ECE Department Calendar

Graduate Seminar – “Environmental Radiation: Natural and Man-Made” @ Warnock (WEB 1250)
Nov 11 @ 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Graduate Seminar - "Environmental Radiation:  Natural and Man-Made" @ Warnock (WEB 1250)

Dr. Robert Huber

University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept.

When: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1250


The only technology that can now provide base load electrical power without emitting carbon dioxide is nuclear. Yet any mention of new nuclear power facilities triggers a huge public fear of radiation. This happens in spite of the fact that the earth is now and always has been quite radioactive. This seminar will discuss the amount and nature of the natural radiation we all live with and how radiation protection standards are set, especially for low doses of radiation that are comparable to the natural background.

Brief Speaker Biography

Ph.D. Physics 1961, University of Utah

Argonne National Laboratory working in Nuclear Reactor Physics, 6 years

Semiconductor Device Physics and MOS IC Fabrication at General Instrument Corp.

Univ. of Utah Electrical Engineering Faculty 1972–1998

Consultant in fields of MOS IC Fabrication and MEMS (micro-electrical mechanical systems)

Graduate Seminar – “Genetic Design Automation” @ Warnock (WEB 1250)
Nov 18 @ 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Graduate Seminar - "Genetic Design Automation" @ Warnock (WEB 1250)

Dr. Chris J. Myers

University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept.

When: Monday, November 18, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1250


Researchers are beginning to be able to engineer synthetic genetic circuits for a range of applications in the environmental, medical, and energy domains. Crucial to the success of these efforts is the development of methods and tools for genetic design automation (GDA). While inspiration can be drawn from experiences with electronic design automation (EDA), design with a genetic material poses several challenges. In particular, genetic circuits are composed of very noisy components making their behavior more asynchronous, analog, and stochastic in nature. This talk presents our research in the development of the GDA tool, iBioSim, which leverages our past experiences in asynchronous circuit synthesis and formal verification to address these challenges. The iBioSim tool enables the synthetic biologist to construct models in a familiar graphical form, analyze them using a variety of methods that leverage efficient abstractions, and visualize their analysis results using an intuitive interface. Finally, this talk will describe the use of our tool for the design of a quorum trigger circuit that can be used in a tumor killing bacteria application.

Speaker Biography

Chris J. Myers received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Chinese history in 1991 from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, and the M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, in 1993 and 1995, respectively. He is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. Dr. Myers is the author of over 100 technical papers and the textbooks Asynchronous Circuit Design and Engineering Genetic Circuits. He is also a co-inventor on 4 patents. His research interests include asynch-ronous circuit design, formal verification of analog/mixed signal circuits and cyber-physical systems, and modeling, analysis, and design of genetic circuits. Dr. Myers received an NSF Fellowship in 1991, an NSF CAREER award in 1996, and best paper awards at the 1999 and 2007 Symposiums on Asynchronous Circuits and Systems. Dr. Myers is a Fellow of the IEEE, and he is a Member of the Editorial Boards for the IEEE Transactions on VLSI Systems, IEEE Design & Test Magazine, and Springer journal on Formal Methods in System Design. Dr. Myers also serves as an editor for the Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) standard and on the advisory board for the Synthetic Biology Open Language (SBOL) standard.

Graduate Seminar – “Novel Detector Architectures for Multispectral Imaging” @ Warnock (WEB 1250)
Nov 25 @ 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Graduate Seminar - "Novel Detector Architectures for Multispectral Imaging" @ Warnock (WEB 1250)

Dr. Enrico Bellotti

Boston University Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept.

When: Monday, November 25, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1250


In a drive to increase sensor resolution, decrease per‐unit costs, and enable more efficient systems, recent research has focused on the development of detectors with pixel pitch below 10 μm. However, there are significant challenges associated with the design of wavelength‐sized detectors. Both inter‐pixel optical effects and intra‐pixel crosstalk can become non‐negligible but are nonetheless difficult to quantify. Due to the time and cost required to fabricate such devices, numerical simulation models must be employed to accurately predict device characteristics and evaluate designs. In this talk we will present our numerical method, sequential electromagnetic/Monte‐Carlo/drift‐diffusion analyses performed using the finite‐difference time‐domain/particle based/finite‐element methods, respectively. We then apply our model to study several relevant detector architectures. We will discuss our recent work on single, two color and APD detectors as well as photon trapping structures. Furthermore, we show how the model can be used to predict the effects of detector geometry, dopant/molar profiles, etc. on measurable quantities such as spectral response, current‐voltage characteristics, the modulation transfer function, and other figures of merit.

