In This Issue
MRSEC at the U Message from the Chair New Faculty A USTAR Innovation Center Distinguished Faculty 5 6-7 New MRSEC Program at the U Technical Open House 8 A Better Hearing Aid 9 10 ECE Class of 2012 11 Donors and Friends 12 Keep in Touch 1 2 3 4

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Summer 2012

MRSEC at the U
The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) is a six-year, $21.5 million research effort supported by the National Science Foundation, Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative and the University of Utah. This new center focuses on two interdisciplinary groups (IRGs) entitled “Plasmonic Metamaterials from the Terahertz to the Ultraviolet” and “Organic Spintronics.” Professor and Associate Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering Ajay Nahata (pictured above with students) has been chosen to lead the Plasmonic Metamaterials team. Read more about the MRSEC on page 6.


University of Utah

Welcome to this year's Communicator, the newsletter for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Utah. We are very excited to share with you the developments taking place in our department. This year has been a very busy and productive one. We have increased the number of faculty on staff, with another two outstanding faculty members joining us for the coming school year. We are very pleased at the work our faculty has been doing. This past year our faculty have received funding, contracts, and awards from such resources as the CIA, NSF, AFOSR, and DARPA. Several of our faculty participated in the new Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), which is being funded by NSF, the USTAR initiative, and the University of Utah for $21 million over the next six years. Our faculty have been highlighted in several news and media outlets, including Wired magazine, CNET, IEEE Spectrum, Gizmag, Popular Science magazine, and the MIT News Office. We have had exposure worldwide in such outlets as The Engineer, London; Asian News International (ANI) via Newstrack, India; Compulenta, Russia; Pressetext, Germany;, Brazil; and CNET Australia. Our faculty have been highlighted on television as well, including interviews on CNN and FOX13 news, where they spoke about their current research and shared insights on the future of their work. Because of our recent push in student recruiting, this year we had the highest number of students enrolled in our program in five years. These students have shown outstanding ability, which they demonstrated recently at this year's Technical Open House. Several graduates have already secured positions at various engineering companies. Although we are proud of our achievements, we know that a large part of the credit goes to our alumni, donors, and friends. Thank you for your continual support and your incredible commitment to higher education in Utah. Sincerely, Gianluca Lazzi

Message from the Chair

A Look at This Year
• New MRSEC, funded for $21 million over the next 6 years • Completion of $130 million USTAR research facility • New faculty joining the ECE Department in July 2012 • U of U Engineering Department ranked one of the best in the nation, with the graduate school #54


New Faculty
Dr. Jamesina Simpson
Dr. Simpson obtained the B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, in 2003 and 2007, respectively. She worked through a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Prof. Heyno Garbe's Electromagnetic Compatibility Lab at the University of Hannover, Germany in summer of 2002. In summers of 2003 - 2006, she worked as an engineering intern at Intel Corporation in Hillsboro, OR. In August 2007, Dr. Simpson joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of New Mexico (UNM) as a tenure-track assistant professor. Her research lab encompasses the application of FDTD to modeling electromagnetic phenomena at frequencies over 15 orders of magnitude (~1 Hz vs. ~600 THz). While at UNM, Prof. Simpson's research activities were funded by Sandia National Labs, Intel Corporation, the Department of Energy, the UNM Research Allocations Committee, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). She currently serves as associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation.

Dr. Jeffrey Walling
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 electrical and computer engineering department at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 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. He 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.

These two outstanding faculty members will be joining the ECE Department starting July 1, 2012


A USTAR Innovation Center
In April of this year, the new and much-anticipated James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building – A USTAR Innovation Center, was dedicated. The undertaking of the construction of this $130 million research facility resulted in a 208,000-square-foot center that promises to produce research reflective of its top-of-the-line facilities. In addition to wet lab and research computing spaces, the building also houses faculty offices, meeting rooms, and public areas. The goal of the new center is to encourage collaboration across disciplines and enhance the connection between research and industry.This outstanding facility not only provides the cutting-edge tools needed by researchers, but will also attract the best scientists around the globe, creating a hub of talented intellectuals working toward innovative ends. The center will also serve to further the primary objective of USTAR, which is "to bolster Utah’s research strengths and significantly increase technology commercialization to create many more high-caliber jobs throughout the state." The building's namesake, James L. Sorenson, was one of the nation's foremost biomedical pioneers. Many of his inventions are now commonly used in the medical field, including disposable paper surgical masks, plastic venous catheters, and computerized heart monitoring systems. The Sorenson Legacy Foundation donated $15 million to the construction and production of the new facility. Several faculty in the University of Utah's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department will also be included in the innovative research taking place in the new center. USTAR faculty include the Dr. Carlos Mastrangelo, Dr. Massood Tabib-Azar, Dr. Darrin Young and Dr. Hanseup Kim among others. ECE faculty using the facilities are part of the Micro and Nanofabrication as well as solid state and device based technologies and research groups, in close collaboration with their colleagues from all other engineering, science and mines disciplines. Work carried out there includes, but is not limited to micro- and nano sensors, electronics, wireless telemetry solutions in defense, energy and healthcare applications. Implantable and bio-devices constitute a major part of the ongoing efforts.


Distinguished Faculty
Hanseup Kim
Dr. Hanseup Kim joined the University of Utah's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in 2009 as a USTAR Assistant Professor. Throughout his career he has received various recognitions, two of the most distinguished of which have been awarded within this last year: the 2011 DARPA Young Faculty Award and the 2012 NSF CAREER Award. At the beginning of this year one of his journal articles was highlighted on the cover page of the Lab-onChip Journal. Currently he is performing cutting-edge research on micro/nano technology mainly for military and biomedical applications, mainly supported by DARPA and NSF.

2011 DARPA Young Faculty Award

According to the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the purpose of the Young Faculty Award is to “identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions … who will focus a significant portion of their career on Department of Defense and national security issues.” Dr. Hanseup Kim was one of only 39 of the nation’s brightest young scientists who were honored with this award, and one out of only four faculty in the NEMS/MEMS topic area. For Dr. Kim's studies in nanoand micro-systems such as micropumps and valves, he was granted $300,000 for two years. His research will help address areas of need in the Department of Defense, especially as relates to medical uses.

2012 NSF CAREER Award
The National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award is offered through the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, which selects "junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacherscholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations." Dr. Kim will receive funding for $399,000 over the next five years for his project titled "CAREER: Next-Generation Micro Gas Chromatography System Toward Ultra-High Capacity, Selectivity, and Portability For Distributed Environmental Awareness." Through this project, Dr. Kim will work to develop a wearable micro gas chromatography system to monitor airborne pollutants.

After earning a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Seoul National University in 1997, Dr. Kim received his M.S. in 2003 and Ph.D. in 2006 at the University of Michigan in the same field. He continued with the University of Michigan from 2006 to 2009 through a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position at the Engineering Research Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems (WIMS). In 2009 he joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Utah as a USTAR Assistant Professor. Dr. Kim's research includes work with comprehensive Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), including micro sensors, actuators, fabrication, packaging, and integrated circuits for MEMS.


New MRSEC Program at the U
An interdisciplinary group of University of Utah researchers is making way in achieving next-generation materials for Plasmonics and Organic Spintronics. The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) is comprised of researchers from the departments of Chemistry, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering and Physics & Astronomy. The six-year, $21.5 million research effort is supported by the National Science Foundation, Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative and the University of Utah. The Center’s research on new materials is organized into two Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs). Plasmonic Metamaterials from the Terahertz to the Ultraviolet, IRG 1, focuses on exploiting the properties of artificially structured materials (metamaterials) across a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Organic Spintronics, IRG 2, is working to advance our understanding of the role of spin interactions in organic materials for the development of a range of different spin-related organic devices. Applications range from telecommunications and imaging to new magnetic memory and low-cost organic photovoltaic cells. “We are among the world leaders in these two fields,” MRSEC Director Anil Virkar says. Professor and Associate Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering Ajay Nahata leads IRG 1, the research team focusing on Plasmonic Metamaterials, comprised of three Focus Research Groups (FRGs). Plasmonics involves using light that propagates in the interface between a metal and nonmetal. A metamaterial is a material that is structured artificially by etching, drilling, milling or other methods, thus allowing engineers to manipulate how various wavelengths of light propagate on the surfaces of such materials. Plasmonics can allow tighter focusing than is possible using conventional microscopes, which may lead to better microscopic methods for biologists, Nahata says. The plasmonic metamaterials team also studies the potential of uncommonly used wavelengths, such as terahertz radiation, to develop faster devices for use in future communication and computing systems. Professor and Associate Dean of Physics and Astronomy Brian Saam leads IRG 2, the Organic Spintronics research effort which involves five Focus Research Groups IRG 2 is working to develop organic semiconductors used to carry and store information not only electronically by exploiting the electrons in atoms, but also “spinFar right: Top photograph of focused ion beam system (FIB). Right: Photographs of three nanoscale structures written using the FIB.The two images on top are bullseye antennas designed for plasmonics applications in the ultraviolet.The image on bottom is the University of Utah logo.The smallest features are ~2000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.


