News

November 2016

November’s Electrical Engineering staff recognized for their outstanding effort are Steven Clark, Rachel Pham and Jennifer Wong. Nominated by peers, students and faculty, each are an example of professional contribution above and beyond their everyday roles, and continue to make profound and positive impact improving everyday work and academic life. 

Please congratulate Steve, Rachel, and Jennifer for their outstanding contributions to the EE department.  

  

Excerpts from this month’s recipient nominations follow. 

Steven Clark, Instructional Labs Manager

  • “Steven constantly goes above and beyond helping make new lab-based classes happen."
  • “He was instrumental in launching EE’s new maker space, lab64."

Rachel Pham, Academic Affairs & Programs Administrator

  • “Rachel was instrumental in the 2016 REU experience being well-attended, and professional."  
  • "I struggled with finalizing the room for my course, and for 2 weeks, she updated a lot — I appreciate her patience and helpfulness!"

Jennifer Wong, Research Administration Manager, Ginzton, E.L. Lab

  • “Jennifer’s timeliness and attention to detail are tremendously appreciated.”
  • “Her extraordinary effort underscores everything she does."

The Staff Gift Card Bonus Program is sponsored by the School of Engineering. Each year, the EE department receives several gift cards to distribute to staff members who are recognized for going above and beyond their role. Each month, staff are chosen from nominations received from faculty, students, and staff. Past nominations are eligible for future months.

 Nominate a deserving staff person or group today! We encourage you to nominate individuals or groups that have made a profound improvement in daily work life. Each recipient receives a $50 Visa card. Nominations can be made at any time.

 

Jon Fan's research on nanoscale optical devices
November 2016

A field of materials science known as metamaterials has recently captured the imagination of engineers hoping to create nanoscale optical devices. Jonathan Fan, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and director of the ExFab at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility, is leading the way. He recently won the prestigious 2016 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, which funds the most promising early-career professors in fields ranging from physics and chemistry to engineering. Fan is just the fourth Stanford electrical engineer to win the fellowship since 1988, and the financial support that comes with it will enable him to carry on work that is so innovative that it can otherwise prove difficult to fund through traditional means. We talked to Fan about his visions in metamaterial engineering and about his interdisciplinary collaborations with fellow Stanford professors Allison Okamura and Sean Follmer in projects such as integrating new types of electromagnetic systems with robots.

What are metamaterials?

At its most basic level, we are bringing the idea of an antenna down to the nanoscale. Back in the day before cable and satellite, TVs had metal antennas. If your picture wasn't very good, you would get up and physically reconfigure the antenna geometry to change its performance. Those antennas were designed for radio waves that were centimeters to meters in length. We are working to create nanoscale antennas that would be able to respond to visible light with wavelengths of 400 to 700 nanometers, or infrared light, where wavelengths are on the order of a micron. By configuring the geometry of these antennas individually and in collections, we can engineer systems that can interact with and manipulate light in entirely new ways.

These tiny antennas are many orders of magnitude smaller than a TV antenna. Fortunately, the development of the modern electronic integrated circuit platform over the last half-century has produced mature technological processes that can help us define nanoscale features. We use those same patterning technologies to make these nanoscale antennas. That's the very basic overview.

What is the derivation of the term "meta" in the name metamaterials?

When you think of a conventional lens, you think of glass – the material, right? The glass in your camera or your eyeglasses bends light in very predictable ways based on the intrinsic material response of glass. A lens made of a metamaterial will respond to light in ways that are no longer solely based on the properties of the material itself, but largely on the design and layout of these optical antennas. So the concept of "meta" comes from our ability to engineer artificial materials, consisting of a composite of nanoscale structures, which can respond to light in entirely new ways. It's kind of neat to see an example in the case of a metal like gold. We usually think of gold as a bulk material that is reflective, yellowish and shiny. Even when you go down to the nanoscale, gold is still gold. But by specifying the geometry of nanoscale gold, we can change the color of gold from yellow to green or red, and it can support many other types of optical properties that we don't associate with bulk gold. Those are properties engineers can use to make new devices.

What do metamaterials allow us to do that we couldn't before?

