ECE News Topics

Energy Science and Engineering:

Photosynthesis and Clean Energy

In this interview with Scitech Now, Prof. Zetian Mi talks about a new way to create energy from the sun - borrowing from the idea of photosynthesis. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Electronic devices   Mi, Zetian   Solid-State Devices and Nanotechnology   Sustainability and Environment   

Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis

A new device can double the previous efficiency of using solar energy to break apart water and harvest hydrogen. This new device, developed by Professor Zetian Mi and researchers at McGill University, opens the path to commercial viability. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Mi, Zetian   Sustainability and Environment   

Seed-sized U-M computers pumped into oil wells featured at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

A specially created version of the Michigan Micro Mote, measuring 5mmx5mm, is being featured for its role in oil exploration as part of a new exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Blaauw, David   Grbic, Anthony   Integrated Circuits and VLSI   Millimeter-scale Computing   Phillips, Jamie D.   Sylvester, Dennis   Wentzloff, David   

Using University of Michigan buildings as batteries

Michigan researchers and staff are testing how to use the immense thermal energy of large buildings as theoretical battery packs. The goal is to help the nations grid better accommodate renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Hiskens, Ian   Mathieu, Johanna   Power and Energy   Sustainability and Environment   

Heath Hofmann Recognized for Excellence in Teaching with the Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award from the College of Engineering

Prof. Heath Hofmann was honored to receive the Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award, previously limited to faculty in other departments, was opened up to the entire College of Engineering faculty for the first time. Prof. Hofmann specializes in power electronics and electromechanical energy conversion. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Hofmann, Heath   Power and Energy   

Parag Deotare Receives AFOSR Award for Research in Nanoscale Exciton-Mechanical Systems (NEXMS)

Prof. Parag Deotare received a Young Investigator Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to support basic scientific research in Nanoscale Exciton-Mechanical Systems (NEXMS). In this project, Prof. Deotare will investigate the interactions between exciton and mechanics, which will lead to a better understanding of exciton dynamics. This work will deepen our understanding of the underlying physics of exciton-mechanics interactions and help engineer novel devices for energy harvesting and up-conversion. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Optics and Photonics   Power and Energy   

Solar power plant: New grant aims to cut costs

Nanotechnology could reduce the cost of the most expensive part of a solar thermal power plant by roughly 75 percent. The Department of Energy gave a team of researchers at the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory $1.4 million to develop new solar concentrators. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Guo, L. Jay   Power and Energy   Solid-State Devices and Nanotechnology   Sustainability and Environment   

Energy researchers receive grant for power system optimization

Researchers from the University, including ECE's Prof. Ian Hiskens, have received a $1.4 million grant from the Department of Energy to help develop data on power system optimization in energy grids. The team will work to develop new test cases to formulate better software algorithms for transmission operators to run the energy grid algorithms which regulate energy amounts. These operators are largely non-profit government agencies. The need for such research stems from the ongoing energy transition from traditional, emission-heavy sources such as coal and nuclear power to cleaner, renewable sources like wind and solar. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Hiskens, Ian   Power and Energy   Sustainability and Environment   

Inspired by art, lightweight solar cells track the sun

Solar cells capture up to 40 percent more energy when they can track the sun across the sky, but conventional, motorized trackers are too heavy and bulky for pitched rooftops and vehicle surfaces. Now, by borrowing from kirigami, the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed solar cells that can have it both ways. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Forrest, Stephen   Solid-State Devices and Nanotechnology   Sustainability and Environment   

Stephanie Crocker Earns NSF Fellowship to Bring Sustainable Energy to the Grid

Stephanie Crocker, a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded an NSF Fellowship to support her work on integrating renewable energy sources into the power grid. Working with Prof. Johanna Mathieu, Stephanie seeks to provide continuous energy balancing on the grid by automatically controlling loads. This must be done without disrupting customers and without compromising the grid's physical integrity. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Control Systems   Graduate Students   Mathieu, Johanna   Sustainability and Environment   

HEV Fuel Economy Meets Drivability in Outstanding Control Systems Paper

Research that aims to find a happy medium between fuel economy and drivability in hybrid electric vehicles was recognized with the 2014 IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology (TCST) Outstanding Paper Award. The research was directed by Prof. Jessy Grizzle, and published in TCST as, "An Energy Management Controller to Optimally Trade Off Fuel Economy and Drivability for Hybrid Vehicles." [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Automotive industry   Control Systems   Electric Vehicles and HEVs   Grizzle, Jessy   Sustainability and Environment   

