EE Student Information

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EE Student Information, Spring Quarter through Academic Year 2020-2021: FAQs and Updated EE Course List.

Updates will be posted on this page, as well as emailed to the EE student mail list.

Please see Stanford University Health Alerts for course and travel updates.

As always, use your best judgement and consider your own and others' well-being at all times.


January 2020

A team led by professor Jelena Vučković explained how they carved a nanoscale channel out of silicon, sealed it in a vacuum and sent electrons through this cavity while pulses of infrared light – to which silicon is as transparent as glass is to visible light – were transmitted by the channel walls to speed the electrons along. Their research is published in the January 3 issue of Science. The accelerator-on-a-chip demonstrated in Science is just a prototype, but Vučković said its design and fabrication techniques can be scaled up to deliver particle beams accelerated enough to perform cutting-edge experiments in chemistry, materials science and biological discovery that don't require the power of a massive accelerator.

"The largest accelerators are like powerful telescopes. There are only a few in the world and scientists must come to places like SLAC to use them," Vučković said. "We want to miniaturize accelerator technology in a way that makes it a more accessible research tool."

Team members liken their approach to the way that computing evolved from the mainframe to the smaller but still useful PC. Accelerator-on-a-chip technology could also lead to new cancer radiation therapies, said physicist Robert Byer, a co-author of the Science paper. Again, it's a matter of size. Today, medical X-ray machines fill a room and deliver a beam of radiation that's tough to focus on tumors, requiring patients to wear lead shields to minimize collateral damage.

"In this paper we begin to show how it might be possible to deliver electron beam radiation directly to a tumor, leaving healthy tissue unaffected," said Byer, who leads the Accelerator on a Chip International Program, or ACHIP, a broader effort of which this current research is a part.

The researchers want to accelerate electrons to 94 percent of the speed of light, or 1 million electron volts (1MeV), to create a particle flow powerful enough for research or medical purposes. This prototype chip provides only a single stage of acceleration, and the electron flow would have to pass through around 1,000 of these stages to achieve 1MeV. But that's not as daunting at it may seem, said Vučković, because this prototype accelerator-on-a-chip is a fully integrated circuit. That means all of the critical functions needed to create acceleration are built right into the chip, and increasing its capabilities should be reasonably straightforward.

The researchers plan to pack a thousand stages of acceleration into roughly an inch of chip space by the end of 2020 to reach their 1MeV target. Although that would be an important milestone, such a device would still pale in power alongside the capabilities of the SLAC research accelerator, which can generate energy levels 30,000 times greater than 1MeV. But Byer believes that, just as transistors eventually replaced vacuum tubes in electronics, light-based devices will one day challenge the capabilities of microwave-driven accelerators.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of developing a 1MeV accelerator on a chip, EE professor Olav Solgaard, a co-author on the paper, has already begun work on a possible cancer-fighting application. Today, highly energized electrons aren't used for radiation therapy because they would burn the skin. Solgaard is working on a way to channel high-energy electrons from a chip-sized accelerator through a catheter-like vacuum tube that could be inserted below the skin, right alongside a tumor, using the particle beam to administer radiation therapy surgically.

"We can derive medical benefits from the miniaturization of accelerator technology in addition to the research applications," Solgaard said.


Excerpted from Stanford News, "Stanford researchers build a particle accelerator that fits on a chip, miniaturizing a technology that can now find new applications in research and medicine". January 2, 2020.


Related News

professor Stephen Boyd
January 2020

Professor Stephen Boyd has been elected as a foreign member of the National Academy of Engineering of Korea (NAEK).

The National Academy of Engineering of Korea aims to discover and acknowledge engineers who have made remarkable contributions to the technological development in universities, companies, and research institutes, and to contribute to Korea's creative engineering technology development through academic research and supporting projects.

With a vision of a global engineering technology platform, NAEK will play a leading role in creating a sustainable and growing society, a creative and smart society, and a healthy and safe society.


Please join us in congratulating Stephen on this honor.


professor Krishna Shenoy
December 2019

Professor Krishna Shenoy and neurosurgeon Jaime Henderson, MD lead a team of researchers that implanted multi-electrode arrays in the brains of study participants who suffered from severe limb weakness. In a recently published study, they found that "two neural population dynamics features previously reported for arm movements were also present during speaking: a component that was mostly invariant across initiating different words, followed by rotatory dynamics during speaking. This suggests that common neural dynamical motifs may underlie movement of arm and speech articulators." Read study

The scientists were able to design software that could differentiate among different syllables uttered by two of the implanted participants who retained the power of speech.

By analyzing neural activity across nearly 200 electrodes, the scientists found they could identify which of several syllables a participant was saying – with more than 80% accuracy in the case of one participant.

The implication here is that someday it may be possible to figure out what people who, for one or another reason, can't speak are trying to say – and get a device to say it for them.

"There aren't a lot of opportunities to make measurements from inside someone's brain while they talk," said postdoctoral research fellow, Sergey Stavisky. If these two people hadn't just happened to have multi-electrode arrays implanted in the part of the brain responsible for hand-movement control, that area's connection to speech might never have surfaced.


image credit: Photos by Peter Barreras/Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Stavisky, Shenoy and Henderson's work could one day help scientists build medical devices that help people who cannot speak. Photo by Peter Barreras/Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Excerpted from Stanford Medicine's SCOPE Blog, "Why we talk with our hands — and how that may help give speech to the speechless" by Bruce Goldman. 

Umran Inan (Image source:
December 2019

Our emeritus colleague Umran Inan, the long-time president of Koc University, has been awarded the 2019 Mustafa Prize.

The Mustafa Prize is awarded in five categories of information and communication science and technology, life and medical science and technology, Nano-science and nanotechnology and all areas of science and technology and scientists from Islamic countries.

These areas include the following UNESCO fields of education: natural sciences, mathematics, and statistics; information and communication technologies; engineering, manufacturing, and construction; agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary; health and welfare as well as cognitive science and Islamic economics and banking.

The event aims to improve scientific relations between academics and researchers in order to facilitate the growth of science in the Islamic world.

The prize is given every two years; previous recipients from outside of Iran included Professors Omar Yaghi of UC Berkeley, Erol Gelenbe of Imperial College and Amin Shokrollahi of EPFL.


Please join us in congratulating Umran!



Source:, "Iran awards prestigious prize to 2 US-educated scientists"

Image source:

professor Hector Garcia-Molina
December 2019

Professor Hector Garcia-Molina is fondly remembered by the EE and CS departments. Hector was a truly remarkable, caring man who has touched us in so many ways.

In addition to his professorial duties, Hector enthusiastically assisted our department with commencement photos, taking wonderful portraits of graduates and their families.

Hector's enthusiasm, kindness and generous teaching spirit continues with his students and colleagues.


Read more about Hector's legacy: please visit The Stanford Daily and The Stanford News article.


Hector helping Marsha Dillon, Mary K. McMahon, and the photographer to fine tune camera settings before the department's 2018 commencement.

professor Jelena Vučković
December 2019

Congratulations to Professor Jelena Vučković! She has been awarded the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize. She will develop an on-chip integrated pulsed laser, which will revolutionize photonic technology and the applications that require these lasers, such as medicine, optical communications, quantum computing and self-driving cars.

Currently Ti:sapph lasers are bulky, expensive, table-top lasers, which can be limiting to applications such as LIDAR and microscopy. Jelena and her team are aiming to create a miniature version, which would have a total volume smaller than a cubic centimeter. This would have a major impact on photonic technology and society, by decreasing the cost and footprint of such lasers.

