2013

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September 2013

A team of Stanford engineers has built a basic computer using carbon nanotubes, a semiconductor material that has the potential to launch a new generation of electronic devices that run faster, while using less energy, than those made from silicon chips.

This unprecedented feat culminates years of efforts by scientists around the world to harness this promising material.

The achievement is reported today in an article on the cover of Nature Magazine written by Max Shulaker and other doctoral students in electrical engineering. The research was led by Stanford professors Subhasish Mitra and H.S. Philip Wong.

"People have been talking about a new era of carbon nanotube electronics moving beyond silicon," said Mitra, an electrical engineer and computer scientist and Chambers Faculty Scholar of Engineering. "But there have been few demonstrations of complete digital systems using this exciting technology. Here is the proof."

Experts say the Stanford achievement will galvanize efforts to find successors to silicon chips, which could soon encounter physical limits that might prevent them from delivering smaller, faster, cheaper electronic devices.

For the full story, visit Stanford Engineering.

Ron Bracewell
October 2013

The world’s first and only radio sundial has been erected in memory of Ron Bracewell, a professor of electrical engineering and a pioneer in radio astronomy. The sundial was unveiled at the Very Large Array (VLA) Radio Telescope Observatory in New Mexico. It was constructed using pieces of a famous radio telescope that Bracewell built near the Stanford campus.

Bracewell, who died in 2007, was a pioneer in the transition from giant dish antennae to radio telescopes comprised of large-scale arrays of antennae.

For the full story, visit Stanford News.

Shanhui Fan
October 2013

Scientists have created a heat-resistant thermal emitter, an element used in specialized solar cells, that could significantly improve the efficiency of the cells. The novel component is designed to convert heat from the sun into infrared light, which can than be absorbed by solar cells to make electricity – a technology known as thermophotovoltaics.

Unlike earlier prototypes that fell apart before temperatures reached 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 degrees Celsius), the new thermal emitter remains stable at temperatures as high as 2,500 F (1,400 C).

"This is a record performance in terms of thermal stability and a major advance for the field of thermophotovoltaics," said Shanhui Fan, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University. Fan and his colleagues at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (Illinois) and North Carolina State University collaborated on the project. Their results are published in the Oct. 16, 2013 edition of the journal Nature Communications.

For the full story, visit Stanford News.

Research at Stanford
November 2013

Nanotechnology is a relatively new field at the confluence of physics, science, and engineering, but its impact on our lives is astounding. From the phones and computers we use to the solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity, nanotechnology is pushing our understanding of what is possible.

Nanomanufacturing refers to the production of nano-scaled materials—meaning a billionth in size—and it is used in a multitude of electronics and other non-biological technologies. As the site of some of the most important technological advancements in the last few decades, Nanomanufacturing is a popular course in Stanford’s School of Engineering. This fall, EE292L: Nanomanufacturing was delivered for the second time as a flipped style course, engaging students with its Discovery-Channel-like video approach, guest lectures by Silicon Valley innovators and experts in the field, and thought-provoking in-classroom demonstrations using real products from current industries.

According to instructor Aneesh Nainani, a consulting assistant professor in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, the course offers an opportunity for students to explore the field of nanotechnology and “to see how developments at nano-scale are impacting the electronics they use in everyday life.”

For the full story, visit Stanford Online.

BBC's Adam Shaw with Ada Poon. Courtesy of BBC World News.
November 2013

On an episode of BBC World News Horizons focusing on ways engineering and medicine work together to tackle illness and disease, Stanford Electrical Engineering Professor Ada Poon and her team discuss their groundbreaking research in this area with reporter Adam Shaw.

The show, which aired Nov. 16-17, 2013 (GMT), featured Poon’s use of cell phone technology to develop a new generation of implanted robotic and medical devices. Her group’s revolutionary prototype device is powered and controlled by radio waves generated outside of the body, and the devices are small enough to move through a patient's bloodstream. They hope these miniature chips can eventually be directed to specific organs such as the heart, where they can measure and feedback accurate information on biological functions.

The episode, titled "Technobody," is currently available online at www.bbc.com/horizonsbusiness (Poon's group is featured in Part 3).

For a related story, visit http://engineering.stanford.edu

Globecom best paper winners
November 2013

Stanford EE Postdoc Francisco Javier Lopez-Martinez, former EE postdoc Ernest Kurniawan and Andrea Goldsmith, the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering, recently received the Globecom 2013 Communication Theory Symposium best paper award.

They were recognized for their paper entitled, “Average Fade Duration for Amplify-and-Forward Relay Networks in Log-Normal Fading.” According to the Globecome awards committee chair, there is only one best paper for each of the 12 Globecom symposia in 2013, so their paper has high distinction.

John Cioffi
July 2013

Hitachi America Professor of Engineering Emeritus John Cioffi recently received the 2014 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award for inspirational teaching of graduate students in the IEEE fields of interest, with the following citation:

“For educating a stellar array of graduate students in digital communications and for inspiring them to make a difference.”

For nearly a century, the IEEE Awards Program has paid tribute to technical professionals whose exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on technology, society and the engineering profession.

Sanjay Lall and Laurent Lessard
July 2013

The American Automatic Control Council recently recognized Sanjay Lall, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, with the 2013 O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award.

Lall and his co-author Laurent Lessard received the award at the recent American Control Conference for their paper titled, "Optimal Controller Synthesis for the Decentralized Two-Player Problem with Output Feedback."

Andrea Goldsmith
September 2013

The Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering and Electrical Engineering Professor Andrea Goldsmith was recently selected to receive the Communication Theory Technical Committee (CTTC) Technical Achievement Award for 2013. Her citation reads, "For contributions to the analysis of fundamental performance limits for wireless channels and networks."

According to the committee's website, "The award...  recognize(s) members of the Communication Theory Technical Committee (CTTC) of the IEEE Communications Society who have been involved with CTTC, have done outstanding work in communication theory, and have achieved a high degree of visibility in the field."

James Harris
September 2013

James Harris, the James and Elenor Chesebrough Professor in the School of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering, recently received the 2013 Aristotle Award from the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) for "outstanding teaching and a deep commitment to the educational experience of his students."

According to the SRC, "The Aristotle Award was created by the SRC Board of Directors in March 1995 to recognize supported faculty whose deep commitment to the educational experience of SRC students has had a profound and continuing impact on their professional performance and consequently a significant impact for members over a long period of time."

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