- March 2014 - February 2014 Staff Gift Card Program Awardees Announced
- February 2014 - Stanford engineers create tool to reduce cost of cloud computing
- February 2014 - Professor Stephen Boyd Elected to NAE
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News and Awards
New Stanford Nanoscavengers Could Usher in Next Generation Water Purification
Among its many talents, silver is an antibiotic. Titanium dioxide is known to glom on to certain heavy metals and pollutants. Other materials do the same for salt. In recent years, environmental engineers have sought to disinfect, depollute, and desalinate contaminated water using nanoscale particles of these active materials. Engineers call them nanoscavengers. The hitch from a technical standpoint is that it is nearly impossible to reclaim the nanoscavengers once in the water.
In a paper published online May 14 in the journal Nature Communications, an interdisciplinary team of engineers at Stanford University announces it has developed a new type of nanoscavenger with a synthetic core that is ultraresponsive to magnetism, allowing the easy and efficient recovery of virtually every one of the nanoscale purifiers.
“In contaminated water, nanoscavengers float around, randomly bumping into and killing bacteria or attaching themselves to the molecular pollutants they are after,” said Shan Wang, the study’s senior author and a professor of material science and engineering and jointly of electrical engineering. “When the contaminants are either stuck to the nanoscavenger or dead, the magnet is turned on and the particles vanish.”
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Stanford physicists develop revolutionary low-power polariton laser
Lasers are an unseen backbone of modern society. They're integral to technologies ranging from high-speed Internet services to Blu-ray players.
The physics powering lasers, however, has remained relatively unchanged through 50 years of use. Now, an international research team led by Stanford's Yoshihisa Yamamoto, a professor of electrical engineering and of applied physics, has demonstrated a revolutionary electrically driven polariton laser that could significantly improve the efficiency of lasers.
The system makes use of the unique physical properties of bosons, subatomic particles that scientists have attempted to incorporate into lasers for decades.
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Stanford adds walkers, bikers to traffic incentive-based study
A year-old Stanford University program to reduce rush-hour traffic in the area by rewarding its off-peak drivers with cash prizes is working well, so the university is expanding the study to compensate faculty and staff who walk or bike to work.
That last component, called "Walk 'N Talk," is a wellness effort unrelated to traffic congestion, but expansion of the original project to bikers and pedestrians enabled the crediting of walking meetings.
"Capri" (Congestion and Parking Relief Incentives) verifies drivers arriving during off-peak hours by using scanners installed at campus entry points. To credit participants who bike or walk at least a mile to campus on weekdays, the research team of investigator Balaji Prabhakar developed a smart phone application that relies on GPS. The system verifies only the distance traveled and that the trip starts or ends on campus, based on the user hitting a start/stop button.
"I'm a big fan of what Capri has done so far in reducing traffic congestion," said Stanford Provost John Etchemendy.
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April staff gift card program awardees announced
Two staff members each received a $50 gift card in recognition of their extraordinary efforts as part of the department’s April Staff Gift Card Bonus Program.
Following are this month’s Gift Card recipients and some of the comments from their nominators:
Yurika Peterman, Ginzton Lab Administrative Associate
“She is extremely generous with helping me when I have questions.”
“I’ve seen her go above and beyond – goes well above her duties to make classes run smoothly.”
“She’s pleasant and happy!”
Joe Little, EE Principal Systems Architect
“He is always prompt to respond to any requests that we have.”
“He ensures that someone else on his team can step in to help out when he’s not available."
“He provided some good cost-effective advice when it comes to setting up the IT infrastructure in our office.”
The School of Engineering recently gave the EE department several gift cards to distribute to staff members who are recognized for going above and beyond. More people will be recognized next month, and nominations from the last few months will still be eligible for future months. EE faculty, staff and students are welcome to nominate a deserving staff person by visiting https://gradapps.stanford.edu/NotableStaff/nomination/create.