February 2017

Tom Kailath has been selected as an Eminent Member of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN). The designation of Eminent Member is the organization's highest membership category and is conferred upon those select few whose outstanding technical attainments and contributions through leadership in the fields of electrical and computer engineering have significantly benefited society.

Eta Kappa Nu established the Eminent Member recognition in 1950 as the society's highest membership classification. It is to be conferred upon those select few whose attainments and contributions to society through leadership in the fields of electrical and computer engineering have resulted in significant benefits to humankind. Since 1950, only 134 individuals have been selected to receive this honor.

Designation of Eminent Member is the organization's highest membership category and is conferred upon those select few whose outstanding technical attainments and contributions through leadership in the field of electrical and computer engineering have significantly benefited society.

IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), the honor society of IEEE, is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing individual excellence in education and meritorious work, in professional practice, and in any of the areas within the IEEE-designated fields of interest.


Please join us in congratulating Tom for this very well deserved honor.


Related News:

The President Awards the National Medal of Science to EE Professor Kailath, November 2014. Read article

February 2017

Andrea Goldsmith has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering with the citation, "For contributions to adaptive and multiantenna wireless communications."

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

A professor of Electrical Engineering, Goldsmith is the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering. Dr. Goldsmith's research is focused on the design, analysis, and fundamental performance limits of wireless systems and networks, as well as the application of communications and signal processing to biology and neuroscience.

Professor Goldsmith is chair of the national Rising Stars Faculty Job Preparation Workshop for Women Ph.D./Postdocs in EE and CS; part of the University Budget Group, Committee on Research, Task Force on Women and Leadership, and the Planning and Policy Board.

Please join us in congratulating Andrea Goldsmith for this well-deserved recognition of her profound contributions and leadership.


Read NAE Press Release, February 8, 2017

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub includes four Stanford EE faculty
February 2017

Four EE faculty have been awarded an opportunity to join the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a project of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The CZ Biohub vision is to find and support the best and brightest scientists, engineers and technologists. [To] foster an environment that emphasizes intellectual freedom and true collaboration. [To] provide the best scientific tools available – and when they don't exist, [to] invent them. (source: https://czbiohub.org/vision/)

"The research by these extraordinary scientists receiving CZ Biohub awards exemplifies the exciting opportunities that lie in collaborative research at the intersection of biology and engineering," states Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Stanford's President. "We look forward to the new discoveries benefiting human health that will be made possible by their collaborations."

The EE faculty currently involved are Adam de la Zerda, Ada PoonH. Tom Soh, and James Zou.


Chan Zuckerberg Biohub is a project of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. CZI is committed to harnessing the power of science, technology and human capacity to cure, prevent or manage all disease in our children's lifetime.

Working collaboratively is at the heart of everything Biohub is doing. It starts with bringing together—for the first time ever—three of the world's leaders in biomedical and engineering innovation: University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco and Stanford.

[The] three university partners provide the very backbone of Biohub's work. Investigators come from these outstanding research institutions, and their faculty will be an integral part of day-to-day operations at Biohub.


Visit CZBiohub.org

January 2017

SPF is a place to use and share expertise; nurture innovation and learning; build efficient, specialized electronics; and reduce researchers' burden of developing electronics without expertise.

Located in the Allen Building, the newly renovated space sports glass-topped walls, surrounded by sleek workstations. Inside the SPF, workbenches and collaborative areas provide organized space for system design, building, and testing.

"The SPF's mission is to support electronic sub-system design for cutting-edge research across our campus," states Professor Boris Murmann, lead SPF faculty. "We are currently working on projects with Principal Investigators in the departments of Physics, Applied Physics, Electrical Engineering, Psychology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Bioengineering, looking to enable new possibilities in a wide range of disciplines."

Professor Murmann is also pleased that SPF – together with ExFab (Experimental Fabrication lab) – provides a complete spectrum of device development from creation to software interfacing. Similar to ExFab, SPF usage will help inform the design of future system prototyping facilities on campus.

The SPF welcomes researchers from any department on campus, accommodating project needs with a tiered service and support structure. The tiered structure is based on how much expertise is needed – from independently using the tools to requesting a turnkey solution. Stanford researchers are able to design and build a system themselves, or collaborate with SPF's electrical engineers.


SPF is made possible by funding from SLAC and School of Engineering.

Interested in SPF? Please email lab director, Angelo Dragone: dragone@slac.stanford.edu

Pictured above: SPF faculty director, Professor Boris Murmann speaks with Professor Marty Breidenbach, Dr. Angelo Dragone,  Professor Chi-Chang Kao and Sawson Taheri.

January 2017

This month's Electrical Engineering staff recognized for their outstanding effort include Marsha Dillon, Sue George, Kenny Green, and Teresa Nguyen. Each were nominated by peers, faculty and/or students for professionalism that went above and beyond their everyday roles. Gift card recipients continue to make profound and positive impact in EE's everyday work and academic environment.


Please join us in congratulating Marsha, Sue, Kenny, and Teresa. Excerpts from their nominations follow.