This work has been supported by: BAE Systems, DARPA MTO, ARL MSME CRA.

With contributions from Dr. D. D’Orsogna, Dr. C.A. Keasler, Dr. M. Moresco, Mr. J. Schuster, Mr. B. Pinkie

Distribution Statement “A” (Approved for Public Release, Distribution Unlimited). The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

Speaker Biography

Professional Preparation

  • Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Ingegneria Elettronica Laurea, 1989
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Electrical Engineering PhD, 1999

Awards and Honors

  • 2003 ONR Young Investigator Award
  • 2005 NSF CAREER Award

Research Interests

  • Computational electronics
  • Semiconductor materials and device simulations
  • Power electronics
  • Parallel computing

Graduate Seminar – “Fast, Compact and Label-Free Electrical Detection of Live and Dead Single Cells” @ Warnock (WEB 1230)
Jan 6 @ 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Graduate Seminar - "Fast, Compact and Label-Free Electrical Detection of Live and Dead Single Cells" @ Warnock (WEB 1230)

Dr. James C. M. Hwang

Lehigh University

When: Monday, January 6, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1230


Using a novel broadband microchamber, electrical detection of live and dead single cells was demonstrated. Tests on Jurkat cells showed that live cells had lower resistance but higher capacitance than that of dead cells. The test results were compared with the limited literature on broadband electrical detection of single cells and the discrepancies, both qualitative and quantitative, were discussed. These results indicate that, while broadband electrical detection at the single-cell level is becoming feasible, many challenges remain in impedance match, calibration, sensitivity, cell manipulation, solution effect and modeling.

Speaker Biography

Dr. James Hwang is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of Compound- Semiconductor Technology Laboratory at Lehigh University. He graduated with a B.S. degree in Physics from National Taiwan University in 1970, and completed M.S. (1973) and Ph.D. (1976) studies in Materials Science at Cornell University. After twelve years of industrial experience at IBM, AT&T, GE, and GAIN, he joined Lehigh in 1988. He cofounded GAIN and QED; the latter became a public company (IQE). He has been a Nanyang Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, as well as an advisory professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, East China Normal University, and University of Science and Technology in China. Most recently, he was a Program Officer for GHz-THz Electronics at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He has published ~300 refereed technical papers and has been granted five U. S. patents.

Graduate Seminar – “Efficient Power Amplifiers for Reconfigurable Wireless Communication” @ Warnock (WEB) 1230
Jan 13 @ 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Graduate Seminar - "Efficient Power Amplifiers for Reconfigurable Wireless Communication" @ Warnock (WEB) 1230

Dr. Jeffrey Walling

University of Utah ECE Dept.

When: Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1230


CMOS is used nearly ubiquitously for digital computation, and as such plays an ever increasing role in our lives as we increasingly use computation to improve working efficiency. Increasing levels of integration have made it possible to embed analog and RF circuits with digital processing on a single integrated circuit. The RF power amplifier (PA) has been the exception to integration in CMOS, owing to its relatively poor performance (e.g., peak output power and energy efficiency) when compared to other semiconductor technologies (e.g., III-V compounds and SiGe).

In this talk I will digital PAs (DPAs), which leverages CMOS inherent strengths of fast switching speeds and superior lithographic matching to yield a linear, efficient digital power amplifier. I will also examine current research in the University of Utah Power Efficient RFIC lab addressing limitations in DPAs, and High power PAs using GaN devices. The aim of such PAs is to enable reconfigurable operation for software-defined and cognitive radios.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Walling received the B.S. degree from the University of South Florida, Tampa, in 2000, and the M.S. and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Prior to starting his graduate education he was employed at Motorola, Plantation, FL working in cellular handset development. He interned for Intel, Hillsboro from 2006-2007, where he worked on highly-digital transmitter architectures and CMOS power amplifiers and continued this research while a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the University of Washington. He is currently an assistant professor in the ECE department at University of Utah.

His current research interests include low-power wireless circuits, energy scavenging, high-efficiency transmitter architectures and CMOS power amplifier design for software defined radio. Dr. Walling has authored over 30 articles in peer reviewed journals and refereed conferences. Recently he received the Best Paper Award at Mobicom 2012. He has also received the Yang Award for outstanding graduate research from the University of Washington, Department of Electrical Engineering in 2008, an Intel Predoctoral Fellowship in 2007-2008, and the Analog Devices Outstanding Student Designer Award in 2006.