Michigan and Prof. Forrest awarded photovoltaics R&D award from the U.S. Dept. of Energy SunShot Initiative

U-M was selected as part of the U.S. Dept. of Energy SunShot's "Next Generation Photovoltaics 3" program and was the only project awarded for organic photovoltaic ("OPV") research and development. Prof. Stephen Forrest said he very pleased to be able to continue his work on the SunShot Initiative. Forrest has achieved significant results in the area of organic photovoltaics, and believes they have the potential to redefine the cost structure of the solar industry and introduce solar power to untapped applications." [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Forrest, Stephen   Solid-State Devices and Nanotechnology   Sustainability and Environment   

New Approaches to Solar Cell Technology Featured in Sustainability Hour (Profs. Rand and Guo)

Professors Stephen Rand and Jay Guo delivered presentations for the November Meeting of the North Campus Sustainability Hour on the topic of solar energy and its future. The professors addressed two very different problems the industry faces with current technology. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Guo, L. Jay   Optics and Photonics   Rand, Stephen   Solid-State Devices and Nanotechnology   Sustainability and Environment   

New Research Program to Investigate Optical Energy Conversion

ECE is home to a new major research program that aims to provide a better understanding of phenomena driven by the magnetic field component of light. A key long-term goal of this five-year, $7.5M MURI, called the Center for Dynamic Magneto-Optics (DYNAMO), is to investigate the prospects for direct conversion of light to electricity without the thermodynamic losses typical of photovoltaic (solar cell) technology. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Optics and Photonics   Rand, Stephen   

A better light bulb

Already a key lighting material for smart phones, a new approach to building phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes (PHOLEDs) will make them useful even for general lighting. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Forrest, Stephen   Lighting and LEDs   Solid-State Devices and Nanotechnology   

Nanotechnology and Progress: A Quantum Entanglement

In this brief overview of nanotechnology research in ECE, well look at how research at the nanoscale is impacting lighting, medicine, displays, electronics, information security and the far-out world of quantum computing. Our faculty are also looking into how to manufacture these devices. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Bhattacharya, Pallab   Electronic devices   Forrest, Stephen   Guo, L. Jay   Health and Safety   Ku, Pei-Cheng (P.C.)   Lasers and Optics   Lighting and LEDs   Lu, Wei   MEMS and Microsystems   Memristor   Norris, Theodore B.   Optics and Photonics   Peterson, Becky (R. L.)   Phillips, Jamie D.   Quantum Science and Technology   Steel, Duncan   Yoon, Euisik   Zhong, Zhaohui   

U-M partners with Israeli university on renewable energy

The University of Michigan and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel will forge a research partnership to collaborate on developing renewable technologies. The partnership grew out of U-M's VP for Research Stephen Forrest's visits to Israel over the past five years, and will focus on the areas of advanced vehicle fuels, solar energy, and thermoelectric materials, which convert heat to electricity. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Forrest, Stephen   International Partnerships   Sustainability and Environment   

MCubing by ECE Faculty to find answers - fast

Ten different ECE faculty are teaming up with colleagues across the University - from Epidemiology to Political Science, Ophthalmology to Psychiatry, Neurosurgergy to Astronomy - to pursue new initiatives deemed to have major societal impact in the U-M MCubed program. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Big Data   Brain   Cancer   Flynn, Michael   Gianchandani, Yogesh   Grbic, Anthony   Guo, L. Jay   Health and Safety   Hero, Alfred   Ku, Pei-Cheng (P.C.)   Lighting and LEDs   Plasma Science and Engineering   Solid-State Devices and Nanotechnology   Space technology   

Colored solar cells could make display screens more efficient

A new kind of screen pixel developed by Prof. Jay Guo doubles as a solar cell and could boost the energy efficiency of cell phones and e-readers. The technology could also potentially be used in larger displays to make energy-harvesting billboards or decorative solar panels. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Displays   Electronic devices   Guo, L. Jay   Solid-State Devices and Nanotechnology   

Modernizing the Nations Electric Grid for Alternative Energy

Prof. Ian Hiskens will be developing the technology as well as a strategy that will allow the nation's grid system to accommodate large-scale alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power, through a $1.4M grant from the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Hiskens, Ian   Power and Energy   Sustainability and Environment   