tronically” by using a characteristic of electrons and atoms known as spin. Organic semiconductors are aimed at developing faster, more efficient computers, displays and communications, as well as better solar cells, says Valy Vardeny, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Associate Director of the MRSEC. “If we can understand the electronic, magnetic and spintronic properties of these materials, they can be fabricated far less expensively than standard silicon electronics, and can be engineered with an enormous variety of other favorable characteristics, for example, as lightweight, flexible displays, or with resistance to harsh chemicals or extreme temperature,” Vardeny says. MRSEC is also a proud founding sponsor of the University of Utah’s inaugural hosting of the Utah Science Olympiad, which can be seen online at MRSEC faculty and graduate students supported the Optics event as well as a new Materials Science division with an emphasis on nano-materials. The Utah Science Olympiad is an annual state competition for middle and high school students, with division winners advancing to a national competition. Science Olympiad promotes hands-on learning experiences in science, technology and engineering. The Center is committed to providing quality education and outreach with the goal of recruiting and training the next generation of diverse scientists and engineers in revolutionary materials science and technology. MRSEC achieves this goal by augmenting resources and expanding capacity of existing science and engineering education programs for K-12 students and by enabling and promoting research experiences for undergraduate students.


Technical Open House

Left to right: Dean Richard Brown and wife, Brenda; Distinguished Alumnus Priscilla, wife and John Cadwell; Dept Chair Gianluca Lazzi and wife, Dulce

Alumnus Awards
John Cadwell Richard A. Robb John M. Zrno Paul F.Turner A. Richard Walje Edward A.E. Rich Hyde M. Merrill Roger P.Webb W. Cleon Anderson D. N. “Nick” Rose Nolan Bushnell A.Tee Migliori Joseph M. Ballantyne Glen Wade Calvin F. Quate Robert G. Engman Raymond J. Noorda Robert J. Grow Mac Van Valkenburg Benjamin V. Cox 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 1998 1997 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991

Student Awards
Best Group Project 2012
Power Engineering Consortium Clinic Team: Oscar Arce, Guy Miller, Raju Subedi, Judson Westgate, Daniel YEager

Best Presentations 2012
Joseph Boog, Katherine Furse, Matt Strum, Paul Allen, Jonathan Pace

Outstanding Seniors 2012
Electrical Engineering: Peter Hillyard Computer Engineering: Matt Strum

Alumnus Award
John Cadwell, BSEE, MD (above) was honored as the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus. He delivered the keynote speech at the ECE Technical Open House banquet held on April 10th. Dr. Cadwell designed the first microprocessor controlled EMG instrument. In 1979 he and his brother Carl, DDS, formed Cadwell Laboratories, Inc. and began selling their device. Since then, Cadwell has been a leader in the development and manufacture of innovative and reliable instruments for neurophysiology. Many instruments have been providing decades of service to their owners.

Young Alumnus
Allan R.Walton Cynthia Furse Randal R. Sylvester Richard B. Brown Jonathan B. Steadman 2011 2008 2007 2003 2002