The new miniature lasers could also be applied to and used in several applications, such as miniaturized and inexpensive sensors in self-driving cars, which would make such LIDAR systems accessible to everyone; to pump quantum light sources for secure quantum communications where eavesdropping can be detected; and as compact sources for brain microscopy and imaging.

Jelena said: "I am tremendously honored to receive the A F Harvey Prize from the IET, and to be selected among the shortlisted group of very distinguished scientists. This prize will be used to support my lab's work on implementation of miniaturized and inexpensive ultrafast lasers – the greatest challenge of integrated photonics, which could revolutionize many applications, from self-driving cars, to neuroscience and to quantum technologies."

Sir John O'Reilly, Chair of the IET's Selection Committee for the Prize, said: "Professor Jelena Vuckovic's pioneering work on inverse photonic design is transforming our approach to the design and realization of new high-performance integrated systems - with wide-ranging applications in communications, lidar, quantum systems and the like. She and her team at Stanford have developed inverse methods that cut the design time dramatically, thereby opening new vistas and radically different approaches to realization of elements not previously conceived. Finally, we see in prospect photonics realizing its untapped potential, helping us to 'engineer a better world'."

The IET's A F Harvey Research Prize, worth £350,000, is named after Dr A F Harvey who bequeathed a generous sum of money to the IET for a trust fund to be set up in his name for the furtherance of scientific research into the fields of Radar and Microwaves; Lasers and Optoelectronics; Medical Engineering.

Jelena will present a prize lecture on her research at IET London: Savoy Place on 16 March 2020.


Please join us in recognizing Jelena for her extraordinary research!


Excerpted from IET Press Release, "Electrical engineer awarded £350,000 research grant to create revolutionary miniature on-chip laser," Dec. 9, 2019.


professor Jelena Vučković
December 2019

Professor Jelena Vučković and team recently published "4H-silicon-carbide-on-insulator for integrated quantum and nonlinear photonics" in Nature Photonics.

Photonic chips could become the basis for light-based quantum computers that could, in theory, break codes and solve certain types of problems beyond the capabilities of any electronic computer.

In recent months Jelena has created a prototype photonic chip made of diamond. Now, however, in experiments described in Nature Photonics, she and her team demonstrate how to make a light-based chip from a material nearly as hard as diamond but far less exotic — silicon carbide.

"These are early stage but promising results with a material that is already familiar to industry," Jelena said.

Commonly used in brake pad linings, silicon carbide is a tough material that has carved out a new niche in electronics, where it is used to make chips for high-voltage, high-heat applications, such as electric car power supplies, that are too extreme for ordinary silicon chips.

Like most chip-making materials, silicon carbide is a crystal — a group of specific atoms arranged in a consistent lattice. In a silicon carbide crystal, every silicon atom is joined to four carbon atoms to form a strong, three-dimensional lattice. The stability of this lattice helps makes silicon carbide useful for high-heat applications, whether that involves dealing with friction in brake pad linings or high currents flowing through chips.

Daniil Lukin (EE PhD candidate), Constantin Dory (EE PhD candidate) and Melissa Guidry (AP PhD candidate) led the effort to make this crystal useful as a photonic chip. They removed silicon atoms at strategic locations throughout the lattice. Each vacancy in the lattice created a subatomic trap that captured a single electron from one of the surrounding carbon atoms. To make the light-based chip work, the researchers sent a stream of photons through the lattice. Whenever a photon struck a trapped electron, the collision between those two particles sent a photon spinning off at a particular energy level, or what scientists call a quantum. Interactions between photons and electrons create what scientists call a qubit, or quantum bit. A qubit is roughly analogous to the transistor in an electronic chip — the fundamental unit that makes the system work.

Many hurdles must still be overcome before photonic chips made of silicon carbide, or diamond for that matter, might become useful as the building blocks for a quantum computing system. "Hype tends to get ahead of science," Vuckovic says. But within the next five years or so, she envisions using photonic chips to send data via quantum light through fiber optic cables, making such communications more secure by making it possible to detect efforts to tap into the flow of information.

