Faculty

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.

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.

EE Professor John Pauly
February 2014

Professor of Electrical Engineering John Pauly was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), "for seminal contributions in Magnetic Resonance Imaging that enabled new techniques with dramatically improved imaging speed, resolution, and contrast for biomedical applications." The ceremony was held at the AIMBE annual meeting at the National Academy of Science in March 2014.

The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country. The most accomplished and distinguished engineering and medical school chairs, research directors, professors, innovators, and successful entrepreneurs, comprise the College of Fellows.

AIMBE Fellows are regularly recognized for their contributions in teaching, research, and innovation. AIMBE Fellows have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Science and the Presidential Medal of Technology and Innovation and many also are members of the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences.

"In addition to his stellar research contributions, John is one of the best citizens of the Stanford EE department, chairing faculty searches and serving on the undergraduate curriculum committee with great care and dedication," says EE Department Chair Abbas El Gamal.

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