Testing the commercial potential of organic solar cells

Prof. Steve Forrest will be investigating next-generation technology in the area of organic photovoltaics that may lead to paints or windows that act as solar cells to power vehicles and homes. The research is funded through the Dept. of Energy's SunShot Initiative. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Forrest, Stephen   Sustainability and Environment   

Powering breakthrough technologies

The technology behind successful startup company Ambiq Micro (2010) has its roots in ECE at Michigan, where faculty and students continue to lead the way in mm-scale computing. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Blaauw, David   Entrepreneurship and Tech Transfer   Integrated Circuits and VLSI   Millimeter-scale Computing   Sensing and Sensors   Sylvester, Dennis   

Making smart dust a reality

EECS faculty are embarking on a new NSF funded project to make millimeter-scale computing (aka smart dust) a widespread reality through the integration of circuits, sensors, and software on mm-scale platforms. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Blaauw, David   Dutta, Prabal   Entrepreneurship and Tech Transfer   Integrated Circuits and VLSI   Internet of Things   Millimeter-scale Computing   Sensing and Sensors   Sylvester, Dennis   

Most powerful millimeter-scale energy harvester generates electricity from vibrations

Prof. Khalil Najafi and EE doctoral student Erkan Aktakka have built the most efficient device to generate energy from vibrations in its class. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  MEMS and Microsystems   Najafi, Khalil   Sensing and Sensors   

Solar power without solar cells: A hidden magnetic effect of light could make it possible

A dramatic and surprising magnetic effect of light discovered by Prof. Stephen Rand's group could lead to solar power without traditional semiconductor-based solar cells. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Optics and Photonics   Rand, Stephen   Sustainability and Environment   

Toward computers that fit on a pen tip: New technologies usher in the millimeter-scale computing era

An implantable eye pressure monitor that is a complete millimeter-scale system, and a compact radio for wireless sensor networks are key advancements to millimeter-scale computing. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Blaauw, David   Health and Safety   Integrated Circuits and VLSI   Internet of Things   Millimeter-scale Computing   Sensing and Sensors   Sylvester, Dennis   Wentzloff, David   Wireless Systems   

Paving the way for ubiquitous computing

The work of Profs. Blaauw, Sylvester, and their former student and colleague Dr. Scott Hanson (PhD EE) in low-power computing led to the recent and flourishing start-up company, Ambiq Micro. The problem they are solving: ubiquitous computing - by concentrating on saving power during sleep cycles. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Blaauw, David   Entrepreneurship and Tech Transfer   Health and Safety   Integrated Circuits and VLSI   Millimeter-scale Computing   Sensing and Sensors   Sylvester, Dennis   Wireless Systems   

Mini generators make energy from random ambient vibrations

Tiny generators could produce enough electricity from random, ambient vibrations to power a wristwatch, pacemaker or wireless sensor. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  MEMS and Microsystems   Najafi, Khalil   Sensing and Sensors   

Energy and Power: Engineering Sustainable Solutions From the Macro to the Micro Levels

There is no shortage of energy being devoted to finding new and sustainable energy solutions. Even amidst the current economic challenges, the U.S. government is supporting these efforts with nearly a 50% increase in funding for energy-related research that includes energy efficiency and renewable energy, smart grid and efficient electrical transmission, green cars, and basic scientific research. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Control Systems   Electric Vehicles and HEVs   Entrepreneurship and Tech Transfer   Forrest, Stephen   Grizzle, Jessy   Hiskens, Ian   Hofmann, Heath   Ku, Pei-Cheng (P.C.)   Lighting and LEDs   Najafi, Khalil   Norris, Theodore B.   Phillips, Jamie D.   Power and Energy   Solid-State Devices and Nanotechnology   Sustainability and Environment   Zhong, Zhaohui   

Prof. Hiskens Receives Stim Money for Wind Energy

Prof. Ian Hiskens will investigate how to increase the amount of wind power that can be carried on the grid system, allowing for greater utilization of wind generation. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  Hiskens, Ian   Power and Energy   Sustainability and Environment   

Microsystems Research for Energy Scavenging and Power Generation

Micropower environmental energy harvesting generators offer an alternative source of energy for many emerging applications. A recent award-winning paper was presented at the Int. Conf. on Commercialization of Micro and Nano Systems. [Full Story]
Related Topics:  MEMS and Microsystems   Najafi, Khalil