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EE Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities in Electrical Engineering for Undergraduates

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Nanoelectronic Devices and Circuits

Description: As transistors and memory reach their size limits, devices incorporating ionic and ferroelectric materials are being developed to enhance device and circuit performance. These materials are enabling new approaches for analog memory for learning networks, neuromorphic devices for brain-spired circuits, selectors for cross-bar memory addressing, steep subthreshold swing transistors for ultralow voltage computing, and zero bias rectifiers for energy harvesting.

The expected and/or anticipated involvement of the REU student in the research: Expect to work on device characterization and analysis problems in close collaboration with graduate students in a team environment. Students can expect to increase their understanding of electronic circuits, devices, materials, chemistry, and physics as they explore future paths for electronics.

Preferred discipline(s), expertise, lab skills, etc.: Students from all engineering and science disciplines are invited to apply.

Contacts: Professor Alan Seabaugh, 230A Cushing Hall, 574 631-4473 (
Department of Electrical Engineering

Phononic Nanoparticles for Low-Loss, Tunable Nanophotonics in the Mid- and Far-IR

hoffman imageTechnical Objectives: Phononic nanoparticles are a new class of optical materials with untapped potential for
realizing new mid- and far-infrared detection and sensing nanotechnologies that are functionally analogous to ultraviolet and near-infrared plasmonic nanotechnologies but with even greater sensitivity. Phononic nanotechnologies have potential application in analytical chemistry, biomedicine, environmental science, homeland security, astrophysics, and geology. However, basic scientific knowledge of the governing structure-property relationships for engineering the optical properties of phononic nanoparticles are not well understood or developed. Therefore, students on this project will investigate the optical properties of candidate phononic materials using both modeling and experimental characterization of synthesized nanoparticles. As such, this interdisciplinary research experience will cut across both materials science and optical science.

Contacts: Professor Anthony Hoffman, 226B Cushing Hall, 574 631-4103 (
Department of Electrical Engineering

Professor Ryan K. Roeder, 148 Multidisciplinary Research Building, 574 631-7003 (
Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Energy Recovery for Ultra-low Energy Computation

snider imageDescription: Anyone who owns a laptop knows that power dissipation and the associated heat are a problem for the microelectronics industry. As electronic devices scale down in size, they use less power (and hence energy), but is there a lower limit to the energy that must be dissipated by each device? Recent experimental measurements have demonstrated our ability to measure energy dissipation in the range of a ~15 yJ (1 yJ is
10-24 J), and we are building CMOS circuits to operate in this range. Projects in the group of Professor Gregory Snider will explore the limits of ultra-low power computing, and designing, building and measuring circuits that test these limits, and clock circuits that can recycle the energy used in computation. The projects will include building circuits and amplifiers for energy measurements of the CMOS circuits as well as the actual measurements. The project will also include the design of the next generation of the adiabatic circuits. A student involved in these projects will gain experience in programming, CMOS design, and device measurement techniques.

Student Involvement: Students will work on the construction of circuits, writing control programs, and making measurements.

Preferred Disciplines: Electrical Engineering, Physics, and Computer Science students are preferred. Some knowledge of programming and soldering is helpful.

Contacts: Professor Gregory Snider, 275 Fitzpatrick Hall, 574 631-4148 (
Department of Electrical Engineering