Area IV Announcements

RA OPPORTUNITIES: Students needed NOW!

1. Research Topic: Nanophotonics for Solar Cell Applications

Group of Prof. Marin Soljacic, soljacic@MIT.EDU, from Research Laboratory of Electronics (Physics Department), is looking for beginning PhD students to work on their thesis in the general area of nanophotonics and nonlinear optics. The applications relate mostly to conversion of solar power into electricity. Students of matching interests are invited to apply, irrespective of their department (e.g. physics, EECS, material science...)

2. Research Topic: Power Systems and Impact on National Energy Grid

Professor John Kassakian,, is seeking a person desiring a MS degree to contribute to a team of researchers affiliated with MIT's Energy Initiative. The team hopes to understand how to increase the functionality and reliability of the national energy grid.

3. Research Topic: Quantum Imaging
Supervisors: Prof. Jeffrey Shapiro, Dr. Franco Wong

Quantum mechanical resources have been shown, theoretically, to enable laser radar systems to exceed the traditional Rayleigh limit on their spatial resolution. As part of an industry-university joint program, we are working to design a quantum-enhanced laser radar and quantify theoretically its performance. The work for the open RA will involve extending previous theory for 2-D quantum-enhanced imaging to 3-D operation. It will interface with the development of a baseline laser radar at Harris Communication Systems, the development of key components for quantum performance enhancement (at Northwestern University), and overall system modeling (at BBN Technologies).

4. Research Topic: Intermodal Qubit Conversion
Supervisor: Prof. Jeffrey Shapiro

Early realizations of quantum information processing are apt to employ hybrid architectures in which different physical modalities are used for information processing, storage, and transmission. In a multi-investigator program here at MIT, we are working to develop theory for and demonstrate key experimental aspects of converting quantum bits (qubits) from one physical modality to another, i.e., the essential prerequisite for hybrid quantum processing architectures. The work for the open RA will include determining the limitations set by multiple-photon-pair emissions when a spontaneous parametric downconverter source is used to load neutral-atom or ionic quantum memories, and determining the degree to which causality-induced phase noise limits the fidelity of qubit gates built in neutral-atom or ionic systems.

5. Research Topic: Hybrid NEMS/CMOS Devices for Wireless Communications
Supervisor: Prof. Dana Weinstein,, Microsystems
Technology Laboratories

Prof. Weinstein is looking for PhD students to work on novel MEMS/NEMS electron devices for applications in low-power wireless communication, microprocessor clocking, and sensing. Students from all departments (EECS, Physics, MechE, etc) are welcome to apply.

6. Research Topic: RF reliability of GaN High Electron Mobility Transistors
SM/MEng thesis project in Prof. Jesús del Alamo’s group

GaN High Electron Mobility Transistor technology looks increasingly attractive for a variety of high frequency and high power applications. In spite of the impressive attributes of this technology and the outstanding performance values that have been demonstrated, its deployment in the field is currently bottlenecked by its limited electrical reliability. A solution to this necessarily demands obtaining detailed physical understanding of the fundamental failure mechanisms of this technology. In the last few years, we have carried out extensive electrical reliability of GaN HEMTs under DC conditions. From this, we have postulated a mechanism for device degradation that is driven by voltage. Yet, to what extent this mechanism also applies under large-signal RF conditions, which prevail in the field, remains to be understood. This project will study the RF reliability of GaN HEMTs through our new Accel-RF test system. This is a unique instrumentation that no other university possesses. Our research is carried out in close collaboration with leading corporations which provide us with state-of-the-art transistors. This insures the relevance of our findings. This research will provide a great experience in the emerging field of GaN electronics, device physics and transistor modeling and characterization.

NEW September 2009! Over the summer important changes have been made to the Area structure in EECS. Specifically, two areas have merged to become a single unified area with a new name. Prior to September 2009, EECS was organized into six different areas of research: Area I Systems, Communication, Control and Signal Processing, Area II Computer Science, Area III Electronics, Computers and Systems, Area IV Energy and Electromagnetic Systems, Area V Materials and Devices, and Area VII Bioelectrical Engineering. The faculty and research staff affiliated with Area IV and Area V decided to merge into a single area, and importantly they selected the new area name of “Engineering Physics.” The Area faculty/research staff of Engineering Physics selected the number of “Area IV” to be in alignment with Areas I, II, and III. [Note: many years ago two other areas merged and hence EECS lost Area VI and, now, a similar merge has occurred to result in a loss of Area V.]

Of course “engineering physics” is a very broad, somewhat vague, name purposefully selected by the faculty and research staff since the research carried out in Area IV spans a large variety of topics; however, the research topics repeatedly capitalize on, and utilize physics when engineering a particular system. To add some specificity to Area IV, the faculty and research staff selected nine topics that easily describe significant amounts of research activity. The nine topics include electromagnetics, photonics, power, energy, materials, devices, microsystems, nanotechnology, and physics of information. Within the new Area IV website, you will find descriptions of the nine topics along with various subjects that incorporate some of the topics.

Along with descriptions of research activities underway by the Area IV faculty and research staff, you will also note their alignment with a particular topic(s). Finally, you will immediately notice that in fact most, if not all, research projects span more than one Area IV topic due to the multidisciplinary nature of the research and due to the multidisciplinary expertise of the faculty and research staff supervising the research. As a graduate student affiliated with Area IV, your work also will likely span more than one, or many, of the nine highlighted topics of the engineering physics area within EECS.

Area IV Open House: Fall 2009 _ Don't miss this!

On Friday, September 25th we will have the Area IV Engineering Physics Open House from 3-5pm. The purpose of the open house is to allow the Area IV faculty and research staff to describe available research opportunities that they have to graduate students who are looking for research projects. The faculty/research staff typically describe the research opportunity, relatively briefly (~5minutes talk), and then there is time for questions. If, as a new graduate student or as a graduate student who is changing topics, you are looking for a research project, the Open House is the perfect venue to find out what projects are available and to meet the faculty/research staff supervising the research. Mark your calendars now; flyers will be posted that week around campus as a reminder. [Note: last year’s Open House 2008 consisted of nine different faculty/research staff describing 10 research opportunities!]

Early Notice for Area IV Open House: Professor Al Grodzinsky has a research opportunity available investigating nano-electromechanical behavior of cartilage macromolecules in health and disease via atomic force microscopy: pulling and pushing one molecule at a time. Professor Vincent Chan will speak about a research opportunity investigating optical networks. Professor Marin Soljacic, Physics Department, will describe a research opportunity for students interested in nanophotonics and nonlinear optics with application to the conversion of solar power into electricity.

Seminars in EECS: Each day of the week, and almost every week of the academic year and during the summer, numerous seminars are offered in Area IV Engineering Physics, as well as all other areas of EECS. Check out the EECS calendar for up-to-date seminar announcements: