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College of Engineering and Computing

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Research Focus and Laboratory Capabilities

Adaptive RF and mmwave Technology

Modern wireless communications and radar systems are miniatured in size, and they are required to operate at multiple-frequency bands in order to provide the enhanced and multifunctional performances. Frequency-agile and multifunctional circuits are highly desirable in communications systems, radars, sensor networks, and biomedical devices. Tunable elements are the key components in these frequency-agile and multifunctional systems. Our research provides tunable slow wave transmission line elements with both inductance and capacitance tunability enabled by nanoscale thin films with unique electrical properties for the first time. The proposed transmission line elements can be used for the design of arbitrary multi-band devices. Our research covers design optimization of slow wave transmission lines elements, broadband characterization of magnetization dynamics of submicron size patterned ferromagnetic material (Permalloy, Py), integration of BST/PZT and Py Nano thin films enabled slow wave elements with the goal of implementing low-loss, high efficient, multi-function, cost effective, frequency agile RF devices. Frequency reconfigurable multiband RF components such as couplers, filters and phased array antennas are developed and characterized. The main objective of this research is to provide compact multi-band RF passives design with reduced size, wide continuous frequency tuning, high linearity, and low signal loss.

Graphene RF Electronics

Graphene and other novel 2D materials have remarkable electrical properties that can be be optimally utilized through integration in planar RF passive circuits. The research will be the first step toward incorporating 2D materials in developing high speed RF NEMS switch with low actuation voltage and tunable RF components.

Batteryless Wireless Biomedical Communication System

Implantable medical devices for sensing, drug delivery, and local stimulation plays an increasingly important role in modern medicine. These devices help manage a broad range of medical disorders through preventive and post-surgery monitoring. Wireless powered devices are desirable to reduce the size and risks associates with battery replacement. New wireless technologies for healthcare have been widely investigated in medical treatments. Implantable radio frequency identification (RFID) devices are known as a promising solution in building wireless mobile healthcare services for the remote identification (tagging) of animals or persons. The use of implanted tags rather than body-worn reduces the risk of the tag being lost, and it is ideal for non-cooperative subjects due to the invisibility, which makes it very attractive for pediatric applications. Our research develops RFID based wireless sensing system for self-sustainable implantable sensors determining intracardiac pressure during and after congenital cardiac surgical procedures in children.

Nanoscale Materials for Gas Sensing

The Energy Information Administration estimates that the 86% of US energy comes from the fossil fuels including coal, petroleum, and natural gas. The combustion of fossil fuels accounts for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 in the United States, and also produces other air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and ammonia (NH3). To implement the technology of high efficiency and low emission combustion technology, advanced gas sensors for the in-situ monitoring and real-time control of combustion dynamics is urgently needed. Such sensors would allow the rapid detection and quantification of emission gases at high temperature with the opportunity for close-loop feedback control and will revolutionize the combustion processes. Unfortunately, current technology hindered the development of such sensors in harsh combustion environment with high temperature and pressure. Our research is to investigate a novel self-powered wireless emerging nanoscale materials-enhanced MEMS sensor for the in-situ monitoring and control of the key combustion gas species NOx, CO, CO2, and NH3 in high temperature, high pressure, and large vibration gas turbine environment.