Metamaterials are promising for a couple reasons. First, they enable the extreme miniaturization of existing optical devices. For example, we can take an eyeglass lens and we can make it 100 times thinner than a strand of hair. This allows us to translate traditionally bulky optical systems to extremely small form factors. Second, they can be customized to support novel properties that currently are not accessible with existing optical hardware, leading to entirely new optical systems.

What's an example of a potential metamaterial device?

A major opportunity today arises from the fact that high-resolution cameras have miniaturized to sizes that can fit onto cellphones, making them accessible to audiences a million times larger than before. Part of my larger research question is: Is there something more we can do with imaging systems with form factors of a cellphone camera? There is so much information in the incoming light field that is not currently captured by a cellphone camera, but that could be captured with imaging systems that include metamaterials. Access to this additional information could change how we use the images we take. For example, if you have a skin condition, a great deal more optical information of the skin could be extracted from a simple cellphone image and used to better assess your condition.

What excites you about metamaterials?

Metamaterials lead us to a completely different set of questions – metaquestions, if you will. For instance, are these nanoantennas even the best way to go about doing what we want to do? At this point in time, even that's not clear. In addition, you get to the big questions of applications for these materials and devices. It's just wide open. That's why this is exciting to me.

Any early impressions to share as a new faculty member?

Stanford is a really special place. The people are top-notch and the environment is highly collaborative, not siloed. As an example, I have recently expanded into robotics, where I have been looking to apply concepts in radio frequency waves to create smarter soft robotic systems. In this effort, I've started a collaboration with Allison Okamura and Sean Follmer, who are mechanical engineers. It's been fantastic so far, and I've been learning so much. People here are very open-minded and are inspired to do exciting interdisciplinary research to identify and solve big problems. I'm thrilled to be a part of that.

By Andrew Myers
Source: Stanford School of Engineering News

 

 

Related News:

Fan awarded the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, January 2017

Jonathan Fan awarded 2016 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, October 2016

Jonathan's EE Spotlight

November 2016

Professor Andrea Goldsmith and post-doc fellow Nariman Farsad are currently looking into how chemical communication could advance nanotechnology.

Goldsmith and Farsad's research aims to create a system that uses chemicals to transmit messages. Instead of zeros and ones, their system uses an acid-base combination. The complications of this type of system are largely due to the fact that it's completely new. Goldsmith has spent her entire career working in wireless communication. Chemical messaging offers a new twist on familiar problems.

One potential of chemical-based data exchange is that it could be self-powered, traveling throughout the body harmlessly – and undetectable by outside devices. "This is one of the most important potential applications for this type of project," Farsad said. "It could enable the emergence of these tiny devices that are working together, talking together and doing useful things."

While working to improve their current chemical texting system, Goldsmith and Farsad are also collaborating with two bioengineering groups at Stanford to make human body-friendly chemical messaging a reality.

 

Excerpted from Stanford News. Full article.

November 2016


Yanjun Han (PhD candidate) and co-authors Jiantao Jiao (PhD candidate) and Professor Tsachy Weissman received the ISITA 2016 Student Paper Award. The award was announced at the International Symposium on Information Theory and its Applications (ISITA2016) event in Monterey, California.

Their paper is titled, "Minimax Rate-Optimal Estimation of KL Divergence between Discrete Distributions."

Congratulations to Yanjun, Jiantao and Tsachy!

 

 

November 2016

A team led by Jim Harris and Thomas Jaramillo, an associate professor of chemical engineering and of photon science, has made a significant improvement to the efficiency of solar energy. In work published in Nature Communications, they were able to capture and store 30 percent of the energy captured from sunlight into stored hydrogen, beating the prior record of 24.4 percent.

Solar energy has the potential to provide abundant power, but only if scientists solve two key issues: storing the energy for use at all hours, particularly at night, and making the technology more cost effective. The interdisciplinary team has made significant strides toward solving the storage issue, demonstrating the most efficient means yet of storing electricity captured from sunlight in the form of chemical bonds. If the team can find a way of lowering the cost of their technology, they say it would be a huge step toward making solar power a viable alternative to current, more polluting energy sources.

The basic science behind the team's approach is well understood: Use the electricity captured from sunlight to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen gas. That stored energy can be recovered later in different ways: by recombining the hydrogen and oxygen into water to release electricity again, or by burning the hydrogen gas in an internal combustion engine, similar to those running on petroleum products today.