A Better Hearing Aid
Darrin Young, an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Utah, in conjunction with colleagues in Ohio, has made exciting new strides in hearing aid technology. Currently, cochlear implant microphone must be worn outside the head, limiting certain activities and alerting others to the wearer's disability. Although it is estimated that some 220,000 people with hearing impairments have improved their hearing through these devices, the inconvenience and social stigma created by the external microphones have actually deterred some users. Additionally, cochlear implants employ wires to connect the microphone to the coil, which are subject to damage. Young's work will help minimize these current issues, through a miniature microphone that may be implanted in the middle ear. For those with severe hearing impairments, often the issue relates to damaged or inept hair cells located in the cochlea, which are critical in the process that leads to the sound signals being carried to the brain. When a sound travels into the ear, the eardrum vibrates and causes the three inner-ear bones to vibrate as well. One of these bones then touches the cochlea, after which these hair cells are supposed to move and trigger the release of a neurotransmitter chemical that carries the sound to the brain. In patients where the hair cells are not functioning, Young's microphone would be implanted where the ear drum connects to the ear bones, to detect the eardrum's vibrations and convert them into electrical signals to send to the electrodes in the cochlea, effectually continuing the hearing process. Implanting Young's device would require the removal of one of the three middle-ear bones to allow the sound to carry more effectually to the microphone. Additionally, the user would be required to wear a charger behind the ear at night to recharge the battery. The device has been successfully tested in four cadavers, with the microphone recording a somewhat fuzzy and muffled version of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Young intends to continue work on the implant, improving the sound quality, minimizing the muffling, and increasing the microphone's ability to pick up quieter and deeper pitches. The device currently measures 2.5 by 6.2 millimeters, which Young would also like to reduce to 2 by 2 millimeters. Additionally, because of the necessity of surgery, approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would need to be obtained for the implant. He


ECE Class of 2012

In Their Own Words
“I feel that the U has given me an excellent knowledge base from which I can base a professional career in power engineering.” “There is a good mix of professors who can teach well and other professors who have great research.” “[The ECE Program] has provided me with the resources necessary to pursue my passion in engineering.”

B.S.E.E. Class of 2012
Graduating class size: Gender ratio (male:female): Average GPA Participation in IEEE: Participation in SWE: Participation in TBP: 51 students 48:3 3.24 19 members 3 members 2 members

Students with job offers: Average salary of job offers: Students accepting positions: Biggest Employer (9 jobs): 28/51 (54%)(as of Apr 2012) $62,990 17/51 (33%) L-3 Communications

Graduate School


Students continuing on: 14/51 (27%) Most popular program: MS in Electrical Engineering at the Unviersity of Utah

Donors and Friends
We are pleased to thank the following individuals for their charitable support between July 2011 and April 2012.
C. Edwin and Colleen Alter J. David Anderson Vicki Baldwin Wilma Bone Blaine and Colleen Busenbark John and Priscilla Cadwell Florian Solzbacher and Xiaojin Chen Pin-Wei and Grace Chen Douglas and Laraine Christensen Beulah Dalley James and Aukje Dalley Douglas and Denise Datwyler Charles and Eva Forbes Donald and Shari Franke Lawrence and Cynthia Furse Nagendra Grandhi Robert and Linda Grow Michael and Patricia Haas Said and Doreen Hassan Alex and Karen Haymond Paul and Eleanor Hill Timothy and Michele Hollist Tyler and Shannon Hook Roger and Leigh Johnsen Jeffrey and Julie Johnson Walter and Carol McKnight Gary and Marga Nelson Joel John Nelson Andrew Ostler T. Jeffrey and Jennifer Payne John and Rosemary Phillips John and Manell Piccolo William Pohlchuck Neal Patwari and Cathleen Power Peter Rha Keming Zhou and Minyan Ruan Kirk and Susan Samowitz Michael Scarpulla Susan Beatty Schulman Forrest and Rolayne Staffanson Kenneth and Mary Talbot Scott and Alyson Talbot John and Judy Toone Mark and Cindy Vernon Harold and Roberta Vitale Yun Cheng and Sheue Ching Yu

We would like to recognize the following community partners for their support between July 2011 and April 2012.
Applied Signal Technology, Inc. Asynchronous Design Research Chen Charitable Foundation Cyoress Semiconductor General Electric Foundation IEEE Power & Energy Society Intel Foundation Intermountain Power Agency L-3 Communications Micron Technology Foundation, Inc. PacifiCorp Questar Corporation Raytheon Company Rocky Mountain Power Foundation United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties XE Corporation

We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this list, but if you would like to report an omission, please contact


Keep in Touch
Alumni are encouraged to update their information with the ECE Department
Update your contact information online: Or complete and submit the following survey to: The ECE Department 50 S. Central Campus Dr. Rm 3330 Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9206 Name Address City Email Company Name News (activities, honors, awards) State Zip Graduation Year Phone Fax Cell Position

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Utah 50 S. Central Campus Dr. Rm 3280 Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9206

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