2014

Professor Robert Dutton
September 2014

Electrical engineers make the technologies and systems that communicate, store and process information. They harness the fundamental forces of nature to serve everyday needs, whether this involves creating a computer based on carbon nanotubesimplanting sensors deep inside the human body or inventing next generation memory chips. Electrical engineers change the world. Our new curriculum gives Stanford students a rigorous foundation in classical and modern physics while quickly immersing them in the exciting applications made possible by EE.  Read more »

S. Fan
July 2014

Scientists may have overcome one of the major hurdles in developing high-efficiency, long-lasting solar cells – keeping them cool, even in the blistering heat of the noonday Sun.

By adding a specially patterned layer of silica glass to the surface of ordinary solar cells, a team of researchers led by Shanhui Fan, an electrical engineering professor at Stanford University, has found a way to let solar cells cool themselves by shepherding away unwanted thermal radiation. The researchers describe their innovative design in the premiere issue of The Optical Society’s  new open-access journal Optica.

Solar cells are among the most promising and widely used renewable energy technologies on the market today. Though readily available and easily manufactured, even the best designs convert only a fraction of the energy they receive from the sun into usable electricity.

Part of this loss is the unavoidable consequence of converting sunlight into electricity. A surprisingly vexing amount, however, is causesd by solar cells overheating.

Under normal operating conditions, solar cells can easily reach temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius) or more. These harsh conditions quickly sap efficiency and can markedly shorten the lifespan of a solar cell. Actively cooling solar cells, however – either by ventilation or coolants – would be prohibitively expensive and at odds with the need to optimize exposure to the sun.

For the full story, visit engineering.stanford.edu.

image of Himanshu Asnani
October 2014

EE PhD Candidate Himanshu Asnani (read EE Spotlight) received the 2014 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award, which recognizes academic achievements and leadership in the field of communications and information science. His advisor is Associate Professor Tsachy Weissman.

The selection committee cited Asnani’s outstanding research work on data compression in networks and genomic data, as well as cooperation in multi-terminal source coding; his excellent academic record; and his demonstrated entrepreneurial capabilities.

Marconi Young Scholars are individuals who have, at an early age, already demonstrated exceptional engineering or scientific research and entrepreneurial capabilities with the potential to create significant advances telecommunications and the Internet. They are students whose advisers and nominators believe will make a real difference in science and society, serving as role models and an inspiration for others.

Watch 2014 Marconi Society Young Scholars award video.

 

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech
June 2014

At first glance, Titan has little in common with Earth. The largest moon of Saturn, temperatures on Titan's surface dip nearly 300 F below zero, its seas slosh with liquid methane, and its sky is a murky shade of creamsicle.

And yet, fresh analysis of mysterious features spotted on the moon indicates that it experiences one of the same global processes that is important here on Earth.

In a study published in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience, scientists operating the Cassini satellite, including Stanford's Howard Zebker, present evidence that Titan has seasonal cycles analogous to Earth's, and that the moon's surface conditions change as the Titan year unfolds.

The Cassini satellite has been orbiting Saturn and its moons since 2004. Zebker, a professor of electrical engineering and of geophysics, is one of the lead scientists operating the spacecraft's radar instruments. Radar is critical for studying Titan in particular because the moon's atmosphere is typically too cloudy and thick for optical instruments to see through easily.

During five fly-bys of Titan's Ligeia Mare – a liquid methane sea larger than Lake Superior – the scientists noticed bright features that appeared and changed shape on the sea's surface. After ruling out a technical glitch or an exotic artifact of radar scattering, the group focused on three causes most likely for the phenomena.

"We are driven to use our imaginations and picture what could be happening on the sea to produce a transient feature," Zebker said.

For the full story, visit Stanford News.

EE Professor Emeritus Arogyaswami Paulraj
January 2014

Electrical Engineering Professor Emeritus Arogyaswami Paulraj has won the prestigious Marconi Prize of the Marconi Society for "his pioneering contributions to developing the theory and applications of MIMO antennas."

“Paulraj’s contributions to wireless technology, and the resulting benefit to mankind, are indisputable. Every WiFi router and 4G phone today uses MIMO technology pioneered by him,” says Professor Sir David Payne, Chairman of the Marconi Society.

According to the Marconi Society, its aim is to enhance the spirit of Guglielmo Marconi – scientist, engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur – his contributions to communications and information, and his determination that such knowledge be directed to the social, economic and cultural improvement of all humanity. The $100,000 Marconi Prize recognizes achievements of those living individuals from anywhere in the world whose aspirations, careers and accomplishments are characterized by a similar dedication.

Subscribe to RSS - 2014