry.