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October 2018

Published in Nature Nanotechnology, the team's research is also featured in the Stanford News. By structuring nanowires in a way that mimics geckos' ears, this team has found a way to record the incoming angle of light. This technology could have applications in robotic vision, photography and augmented reality.

"The typical way to determine the direction of light is by using a lens. But those are big and there's no comparable mechanisms when you shrink a device so it's smaller than most bacteria," states co-author and EE professor Shanhui Fan.

More detailed light detection could support advances in lens-less cameras, augmented reality and robotic vision, which is important for autonomous cars.

A long-term commitment This project began when co-author Dr. Zongfu Yu (EE postdoc & research associate '09-'13), was a student in Shanhui Fan's lab and took the initiative to combine his work there with research by Mark Brongersma and his lab. They made progress but had to put the work on hold while Yu applied for faculty positions and, subsequently, established his lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is now an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and in whose lab Soongyu Yi works.

Many years later, and after publishing the current proof-of-concept, the researchers said they look forward to building on their results. Next steps include deciding what else they might want to measure from light and putting several nanowires side-by-side to see if they can build an entire imaging system that records all the details they're interested in at once.

"We've worked on this for a long time – Zongfu has had a whole life story between the start and end of this project! It shows that we haven't compromised on quality," Professor Brongersma said. "And it's fun to think that we might be here for another 20 years figuring out all the potential of this system."

 

Congratulations to all the authors!

Authors include: Soongyu Yi; Ming Zhou; Zongfu Yu; Pengyu Fan; Nader Behdad; Dianmin Lin (PhD, '16); Ken Xingze Wang; Shanhui Fan; Mark Brongersma. Abstract: Sensing the direction of sounds gives animals clear evolutionary advantage. For large animals, with an ear-to-ear spacing that exceeds audible sound wavelengths, directional sensing is simply accomplished by recognizing the intensity and time differences of a wave impinging on its two ears. Recent research suggests that in smaller, subwavelength animals, angle sensing can instead rely on a coherent coupling of soundwaves between the two ears. Inspired by this natural design, here we show a subwavelength photodetection pixel that can measure both the intensity and incident angle of light. It relies on an electrical isolation and optical coupling of two closely spaced Si nanowires that support optical Mie resonances. When these resonators scatter light into the same free-space optical modes, a non-Hermitian coupling results that affords highly sensitive angle determination. By straightforward photocurrent measurements, we can independently quantify the stored optical energy in each nanowire and relate the difference in the stored energy between the wires to the incident angle of a light wave. We exploit this effect to fabricate a subwavelength angle-sensitive pixel with angular sensitivity, δθ = 0.32°. Source, Nature Nanotechnology.

Paper link www.nature.com/articles/s41565-018-0278-9

Related Links:

September 2018

Welcome back to our undergraduate and graduate students who participated in an inaugural week long joint forum with the University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen (CUHKCZ).

Stanford and CUHKSZ students visited several Chinese tech companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI. Students also spent time together doing various activities, as well as collaborative projects. Their projects were created in a new maker space on campus, and were presented at the end of the week. Being in China's tech capitol gave Stanford students an opportunity to interact with the infrastructure afforded to people in Shenzhen. For example, touring Huaqiangbei (a massive electronics hub), where visitors are able to peruse hundreds of shops to select parts for current and future projects. Students report they had an amazing time experiencing Chinese culture and the growing tech industries in Shenzhen.

 

Students and faculty during an outing in Shenzhen, September 2018.

EE PhD candidate, Julie Chang
August 2018

The team, led by professor Gordon Wetzstein, is addressing the challenge of autonomous vehicles and aerial drones relying on large, energy intensive computers to process images. They have joined two types of computers: optical and electrical, to create a hybrid machine that can analyze images with far less computation and energy.

The result is profoundly fewer calculations, fewer calls to memory and far less time to complete the process. Having leapfrogged these preprocessing steps, the remaining analysis proceeds to the digital computer layer with a considerable head start.

"Millions of calculations are circumvented and it all happens at the speed of light," reports Gordon Wetzstein. "Some future version of our system would be especially useful in rapid decision-making applications, like autonomous vehicles."

In addition to shrinking the prototype, Wetzstein, Chang and colleagues at the Stanford Computational Imaging Lab are now looking at ways to make the optical component do even more of the preprocessing. Eventually, their smaller, faster technology could replace the trunk-size computers that now help cars, drones and other technologies learn to recognize the world around them.

 

Their work was published in Nature Scientific Reports, "Hybrid optical-electronic convolutional neural networks with optimized diffractive optics for image classification", in August.

Excerpted from The Stanford News, "Stanford engineers create new AI camera for faster, more efficient image classification", August 17, 2018

 

Yilong Geng (EE PhD candidate) presenting at NSDI '18
July 2018

Interdisciplinary research between professor Balaji Prabhakar, his team, and Google has produced a software clock synchronization system that can track time down to 100 billionths of a second.

The paper, presented at NSDI '18, describes a nanosecond-level clock synchronization that can be an enabler of a new spectrum of timing- and delay-critical applications in data centers.

The current, popular clock synchronization algorithm, NTP, can only achieve millisecond-level accuracy. Current solutions for achieving a synchronization accuracy of 10s-100s of nanoseconds require specially designed hardware throughout the network for combatting random network delays and component noise or to exploit clock synchronization inherent in Ethernet standards for the PHY.

The research team presents HUYGENS, named for the Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens, who invented the pendulum clock in 1656. HUYGENS is a software clock synchronization system that uses a synchronization network and leverages three key ideas. First, coded probes identify and reject impure probe data—data captured by probes which suffer queuing delays, random jitter, and NIC timestamp noise. HUYGENS then processes the purified data with Support Vector Machines, a widely-used and powerful classifier, to accurately estimate one-way propagation times and achieve clock synchronization to within 100 nanoseconds. Finally, HUYGENS exploits a natural network effect—the idea that a group of pair-wise synchronized clocks must be transitively synchronized— to detect and correct synchronization errors even further.

The importance of technical advances in measuring time was underscored by European regulations that went into effect in January and that require financial institutions to synchronize time-stamped trades with microsecond accuracy.

Being able to trade at the nanosecond level is vital to Nasdaq. Two years ago, it debuted the Nasdaq Financial Framework, a software system that it has envisioned eventually trading everything from stocks and bonds to fish and car-sharing rides.

The new synchronization system will make it possible for Nasdaq to offer "pop-up" electronic markets on short notice anywhere in the world, Mr. Prabhakar said. He cited the World Cup as a hypothetical example of a short-term electronic marketplace.

"There are tickets needed, housing, people will need transportation," he said. "Think of an electronic market almost like a massive flea market hosted by Nasdaq software."

The HUYGENS team is Yilong Geng (EE PhD candidate), Shiyu Liu (EE PhD candidate), and Zi Yin (EE PhD candidate), Ashish Naik (Google Inc.) EE professors Balaji Prabhakar and Mendel Rosenblum, and Amin Vahdat (Google Inc.)

 

Related Links (excerpted from)

July 2018

Congratulations to professors Jon Fan and Juan Rivas-Davila! Two of their researchers won the 2018 NASA iTech Forum. The event is a collaborative effort between NASA and the U.S. Department (DOE) of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to find and foster innovative solutions for critical energy challenges on Earth and in space.

The winning project was presented by Grayson Zulauf and Thaibao (Peter) Phan. Both are PhD candidates. Their collaborative project is developing technology for wireless charging of electric vehicles on Earth, and eventually, Mars. The researchers received invaluable feedback from NASA and DOE's ARPA-E leaders, as well as experts in the field of advanced energy technology.

"NASA is proud to provide a platform for innovators that exposes them to a cadre of industry experts who will be instrumental in the development of their technologies," said Kira Blackwell, NASA iTech program executive for STMD. "NASA's chief technologists and the U.S. Department of Energy's leading subject matter experts provided the teams with a better understanding of requirements for potential infusion of their technologies within a space environment."

Judges selected the top three innovations based on criteria including technical viability, the likely impact on future space exploration, benefits to humanity and commercialization potential. The teams representing the top three entries selected at the end of the forum received a trophy during the recognition ceremony on June 14.

"Our mission at ARPA-E is to change what's possible. We've been delighted to collaborate with NASA for the iTech challenge, to highlight and empower the people driving energy innovation across our country," said Conner Prochaska, senior advisor and chief of staff for ARPA-E. "We look forward to future collaborative opportunities with NASA so, together, we can continue to cultivate the next generation of energy technologies for Americans on the ground and in space."

"It was an honor for Citi to host 'Energy-Tech' thought leaders -- policy makers, academics, scientists, investors and innovators -- for NASA iTech challenge," said Jay Collins, vice chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking at Citi. "We were proud to work with NASA on such an important effort to move energy technology out of the lab and into scalnble solutions for the Moon, Mars and the planet Earth. Congratulations to the winners, whose technological leadership and entrepreneurialism made us all proud."

The top three winners of NASA iTech's 2018 Energy Cycle are listed in alphabetical order:

  • iFeather, Boulder, Colorado. In-situ Fabrication of Extraterrestrial Aerogels for Transparency, Heat, and Energy Regulation (iFEATHER) for Habitat, Aeronautic and Space Vessel, and Space Suit Applications. Focus area: Innovative Power Management and Distribution
  • Stanford University - Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford, California. Two C: Transportation Electrification through Ubiquitous Wireless Charging. Focus area: Innovative Power Management and Distribution
  • WBGlobalSemi, Inc., Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Commercializing High Power Silicon Carbide (SiC) Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs) and Power Modules for Power Management and Distributed Power Applications. Focus area: Innovative Power Management and Distribution

 

Grayson Zulauf (third from left) is an EE PhD candidate. He is a researcher in the SUPERLab, directed by Professor Juan Rivas-Davila. the Fan Lab is directed by professor Jonathan Fan.

 

 

Congratulations Jon, Juan, Grayson and Peter!

June 2018

Samsung Professor in the School of Engineering and Chair of Electrical Engineering, Stephen Boyd opened the department's 123rd commencement on Sunday, June 17.

Welcoming families and friends, Stephen acknowledged their support and sacrifice and wished everyone a very happy Father's Day. A catered picnic lunch was available and refreshments were available after the awarding of diplomas.


The 2018 Design Award Recipients 

Professor Bob Dutton awarded six undergraduate students with the Student Design Project Awards. The capstone projects coalesce curriculum and allow students to innovate in novel ways.

  • Penelope Anema
  • Noa Glaser
  • Sarah Pao Radzihovsky
  • Kirill Safin
  • Anjali Majumdar
  • Samuel Stewart Johnson

2018 Centennial Teaching Assistant Award Recipients

Teaching Assistants and Course Assistants who excel in teaching are recognized by students and faculty. The centennial Award recognizes tremendous service and dedication in providing excellent classroom instruction. 

  • Sanghyeon Park
  • Rahul Trivedi 

2018 James F. Gibbons Award for Outstanding Student Teaching
The James F. Gibbons Award for Outstanding Student Teaching Award highlights students who have been nominated by faculty and peers for their extraordinary service as teaching assistants. We are deeply appreciative of the commitment to learning and sharing that our students display.

  • Alex Bertrand
  • Job Nalianya
  • Pin Pin Tea-mangkornpan

2018 Ford Scholar Award
Students that are eligible for this award must have both a high GPA within the School of Engineering and also actively pursuing an advanced degree. Four undergraudate students are recognized this year, two of them are EE students.

  • Theo Diamandis
  • Logan Spear

Terman Award
The Terman Award is presented to the top 5% of each senior class in the School of Engineering. We are pleased that 5 of our undergraduates received this recognition for their outstanding work.

  • Theo Diamandis
  • Logan Spear
  • Richard Mu
  • Georgia Murray
  • Akshay Rajagopal


Faculty awards included the 2017-18 Tau Beta Pi (TBP) Teaching Honor Roll and the Chair's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. The TBP Honor Roll recognizes engineering instructors for excellent teaching, commitment to students, and great mentoring.

Tau Beta Pi Teaching Honor Roll

  • Joe Kahn
  • Dwight Nishimura

Chair's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education
Professor Roger Howe teaches one of our very popular undergraduate courses, "An Introduction to Making." He, his co-instructors, and the teaching staff lead a few hundred students in building a variety of interesting devices. Please join us in congratulating Roger!

  • Roger Howe


The 2018 Student Speaker was Richard Mu (B.S. '18). He fondly recalled late nights with fellow students in Packard, Gates, Allen, Huang, and Clark. He thanked staff, advisors, insructors, mentors, family and friends who nurture and make countless sacrifices of support. 

"The single name on a diploma belies the community that must come together for each one of us to graduate. On behalf of the class of 2018, thank you to everyone that has supported us on our journey through Stanford and for supporting us on the adventures to come. And until machine learning tells us otherwise, wear sunscreen. Thank you."  –Richard Mu (EE B.S. '18)


Congratulations to each and every one of the 2018 Electrical Engineering graduates!

June 2018

The 2018 University Rover Challenge (URC) took place in at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah, May 31 - June 2. Thirty-six teams from 10 countries participated in the annual event. Both graduate and undergraduate students make up the teams.

This is the first year that the Stanford Robotics Club has participated in the competition. The Stanford MARS Rover Team placed 34th, and is already making plans for the 2019 competition.

The URC required completion of the same tasks as in previous years: Sample Cache Task, Extreme Retrieval and Delivery Task, Equipment Servicing Task, and the Autonomous Traversal Task. Teams and their rovers were additionally challenged with harder versions of several tasks. The most exciting task of 2018 proved to be the Equipment Servicing Task, which featured a custom lander designed and built by a URC sponsor. Rovers were required to load a canister into the lander, and conduct a series of complex procedures required to "launch" this lander from Mars back to Earth.

The 2018 Stanford Robotics Mars Rover Team members are:

  • Shi Tuck - Sophomore in EE - Electrical systems
  • Christina (Tina) Li - Sophomore in CS - Drive Mechanical
  • Claire Huang - Sophomore in CS - Arm Mechanical
  • Michal Adamkiewicz - Sophomore in EE - Team Lead
  • Neil Movva - Junior in EE - Electrical systems
  • Freddy Dopfel - Graduate Student in MS&E
  • Julia Thompson - Freshmen in Chemistry and Mathematics - Science Analysis
  • Chandler Watson - Freshmen in CS - Team Lead
  • Thariq Ridha - Freshmen in CS - Drive Mechanical
  • Nick Lai - Sophomore in CS - Science Analysis
  • Marion Lepert - Senior in ME - Arm Mechanical
  • Rachel Gardner - Sophomore in CS - Software
  • Peter Maldonado - Freshmen in CS - Software
  • Victoria Tsai - Sophomore in CS - Software
  • Thomas White - Sophomore in AA - Drive Mechanical
  • Chaitanya Asawa - Senior in CS - Software

Congratulations to all the Mars Rover teams! 

Additional information

Stanford Robotics Club: roboticsclub.stanford.edu
University Rover Challenge (URC): urc.marssociety.org 

 

(Excerpted from http://urc.marssociety.org/home/urc-news/universityroverchallengetitlereturnstopoland)

June 2018

Congratulations to PhD candidate Kawin "North" Surakitbovorn! He received the Student Paper Award at the 2018 International Power Electronics Conference - ECCE Asia, IPEC-Niigata, 2018.

North presented his paper at the conference held in Niigata, Japan on May 23, 2018. Also attending were his advisor, Juan Rivas-Davila and fellow researchers from the SUPER Lab.

 

Please join us in congratulating North on his accomplishment!

Anthropology and EE major Jack Andraka
May 2018

Jack Andraka, a junior in anthropology and electrical engineering has been awarded the 2018 Truman Scholarship for Graduate Studies. He plans to put his training in engineering, anthropology and data science to work as a public health physician devoted to addressing global health inequities affecting citizens in low- and middle-income countries.

Jack is one of 59 exceptional college students chosen from across the nation for the scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 for graduate study – in the United States or abroad – to students who want to attend graduate school in preparation for a career in public service.

Andraka's honors thesis in anthropology focuses on Sierra Leone: Disease Dollars: An Ethnographic Study of Foreign Aid and Ebola in Sierra Leone. Andraka hopes to study how environmental contaminants violate the health and human rights of disadvantaged populations in the impoverished West African country.

He is also writing an honors thesis in electrical engineering, A Novel Paper Biosensor for the Detection of Infectious Diseases and Environmental Contaminants, which describes the sensors he developed that detect 20 different diseases or contaminants in five minutes at a cost of less than one cent.

As a Truman Scholar, Andraka intends to enter an MD/MPH (Doctor of Medicine/Master of Public Health) program specializing in global health.

"The MD degree would enable me to frame my engineering background within medicine and provide me with an appreciation for the clinical realities of working in global health," Andraka wrote in his Truman Scholarship application. "In doing so, I will be able to work with communities in clinical settings to better understand locally relevant issues and design programs to address them. The Master of Public Health degree, alongside my anthropology training, will provide me with a deep understanding of broader socioeconomic, environmental and political determinants of health."

Eventually, Andraka hopes to become a public health physician devoted to addressing the global health inequities in low- and middle-income countries, where life expectancy is 36 years lower than in high-income countries.

Please join us in congratulating Jack on his excellent achievement!

 

 

Excerpted from Stanford News, "Stanford junior wins 2018 Truman Scholarship for graduate studies," April 13, 2018.

EE PhD Sarah Hooper
May 2018

Congratulations to EE PhD candidate Sarah Hooper! She has been selected as a 2018 Hertz Foundation Fellow. Sarah is a member of Sanjiv Sam Gambhir's  research lab, which develops novel materials and biosensor devices for the early detection and personalized treatment of diseases.

Sarah is driven to improve health outcomes through technological innovation. She helped create multiple new medical devices during her undergraduate career at Rice University, where she earned her B.S. in electrical engineering and a minor in global health technologies.

Through developing and implementing different medical devices, she saw the incredible power of technology to transform patient care. In particular, she saw the potential for accessible medical devices to drastically improve health outcomes in resource-limited settings during an internship in Malawi, where she worked to create low-cost devices to combat neonatal hypothermia.

In addition to her work in global health, Sarah became interested in how machine learning could be applied to benefit healthcare through her research using data science to create a seizure prediction system for patients with epilepsy. She is excited by the many opportunities she sees to use machine learning and signal processing to improve domestic and global health outcomes.

Please join us in congratulating Sarah and the other 2018 Hertz Fellows!

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering America's most brilliant minds in science, mathematics and engineering, announced the 2018 recipients of the prestigious Hertz Fellowship. The 10 newest Hertz Fellows were chosen from nearly 700 applicants interested in pursuing graduate work in the United States. The 2018 class includes six women, the highest proportion of women of any class in the Foundation's history, with Fellows' research focusing on chemistry, electrical engineering, computer science, mathematics and physics.

"The 2018 fellowship awardees are an outstanding group of students, with diverse talents and an extraordinary drive to reach new heights in scientific research and technological innovation,"said Robbee Baker Kosak, president, Fannie and John Hertz Foundation."We are delighted to welcome these six women and four men to the Hertz Community. They join the hundreds of Hertz Fellows who are leading important breakthroughs and developing some of the most important scientific and engineering solutions to challenges in our world today. We look forward to seeing what these 10 women and men contribute to that goal in the coming years."

The Hertz Foundation is the only organization in the United States that supports PhD candidates for a full five years at one of the Foundation's numerous partner institutions and grants students total research freedom, ensuring that each Fellow is able to pursue the most compelling, cutting-edge research. Members of Hertz's 2018 class hail from eight different states and nine different undergraduate schools. Several of this year's Fellows have already published papers in disciplines from biological chemistry to quantum computing.

"Hertz Fellows do extraordinary work and are truly changing the world, so our new Fellows are in fine company," said Dr. David Galas, Hertz Fellow, chairman of The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation's board of directors and Principal Scientist at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute. "The fellowship interviewers were amazed by the brilliance and creativity of these young people. I am confident their careers will have great impact on American and global science and technology."

At Stanford University in the electrical engineering Ph.D. program, Sarah will continue to pursue research aimed at improving patient care. She will focus on developing new medical imaging devices and associated data-driven computational tools to better diagnose and treat patients. After earning her Ph.D., Sarah plans on devoting her career to innovating technical solutions to reduce the global burden of noncommunicable disease.


Excerpted from

the Hertz Foundation: "The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Announces 2018 Fellows", March 26, 2018

and Hertz Foundation Fellow profile, Sarah Hooper.

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