Graduate Seminar – “Challenges in Development of Mobile X-ray Systems for Improving Minimally Invasive Surgery” @ Warnock (WEB) 1230
Jan 27 @ 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Graduate Seminar - "Challenges in Development of Mobile X-ray Systems for Improving Minimally Invasive Surgery" @ Warnock (WEB) 1230

Larry Anderton – Chief Engineer, and Jon Lea – Advanced Technology and Research Manager

GE Healthcare

When: Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1230


Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is a surgical paradigm to improve patient care through smaller incisions. The result is lowered costs and improved quality due to shortened hospital stays, reduced infection rates, and treatment for conditions that were previously not possible. A key technology in MIS is the mobile x-ray fluoroscope (aka “C”-arm). By providing live high resolution x-ray images of the patient during surgery, a surgeon can track the tip of a guide wire in a vessel or watch the trajectory of a screw being placed in the hip joint.

The development of mobile fluoroscopy presents several interesting design challenges. Power is not always available at the requisite level (up to 15 kW) from a standard wall socket. X-ray tubes are notoriously inefficient, shedding more than 99% of the input energy as waste heat. Further, a very small fraction of the incident x-rays reach the image detector, generally less than 1 percent and depends on patient thickness. Resultant images are inherently noisy due to low photon counts that reach the image detector. We will cover current solutions to these problems and introduce concepts where developing technologies can further improve the imaging performance of x-ray fluoroscopy and provide better safety to patient and surgical staff.

About the Presenters

Larry Anderton is the Chief Engineer for the Surgical Division of GE Healthcare. His career began at Unisys as a test technician, progressed to Edo Western Corporation where he held several positions from field service through engineering. His product design experience included sonar depth sounding, side-scan sonar, and high resolution video camera design for underwater and aerospace applications. In 1978, Larry joined the Varian Ultrasound division of Varian Associates, where he became involved in analog circuit design for phased array ultrasound products, C-arm fluoroscope video systems design, and later, x-ray generator design. In 1995, he accepted the position of Chief Engineer. Larry currently holds 13 patents relating to x-ray fluoroscopy. Larry has enjoyed a lifelong hobby in electronics and amateur radio.

Jon Lea is the Advanced Technology and Research Manager for the Surgical Division of GE Healthcare. Jon received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Michigan University and Northwestern University respectively, with a focus on robotics for surgery. Jon was co-founder of Surgical Insights, a developer of surgical navigation applications for orthopedics, which was acquired by GE in 2001. He held several technical positions within GE’s surgical navigation business in the Boston area before relocating to Utah. He enjoys downhill skiing , mountain biking, and playing guitar and piano.

Graduate Seminar – “Planning and Design Approaches of Microgrids for Power Supply Resiliency to Natural Disasters” @ Warnock (WEB) 1230
Feb 3 @ 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Graduate Seminar - "Planning and Design Approaches of Microgrids for Power Supply Resiliency to Natural Disasters" @ Warnock (WEB) 1230

Dr. Alexis Kwasinski

University of Texas-Austin

When: Monday, February 3, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1230


This presentation analyzes system-level planning and component-level design approaches to achieve high power supply availability during and after natural disasters. It starts by explaining the motivation of this analysis with a description of photographic evidence and information collected during field damage assessments after recent notable natural disasters. This evidence seems to indicate that conventional power grids are very fragile systems due to their primarily centralized power distribution and control architectures and explains why conventional mitigation strategies and many smart grid technologies yield limited resiliency improvement. The second part of this presentation introduces microgrids as an alternative technology that does not have these limitations. A system-level analysis indicates that resilient microgrids need to include diverse power sources and/or local energy storage. Then, the presentation moves on to explore suitable power electronic interfaces to integrate diverse power sources, and advanced power distribution architectures to improve resiliency to natural disasters. The effects that these power distribution architectures have on stability and control are also discussed. The presentation concludes with a description of uses of resilient microgrids in key applications, such as wireless communication networks, and an exploration of future research paths.

Speaker Biography

Alexis Kwasinski earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2005 and 2007, respectively. Previously, he spent almost 10 years working for Telefónica of Argentina and for Lucent Technologies Power Systems. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and his research interests include power electronic systems, distributed generation (microgrids), renewable and alternative energy, smart grids, and analysis of the impact of natural disasters on critical power infrastructure. He participated in damage assessments after natural disasters, including hurricane Katrina and the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In 2005, Dr. Kwasinski was awarded the Joseph J. Suozzi INTELEC Fellowship and in 2007 he received the best technical paper award at INTELEC. In 2009 he received an NSF CAREER award and in 2011 he received an IBM Faculty Innovation Award. Dr. Kwasinski is also an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion and IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics.

