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Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight

Congratulations to our ASPE Student Members!
Congratulations to students Liam G. Connolly (University of Texas at Austin) and Kumar Arumugam (UNC – Charlotte) for being selected as members of 3 international teams selected to compete in finals of euspen’s 2020 talent programme. The aim of this year’s competition was to design a sustainable and affordable alignment solution for the next-generation particle accelerator at CERN. The three final teams will now be invited to CERN to participate in the finals event later this year.  Best of luck in the finals!



Kumar Arumugam is a doctoral researcher at the Center for Precision Metrology, UNC Charlotte. He is developing optical instruments used in precision metrology, which include frequency modulated interferometers and a monochromatic confocal probe for measuring surface texture. Recently, he has been studying the feasibility and limitations of stylus profilometry to measure freeform optics with uncertainties in the nanometers.

He has been involved in ASPE since 2017, where he has given talks and presented research posters. While participating in the ASPE student challenges, he led UNC Charlotte teams to their first two wins, first for building and controlling flexure stage mechanisms applied to confocal probing (2018) and again with the Kibble balance (2019). He has also been a Senator of ASPE student chapter in UNC Charlotte (2018).

As part of EUSPEN, he is a member of an international collective of three students competing in the finals of EUSPEN talent program that involves designing and prototyping an affordable six axis stage mechanism to align quadrupoles used in Compact Linear Collider, CERN with micrometric resolution.

Kumar was awarded the ASPE student scholarship at the 2018 Annual Conference.


Liam G. Connolly received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University in 2016 and his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 2019 with a focus on precision machine design. Liam is currently an NSF Graduate Research Fellow pursuing his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin’s Nanoscale Design and Manufacturing Lab and the NASCENT NSF Nanosystems Engineering Research Center. His research focuses on machine & mechatronic design and data analysis for tip-based nanometrology in high-throughput R2R fabrication and very large area measurements. Outside of research, Liam is an avid sailor, shade-tree-mechanic, and unsuccessful amateur racer in both disciplines.