Author: UConn Engineering Students Create Firefighting Drone

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Author: ECE Seminar Series: Crystalline Oxides for Emerging Microelectronic Devices

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ECE Seminar Spring 2019

April 16, 2pm-3pm, ITE 401

Crystalline Oxides for Emerging Microelectronic Devices

Maruf Amin Bhuiyan

Yale University


Crystalline oxides are traditionally used for niche applications like thin film transistors, and also for basic scientific studies because of the rich physics they invoke. Recently, the availability of native bulk substrate of a semiconducting crystalline oxide, and the successful synthesis of crystalline-oxide insulators by the atomic layer deposition (ALD) process have opened horizons for these pristine materials to be used in various frontiers of microelectronic technologies, ranging from power electronics to memory applications.

Of the crystalline oxides studied, β-gallium oxide (β-Ga2O3) is a promising semiconducting crystalline oxide for future generations of power electronic devices; ALD grown crystalline magnesium-calcium-oxide (Mg0.25Ca0.75O) and lanthanum oxide (La2O3) have found their applications as high-quality gate dielectrics for gallium-nitride-based (GaN) and gallium-arsenide-based (GaAs) transistors, respectively; on the other hand, polycrystalline hafnium oxides have created a revolution in the field of ferroelectric memory. 

This work focusses on electrical characterization of capacitors and transistors based on the aforementioned four types of crystalline oxides. Charge trapping during device operation is one major reliability concern. Significant efforts have been made to understand the charge trapping characteristics of crystalline-oxide-based devices. To reveal the trap characteristics, measurement techniques like constant-voltage stress, constant-current stress, and AC transconductance dispersion methods have been employed.

The potential of using crystalline-oxide-based devices in radiation rich environments, like outer space and high energy particle accelerators, have also been investigated. Radiation-induced damage can also be induced by CMOS chip processing, particularly in advanced technology nodes where extreme UV lithography is employed for patterning. Current-voltage, capacitance-voltage, and gate leakage measurements have been carried out to investigate the impact of total ionizing dose of X-ray radiation on the crystalline-oxide-based device performance. Process improvements and device architecture modifications have been made to improve the radiation hardness of these devices.

Short bio: Maruf is currently working under Professor T. P. Ma in the Electrical Engineering Department at Yale University. He obtained his B. Eng. from National University of Singapore (NUS) and M.S. & M. Phil. from Yale University. He is en-route to Ph.D. degree for May 2019, after which he will join IBM Research. His research works primarily involve fabrication and characterization of MOS devices tailored for high power and radiation harsh environment. He has several peer reviewed publications in journals like IEEE transactions, IEEE Electron Device Letters, Applied Physics Letters and presented in international conferences like IEEE Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects (NSREC) and IEEE Semiconductor Interface Specialist Conference (SISC). He has won awards including IBM PhD Fellowship and Yale Graduate Fellowship.

Author: Prof. Peter Willett selected as a member of the NRC Panel on Information Sciences

Prof. Peter Willett has been selected to serve as a member of the  National Research Council’s Panel on Information Sciences at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL).   The panel consists of research leaders from both academia and industry.  The panel is responsible for annual reviews of the scientific and technical quality of ARL’s programs of research and development related to its information science technical area. The panel will provide notes to the Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board, a committee that will prepare the biennial report summarizing its assessment of the ARL.  Prof. Willett’s appointment is until December 31, 2019.

Author: Three UConn Researchers Named Women of Innovation by CT Tech Council

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Author: Yan Li Won the 2019 WOI Award

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Author: John Chandy elected to The Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE)

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Author: Yan Li and Bing Yan 2019 Women of Innovation Finalists

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Author: Brothers Establish UConn’s First Cybersecurity Instructional Lab

Stephen Altschuler (far left) and Samuel Altschuler (far right) with their undergraduate scholarship recipients at a ceremony in 2015. (Christopher Larosa/UConn Photo)

In response to the growing need for cybersecurity experts, two University of Connecticut alumni brothers donated $1 million to launch the university’s cybersecurity instructional lab and develop a curriculum to meet the demands.