As the director of Q-FARM — short for Quantum Fundamentals, Architecture and Machines — Jelena is helping to bring together researchers from Stanford and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to solve the nitty-gritty hardware and software challenges necessary to make quantum technology a reality.

"We're trying to take small, practical steps," she says, "while we try to push beyond the limits of our current understanding and discover new platforms for quantum technologies."

Excerpted from Stanford Engineering's "Can we develop computer chips that run on light?" December 2, 2019. 


Related Links 




professor Gordon Wetzstein
November 2019

Congratulations to Professor Gordon Wetzstein! He has been awarded the 2020 SPIE Early Career Achievement Award – Academic Focus – in recognition of outstanding contributions to computational imaging and display technologies. The SPIE Early Career Achievement Award recognizes significant and innovative technical contributions in the engineering or scientific fields of relevance to SPIE.

"Gordon's core research interests lie in computational imaging and photography, i.e. at the intersection of several disciplines including optics, image processing, computer vision, photography, and human perception," notes Professor Wolfgang Heidrich, the director of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology's Visual Computing Center. "This is an emerging research area that promises to revolutionize both photography and display technologies, as well as other applications of optics through the introduction of computation, thereby enabling more robust, less expensive, and more portable optical devices. Even more importantly, it allows for completely new imaging modalities that have not been possible so far. Gordon has a clear and articulate vision of research in Computational Photography and Displays — in fact he is probably the first to really define Computational Displays as a separate sub-area with similar but distinct challenges from Computational Photography — and has been extremely active providing leadership to the community. He is an emerging star."

Please join us in congratulating Gordon for his tremendous contributions!


Excerpted from "Gordon Wetzstein: The 2020 SPIE Early Career Achievement Award – Academic Focus press release "SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, Announces Its 2020 Society Awards"


EE Prof. H.S.- Philip Wong
October 2019

Professor H.S. Philip Wong has been awarded the IEEE Electron Devices Society J.J. Ebers Award. This is the society's highest honor recognizing outstanding technical contributions to the field of electron devices that have made a lasting impact.

The award will be presented to Philip at the 2019 International Electron Devices Meeting in December. The Jewell James Ebers Award was established in 1971 with the intention to foster progress in electron devices and to commemorate the life activities of Jewell James Ebers, whose distinguished contributions, particularly in the transistor art, shaped the understanding and technology of electron devices.

Philip is the Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor in the School of Engineering. He is professor of Electrical Engineering and affiliate faculty of Bio-X, Precourt Institute for Energy, and Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. Philip's present research covers a broad range of topics including carbon electronics, 2D layered materials, wireless implantable biosensors, directed self-assembly, nanoelectromechanical relays, device modeling, brain-inspired computing, and non-volatile memory devices such as phase change memory and metal oxide resistance change memory.

Please join us in congratulating Philip on this well-deserved honor!


Related News

image of emeritus prof Stephen E Harris
September 2019

Emeritus Professor Stephen E. Harris, the Kenneth and Barbara Oshman Professor in the School of Engineering, has been awarded the 2020 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics. He will receive the award at the 2020 Physics of Quantum Electronics (PQE) Golden Jubilee - the 50th year of the annual meeting.

Stephen joined our faculty after completing his PhD (and MS) in Electrical Engineering at Stanford. He is known for his contributions to electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT)– a technique for eliminating the effect of a medium on a propagating beam of electromagnetic radiation. Additionally, he is known for his collaboration with others, producing results in many areas, including lasers, quantum electronics, atomic physics, and nonlinear optics.

Stephen E. Harris is part of Stanford's Ginzton Lab, Q-FARM, and emeritus professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics.


Please join us in recognizing Stephen for his tremendous contributions to a variety of scientific fields!

Photo of Professor Stephen E. Harris, date unknown. source: SALLIE, Stanford's Image Exchange.




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