Graduate Seminar – “Learning and Leveraging Data-Driven Models for Sensing in Complex, Physical Environments” @ Warnock (WEB) 1230
Feb 10 @ 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Graduate Seminar - "Learning and Leveraging Data-Driven Models for Sensing in Complex, Physical Environments" @ Warnock (WEB) 1230

Mr. Joel B. Harley, PhD Candidate

Carnegie Mellon University

When: Monday, February 10, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1230


In engineering and the sciences, there is considerable interest in technology to sense and monitor large-scale, physical environments. These systems have diverse applications in many fields, including civil and aerospace engineering, medicine, oceanography, and seismology. For civil and aerospace applications, these technologies can be used to noninvasively monitor the structural integrity of bridges, pipes, airplanes, and other modern structures. This can reduce maintenance costs and prevent catastrophic failures in our current transportation, power, and resource distribution networks.

Ultrasonic guided waves (waves that are “guided” by the geometry of the environment) have been of particular interest for monitoring critical infrastructures due to their sensitivity to damage and capability to interrogate large areas at once. To detect, locate, and evaluate damage, ultrasonic guided waves are measured and analyzed using various signal processing strategies. However, successfully detecting and locating damage is challenging because the complex propagation environments significantly distort the waves as they travel through the medium.

This talk presents a signal processing framework for overcoming these challenges by combining physical models of ultrasonic waves with novel computational methods and data-driven strategies to learn the complex characteristics of guided waves. We demonstrate how these characteristics can be learned from experimental data and how to leverage this information to improve the detection and localization of damage in critical infrastructures. We also briefly discuss how these strategies can be extended other applications.

Speaker Biography

Joel B. Harley received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University, Medford, MA, in 2008 and a M.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA in 2011. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. His interests include the integration of complex wave propagation models with novel signal processing, machine learning, and big data methods for applications in cyber-physical systems, structural health monitoring, nondestructive evaluation, and other fields.

Mr. Harley is a recipient of the 2009 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, the 2009 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, the 2009 Department of Homeland Security Graduate Fellowship (declined), and the 2008 Lamme/Westinghouse Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Fellowship. He has published more than 30 technical journal and conference papers, including four best student papers. He is a student representative for the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society, a member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, and a member of the Acoustical Society of America.

Graduate Seminar – “Using Differential Power Processing Converters in Photovoltaic Systems to Improve Lifetime Energy Production” @ Warnock (WEB) 1230
Feb 14 @ 10:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Graduate Seminar - "Using Differential Power Processing Converters in Photovoltaic Systems to Improve Lifetime Energy Production" @ Warnock (WEB) 1230

Ms. Katherine Kim, PhD Candidate

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

When: Friday, February 14, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Warnock 1230


Photovoltaic (PV) energy systems are gaining popularity in both residential and commercial markets. Traditionally, PV panels are connected in series to a central inverter that maximizes power production and delivers energy to the power grid. When PV cells are connected in series, they often experience mismatch that reduces the total output power. PV mismatch can be caused by various factors, such as non-uniform lighting, partial shading, inconsistent manufacturing, local temperature gradients, and degradation from aging and environmental stress. Dc optimizers are panel-level dc-dc converters that can be used to mitigate this mismatch by independently optimizing each panel’s power. However, dc optimizers must be rated at the full panel power and process all of the power from the PV panel. Differential power processing (DPP) is an alternative solution that achieves high system efficiency by processing a fraction of the total power, while still optimizing power output from each PV panel. DPP converters can also be rated at a lower power level than dc optimizers, which offers potential cost reduction, reliability enhancement, and higher efficiency.

This presentation details the operation of two DPP architectures: PV-to-bus and PV-to-PV. Simulations for both DPP architectures are used to evaluate system performance over 25 years of operation. The level of mismatch among PV panels at 25 years is estimated based on data from long-term field studies. Converter ratings of 15-17% for PV-to-bus and 23-33% for PV-to-PV architectures are identified as appropriate ratings for a 15-submodule PV system. Using Monte Carlo simulation, lifetime performance of the PV-to-bus and PV-to-PV architectures is compared to conventional architectures. DPP converters are shown to deliver 6% more energy compared to the conventional series string architecture at 25 years of operation. This presentation will also speak to future applications of DPP converters in mobile PV applications, such as vehicles and wearable electronics.

Speaker Biography

Katherine Kim graduated with a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in 2007. She received her M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011, and plans to complete her Ph.D. degree in 2014 under Prof. Philip Krein. Katherine’s dissertation research is in power electronics, modeling, control, and protection for photovoltaic systems. She received the National Science Foundation’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Fellowship in 2010 and Graduate Research Fellowship in 2011. She is currently the Student Membership Chair for the IEEE Power Electronics Society and is active in the student chapter at the University of Illinois.