Samuel ’50 and Stephen Altschuler ’54, who earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering, will cut the ribbon on the Altschuler Cybersecurity Lab, located on the first floor of the Information Technology Engineering (ITE) Building, this summer.

“We chose to make this gift because of the support we received from UConn when we were engineering students in the early 1950s,” said the brothers in a joint statement. “Our training enabled us to advance our careers to the point where we are financially able to make a gift of this size. Connecticut has been a major focus for us our entire lives, and we are proud to be able to make a meaningful contribution to its flagship university.

“We believe that cybersecurity is among the most critical issues of this age. In order to assure that society will be able to safely continue to use the ever-accelerating advancements of technology, the study of cybersecurity is crucial to the maintenance of peaceful cultures.”

The Altschuler Cybersecurity Lab will be the cornerstone of UConn’s effort to graduate engineers with expertise in cybersecurity, said School of Engineering Dean Kazem Kazerounian, who joined Donald Swinton, director of development for the School of Engineering, in pursuing the lab’s establishment.

“We are in an age where the threat of cyberattacks has gotten more pervasive. As an institution, we need to be training the next generation of engineers to combat this threat, which is why this gift from the Altschuler brothers is so important for the School of Engineering and the University,” said Kazerounian.

When launched, the lab will teach hands-on cybersecurity to all Computer Science and Engineering Department freshmen, as well as additional members of the department’s 800 undergraduate and 150 graduate student population.

A special first-year curriculum will cover such areas as cyber-hygiene in software and hardware; the vulnerabilities in commercial-off-the-shelf devices and Internet-of-Things devices; and ensuring the security and integrity of electronic election and voting systems, smart power-meters and power grid devices. The curriculum will also cover website security, secure configuration of networks and networked systems, and security of network routing.

“The establishment of this cybersecurity laboratory is wonderful news for Connecticut,” said Arthur H. House, the state’s chief cybersecurity officer. “It will enhance UConn’s academic strength and partnership in the ongoing effort to understand and counter evolving cyber threats to the state’s government agencies, businesses, and organizations.”

Mark Raymond, Connecticut’s chief information officer, agrees. “One of the fundamental principles of the state’s cybersecurity strategy is cybersecurity literacy.  The strategy calls for all sectors to reduce cybersecurity risks through education and awareness. The laboratory at UConn will play a critical role in developing the next-generation cybersecurity skills required to keep our state’s citizens and business safe.”

After graduating from UConn, Samuel Altschuler earned an MBA from Northeastern University in 1958 and founded Altron, Inc., where he was the chairman and president, until his retirement. Stephen Altschuler went on to earn his master’s in engineering from Yale University in 1955. He is the founder, president, and chairman of Altek Electronics. He also served on UConn’s Board of Trustees from 1986-1993.

“We recognize that Dean Kazerounian and his staff have assembled a first-class faculty to be stewards of the cybersecurity specialty, and we are highly motivated to support it,” said the Altschuler brothers, who have also funded scholarships to UConn’s engineering students.

As faculty in the new lab pursue this work, they will partner with faculty in other areas, such as the state’s Voting Technology Research Center, which evaluates Connecticut’s voting machines and audits results for cyberattacks; and industry partners, such as Synchrony Financial and Comcast companies, which support cybersecurity research and host annual cybersecurity conferences.


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Author: UConn Patents Model to Achieve Efficient Electric Motor Drive Systems

Ali Bazzi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at his lab on Dec. 21, 2012. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

While more and more cars are being powered by electricity, all cars rely on electricity as the energy source for their drive systems. In fact, electric motor drive systems account for the largest energy consumption in the U.S. and worldwide in appliances, manufacturing processes, and many other applications. They are flexible and reliable, making them incredibly popular for industrial and commercial uses.

But there is an economic and environmental cost to the ubiquity of these systems. Most electrical energy is generated from fossil fuels, which are costly and non-renewable. Technologies that support reductions in fossil fuel use are advantageous and can support minimizing environmental impacts.

University of Connecticut associate professor of electrical and computer engineering Ali Bazzi, Ph.D. and two of his former graduate students, Yiqi Liu, Ph.D. and  Artur Ulatowski, have been granted a patent for a new method to model power loss in electric motor drive systems that could be used to greatly increase their efficiency.

A modern motor drive system is composed of three parts – a motor, a power electronic drive, and a controller. The motor is the electro-mechanical energy conversion device that rotates to move mechanical loads. The drive and controller control the amount of electrical energy given to the motor to determine its speed or torque, and power.

Current models depend on physics-based equations, which focus on the electro-mechanical energy conversion that drives these systems. However, these types of mathematical models fail to account for all of the other electrical, thermal, magnetic, and mechanical interactions within the motor drive. Thus, these models often ignore or assume certain energy losses or other phenomena which can impact accuracy.

In contrast, Bazzi’s model is fully comprehensive, as it takes all these factors into account, and provides a much more accurate picture of energy consumption.

By providing a more accurate measurement of how much energy these systems are using, Bazzi’s method paves the way for the development of more efficient systems which utilize electric motor drives. His model will enable the creation of systems that can operate with the maximum efficiency in any operating setting.

One of the most innovative features of Bazzi’s model is the ability to incorporate data that companies regularly collect from their electric motor drive systems. With this data, companies can use software, online (real-time) or offline, to determine the optimal operating parameters for a particular system within its unique operating environment.

Because motor drive systems are so widely used, optimization efforts have the potential for tremendous cost savings worldwide and could possibly decrease environmental burden by reducing electrical energy usage, says Bazzi.

“Even small improvements in the operating efficiency of the electric motor drive system would result in billions of dollars in annual energy savings worldwide and decrease the demand for fossil fuels to generate electricity,” Bazzi says.

Prof. Bazzi received his Ph.D. electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s from the American University of Beirut. His research interests include electric motor drives and electro-mechanics, distributed generation with focus on solar photovoltaics and real-time control and optimization of energy systems.

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Author: Javidi Wins 2019 C.E.K. Mees Medal from The Optical Society

(Christopher Larosa/UConn Photo

By: Eli Freund, Editorial Communications Manager, UConn School of Engineering 

The UConn School of Engineering is pleased to announce that Dr. Bahram Javidi, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded the prestigious C.E.K. Mees Medal from The Optical Society (OSA), which he will accept in June  2019.

According to OSA, the medal was established in 1961 to honor OSA charter member C. E. K. Mees, who contributed preeminently to the development of scientific photography. The Mees family endowed the medal to recognize achievements that exemplifies the thought that “optics transcends all boundaries,” and recognizes an original use of optics across multiple fields. 

Javidi was specifically chosen for this award “for pioneering multidisciplinary contributions to information-optics with diverse applications in bio-photonics, 3D imaging and displays, photon-counting imaging and cyber-physical security,” according to the award citation.

This award is the second accolade for Javidi from OSA in the past 12 months (he was also the recipient of the Joseph Fraunhofer Award / Robert M. Burley Prize in 2018), and is one of a long line of accomplishments during his career, which include: Being named one of the top 160 engineers between the ages of 30-45 by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to attend the Frontiers of Engineering; the Quantum Electronics and Optics Prize for Applied Aspects by the European Physical Society (EPS); the Dennis Gabor Award in Diffractive Wave Technologies from The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE); the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; the Alexander von Humboldt Prize for senior US Scientists in all disciplines; the SPIE Technology Achievement Award; the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award; and the George Washington University Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award.

At UConn, he has received the American Association for University Professors (AAUP) Research Excellence Award; the University of Connecticut Board Of Trustees Distinguished Professor Award; the UConn Alumni Association Excellence in Research Award; and the Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award, among others.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA), Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), Fellow of the European Optical Society (EOS), Fellow of The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), Fellow of the Institute of Physics (IoP), and Fellow of The Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T). Javidi has over 1000 publications which have been cited 42000 times, according to Google Scholar, and 19 patents, some of which have been licensed by industry.

Javidi is also the director of the MOSIS Lab (Multidimensional Optical Sensing and Imaging Systems), which is focused on advancing the science and technology of imaging, by centering on the fields of optics, photonics, and computational algorithms and systems, from nano to macro scales. MOSIS works with, and finds solutions for, partners in the defense, manufacturing, healthcare, and cybersecurity industries.

Click here to learn more about the C.E.K. Mees Medal from The Optical Society.