"It took specialists in different fields to do what none of us could have done alone," Harris said. "That's one of the lessons of this result: There is no single fix. How everything links together is the key."

 

Jim Harris is the James and Elenor Chesebrough Professor in the School of Engineering, professor, by courtesy, of applied physics and of materials science and engineering, a member of Stanford Bio-X and of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, and an affiliate of the Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Jamarillo is also an affiliate of the Precourt Institute for Energy.

 

This article is adapted from the Stanford Report. Read full article

October 2016

Congratulations to David H. Lin (PhD '16), Eshan Singh (PhD candidate), and Professor Subhasish Mitra for receiving the 2015 IEEE International Test Conference (ITC) Best Paper Award.

To encourage excellence in its technical program, ITC presents awards to authors of outstanding papers presented at ITC and published in the proceedings. In determining award-winning papers, the ITC Awards Selection Committee considers the quality of the papers as published in the Proceedings and as presented at the conference technical sessions. The committee's decisions are based on responses by conference attendees as recorded on session rating cards and on the observations and recommendations of the ITC Program Committee.

Their paper, "A Structured Approach to Post-Silicon Validation and Debug using Symbolic Quick Error Detection", has been selected as the Best Paper for International Test Conference (ITC).

The Best Paper Award will be presented to Mitra and co-authors during the plenary session at ITC on November 15th.

 

Congratulations to all!

October 2016

 

A dozen teams of EE students came together Friday afternoon to compete in EE's Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest.

This year's event was hosted in the Packard Atrium, with plenty of candy, refreshments, and music. Judges included student services staff Meo Kittiwanich and Teresa Nguyen, graduate advisor Kai Zang, and Professor Mary Wootters. Judging criteria included completeness, technical skill, creativity, and costumes.

The timed competition resulted in a variety of creative and clever pumpkins, from classic carved and painted pumpkins to IoT trick-or-treater sensing pumpkins that send texts to alert their presence at the door.

  • Third Place went to the "PBBB&J" team of Nicole Grimwood, Nicolo Maganzini, Sophia Williams, and Tong Mu.
  • Second place went to "Pumpkin-Bombking" Team, whose members are Anqi Ji, Elias, Wang, Stanislav Fort, and Philip Lee.
  • The First place team was "2ndPlace4ever," Chris Vassos, Stephania Hsu, Lisa Yamada, and Abubakar Abid.

 

Happy HallowEEn!

Prof. Sachin Katti (pictured left) and Dinesh Bharadia (pictured right) at EE commencement 2016
October 2016

The Marconi Society honors Dinesh Bharadia (PhD '16) with the 2016 Paul Baran Young Scholar Award. Dedicated to furthering scientific achievements in communications and the internet, the Marconi Society will honor four scholars for their outstanding research and innovations in networking. The 2016 Paul Baran Young Scholars Awards will be presented at a gala on November 2 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.

"Bharadia's research disproved a long-held assumption that, it is generally not possible for a radio to receive and transmit on the same frequency band because of the interference that results," reads the announcement.

The self-interference cancellation filter Bharadia developed also unleashed the potential for many more applications. The unique architecture had to allow cancellation in all environments. According to Bharadia's PhD advisor, Sachin Katti, "Dinesh's work enables a whole host of new applications, from extremely low-power Internet of Things connectivity to motion tracking. It has the potential to be used for important future applications such as building novel wireless imaging that can enable accuracy in driverless cars during severe weather scenarios, helping blind people to navigate indoors, and much more."

Bharadia thinks receiving the Marconi Young Scholar award is especially rewarding because his work has a direct connection to Marconi. "Marconi invented the radio and I was able to make radios full-duplex," he says. "It's fitting that this work should be recognized by the Marconi Society."

 

Hearty congratulations to Dinesh Bharadia!

 

Excerts from the Marconi Society press release.

June 2016

Congratulations to Tim Anderson and José Padovani!

 

Tim (EE and ICME PhD candidate) and José (EE PhD '16) were recognized for their outstanding teaching. They each were awarded the 2016 Centennial Teaching Assistant Award. The award program recognizes outstanding instruction by TA's in the Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering schools.