Marsha Dillon, Executive Assistant to the Chair

  • "Marsha was able to identify exactly what was needed by untangling a vague request, and identifying the actual goal."
  • "She never hands back a request; instead, she is always willing to help. She's a strong asset to EE."

Sue George, Administrative Associate, Computer Science

  • "Sue always makes time to answer questions; she is quick to followup, and willing to spend time finding an answer she doesn't know."
  • "It is always a pleasure to work with her."

Kenny Green, Facilities and Health & Safety Manager

  • "Kenny is always very helpful."
  • "He has been a great resource — especially with our new labs, greater number of students, and managing improvements and requests."

Teresa Nguyen, Student Financial Officer

  • "Teresa has a terrific understanding of Stanford's financial system. She also remembered my name!"
  • "She is extremely capable; I never worry about leaving things in her hands."


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.

January 2017

Jonathan Fan was awarded the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Announced by President Obama in early January, Fan and 101 other scientists and researchers were honored with the PECAS. "I congratulate these outstanding scientists and engineers on their impactful work," Obama said. "These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy."

Jonathan is an assistant professor and director of the ExFab at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility. 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.

Two other Stanford faculty also received the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE): Jacob Fox, professor of mathematics, and Marco Pavone, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics.


Related news:


January 2017

 "It's all in the name," state Professors Jonathan Fan and Roger Howe.

"Experimental fabrication. We want to change the way that people go from thinking about a device to making it in the lab. With ExFab, we will make that process faster and cheaper, with fewer restrictions on materials. It will allow the rapid prototyping of microscale and nanoscale devices in a time scale not typically associated with microelectronic fabrication, and it will bring together researchers from in engineering, medicine, and the basic sciences.

"With our investment in the tools and space, we can explore how it's used, and let that guide us in how to develop the space into the future."

ExFab emerged from a two-year process of faculty brainstorming about how best to address the need for new tools and processes for research in materials, electronics, and photonics. In addition, faculty also wanted to study how the new tools and space are used. The goal was to create an accessible space for faster, cheaper fabrication of a wider range of materials and processes.

Strategically located in the Allen Building near the engineering quad and the David Packard building, and across from the Medical School, ExFab is open to all: Stanford students and postdocs from all departments and schools, as well as researchers from other universities and industry.

Repurposing existing space, ExFab boasts several new tools, including those that can translate computer-generated images into physical microscale and nanoscale patterns within minutes. Many of these tools are housed in a reconfigured cleanroom. Complementing the System Prototyping Facility (SPF) – just a few steps away – students can easily utilize both areas to integrate fabricated devices into electronic systems.

In Spring, ExFab will be fully outfitted with equipment enabling researchers to define structures from the nanoscale (two-photon 3D printing) to the milli-scale (3D wax printing) and in between (direct-write lithography, aerosol jet printing) as well as to machine and meld disparate materials (laser cutting, CNC micromilling, grinding, bonding.) This toolset supports heterogeneous materials processing for emerging applications such as stretchable electronics, micro-batteries, photovoltaics, and microfluidics. With lower materials restrictions than a typical microelectronics fab, we anticipate the processing of a broad range of materials into devices and systems, including traditional semiconductors, soft materials, polymers, and bio-materials.

Nine months ago, excited for the potential of this proposed lab, over 30 faculty pledged they would use ExFab for their research, thus seeding this program. Now ExFab is a reality, and available to all. If you are an interested researcher or faculty, please email snf-access@stanford.edu or check out the website, snf.stanford.edu to learn more.


Pictured below (left to right) Jon Fan, Mary Tang, and Roger Howe in a nearly completed ExFab space.

Amin Arbabian
January 2017

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced projects selected as part of the Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS) program funding opportunity. ROOTS is a new program of the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Amin Arbabian's project, "Thermoacoustic Root Imaging, Biomass Analysis, and Characterization," has been awarded $2 million by the ROOTS program. The team also includes, (Pierre Khuri-Yakub EE, José Dinneny and David Ehrhardt, Carnegie Institution for Science) and will develop a non-contact, high throughput, thermoacoustic root imaging system where ultrasonic signals from roots are generated by radio signals and then recorded by a novel sensor array. The Stanford team will demonstrate use of the system across a variety of soil and root types in the field to map the root architecture of plants. If successful, the project will be the first low-cost, large-scale, field-based plant phenotyping solution for eventual use with a fully autonomous measurement system.

The Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS) program seeks to develop advanced technologies and crop cultivars that enable a 50 percent increase in soil carbon accumulation while reducing N2O emissions by 50 percent and increasing water productivity by 25 percent. Since 2009, ARPA-E has funded over 400 potentially transformational energy technology projects.

ROOTS projects will tackle the growing problem of soil "carbon debt" by developing sensing technologies to help farmers choose crop varieties that better capture carbon molecules from the atmosphere and store them in their root systems.


Arpa-E Roots Program: https://arpa-e.energy.gov/?q=arpa-e-programs/roots

ROOTS program project descriptions (PDF) 

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


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