Nominated by faculty, peers, and previous students, each received a $500 stipend and certificate.


About Tim

Tim is a committed instructor. He has taught, tutored, or assisted with Computational and Mathematical Engineering (CME) 102, 108 and 100. His nominators emphasized his valuable contribution in advancing equity via ACE (Additional Calculus for Engineers) in CME. Tim is a first-year PhD student, having completed his EE BS earlier in 2016.

A few comments from Tim's nomination:

PhD candidate Tim Anderson
  • Tim did a phenomenal job not only reviewing and explaining material in-depth, but going the extra mile in explaining industry and major related applications for nearly every topic.
  • I really benefited from the extra practice, and having a good relationship with Tim.
  • ACE has greatly helped me with my academic experiences so far in STEM: developing better study habits, giving me extra help, and gaining confidence in my abilities.

 

 

 

 

 

About José

José Padovani
José Padovani was the Teaching Assistant and head lab TA for EE101A. Being the first to incorporate the course's new curriculum, he rewrote the exercises, synchronizing them with the lectures, while incorporating feedback from students. EE101A's enrollment climbed significantly with José's insights and improvements.

Excerpts from José's nomination:

  • He is genuinely dedicated to making sure that the labs ran smoothly, and that students truly learn from the exercises.
  • José's mini-tutorials helped all the students be better prepared for each section, resulting in an improved learning experience for students.
  • He doesn't leave until he's sure that everyone 'gets it'.

 

Please join us in recognizing Tim and José – their efforts are greatly valued!

October 2016

Stephen P. Boyd has been named as a 2016 INFORMS Fellow. The Fellow Award is reserved for distinguished individuals who have demonstrated outstanding and exceptional accomplishments in operations research and the management sciences.

His citation reads, "For exceptional teaching and broad dissemination of convex optimization and outstanding research leading to innovative formulations and algorithms for problems across a wide array of disciplines."

Stephen has received many awards and honors for his research in control systems engineering and optimization. In 2016, he also received Stanford's highest teaching honor, the Walter J. Gores teaching award for his signature course, Convex Optimization. He is the author of many research articles and three books: Convex Optimization (with Lieven Vandenberghe, 2004), Linear Matrix Inequalities in System and Control Theory (with L. El Ghaoui, E. Feron, and V. Balakrishnan, 1994), and Linear Controller Design: Limits of Performance (with Craig Barratt, 1991). His group has produced many open source tools, including CVX (with Michael Grant), CVXPY (with Steven Diamond) and Convex.jl (with Madeleine Udell and others), widely used parser-solvers for convex optimization.

Stephen is the Samsung Professor of Engineering, and Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Information Systems Laboratory at Stanford University. He has courtesy appointments in the Department of Management Science and Engineering and the Department of Computer Science, and is member of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering. His current research focus is on convex optimization applications in control, signal processing, finance, and circuit design.

 

Please join us in congratulating Stephen for this well-deserved honor.

 

INFORMS.org

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February 2014

Three staff members each received a $50 Visa card in recognition of their extraordinary efforts as part of the department’s 2014 Staff Gift Card Bonus Program. The EE department received several nominations in January, and nominations from 2013 were also considered.

Following are January’s gift card recipients and some of the comments from their nominators:

Ann Guerra, Faculty Administrator

  • “She is very kind to students and always enthusiastic to help students… every time we need emergent help, she is willing to give us a hand.”
  • “Ann helps anyone who goes to her for help with anything, sometimes when it’s beyond her duty.” 

Teresa Nguyen, Student Accounting Associate

  • “She stays on top of our many, many student financial issues, is an extremely reliable source of information and is super friendly.”
  • “Teresa’s cheerful disposition, her determination, and her professionalism seem to go above and beyond what is simply required.”

Helen Niu, Faculty Administrator

  • “Helen is always a pleasure to work with.”
  • “She goes the extra mile in her dealings with me, which is very much appreciated.”

The School of Engineering once again 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 past nominations will still be eligible for future months. EE faculty, staff and students are welcome to nominate a deserving staff person by visitinghttps://gradapps.stanford.edu/NotableStaff/nomination/create.

Ann Guerra  Teresa Nguyen  Helen Niu

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