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Announcements:

Dr. Nicholas E. Buris, Pres. of NEBENS, will lecture Fri., Sept. 5 at 3 pm in Room ECE132. He will talk about state of the art in designing antennas for terminals and for base stations. Everybody is welcome. Click here for more info.

Mottaleb Hossain, Graduate RA at the Center for High Technology Materials (CHTM), was recently appointed Associate Vice President of Student Membership by IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE. Hossain will work with the Society to provide undergraduate and graduate students, who have an interest in the photonics field, with opportunities for educational, technical and professional development. For more information please click here.

Sanjay Krishna, ECE Professor at CHTM reports that his team's work on compressive sensing with metamaterial modulators was recently published in Nature Photonics. His research will impact a host of practical matters, from security screening to skin cancer detection. To read more about Krishna's collaborative effort, please click here.

Hey U.S. Students! If you are low income and/or part of an underrepresented group then the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program might be able to help you pay for your graduate studies. Click here for more information.

The ECE e-mail server will be removed from service in December. Please start migrating your e-mails from the ECE server to your UNM Outlook mail account now! Do you have questions? Call Frank Mercer at 277-1076 or e-mail him at mercer@ece.unm.edu

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Tarief Elshafiey Teaches “Engineering Sense”

“Engineering is a way of life, not just a profession,” said ECE professor, Tarief Elshafiey .

Elshafiey  taught three classes this summer and each one was filled to capacity

Grant Heileman, a student in Signals and Systems last summer and now studying Power Systems with Elshafiey spoke enthusiastically about his professor.

“His exuberant personality and enthusiasm towards the subject matter, as well as the well-being of his students, gave me much needed positive reinforcement for such difficult classes,” said Heileman.

Because of the difficulty of the class, Elshafiey offers his Communication Systems students extra credit opportunities.

One of the extra credit projects was to build a radio. Students were awarded five points if their radio received one channel plus up to ten points for each additional station the radio received.

Excitement about his extra credit project caught the professor off guard, “It was a surprise for me when 15 students out of 27 applied for the project because a significant amount of time and effort is required to achieve a functional radio in only four weeks,” said Elshafiey.

 “The idea of the project,” said Elshafiey , “was to build an AM radio using envelope detection, which is considered the simplest demodulation technique.”

There were five constraints for the project:

  1. No IC or amplifiers were allowed.
  2. The radio had to be built using discrete components like diodes, resistors and capacitors.
  3. The radio had to have the capacity to receive more than one channel.
  4. Students had to design and build an antenna for the required frequency range.
  5. A breadboard and wires were allowed.

The students went above and beyond Elshafiey’s expectations.

“Students came up with amazing ideas to tune the radio and wonderful shapes for the antennas even though they had not taken the antenna course yet,” said Elshafiey.

It’s not easy to build a radio from scratch. Some students like Justin Johnson even put time in during the weekend.

“Justin met me in the weekend at my office with his wife to find an explanation why the radio did not work here in the ECE building and works great at home, ” said Elshafiey.

Despite the extra time required by the project, Johnson found it beneficial to his understanding of the course material.

 “Building the device itself was not difficult, but to obtain a clear, audible signal did require some effort,” said Johnson, “[Elshafiey’s] coupling of theory with a hardware project really helped to bring things together for me.”

Elshafiey marvels at his students, “Most of them have multiple responsibilities; studying, working part time or even full time and some of them have families and kids, this is really amazing, he said.

Elshafiey seems to understand that engineers have a unique way of looking at life, something he likes to call “engineering sense.” He summed it up this way, “If you are a poet and I am an engineer and we are both buying a new car, you might say this car has a beautiful shape and wonderful romantic,­ red color. I, on the other hand, would say it is reliable and has good MPG.”



How do you spell success? Try A-M-E-R-E-M

The AMEREM 2014 High Power Electromagnetics conference wrapped up its work on July 31 after a four-day run in the auditorium and meetings rooms of the UNM SUB.

"We had 175 attendees from 25 countries," said Edl Schamiloglu, ECE professor and conference general chair, "I received only positive comments from people regarding the technical sessions, the tours, the reception and the awards banquet."

AMEREM was the creation of Dr. Carl E. Baum who served as Distinguished Research Professor at ECE from 2005 until his death in 2010. The conference is a gathering of scientists and engineers whose name is coined from the word America and the abbreviation for “electromagnetics” (EM).

“Although there are many conferences that cover electromagnetics, AMEREM is uniquely focused on High Power Electromagnetics,” said Schamiloglu. “UNM came across first class”

Baum fashioned another EM conference in Europe known as EUROEM: The two conferences alternate between North America and Europe so there is an electromagnetics conference taking place every four years in each continent.  At this year’s AMEREM it was announced that yet another electromagnetics conference will be held for the first time in Asia on Jeju Island, South Korea.  And this, of course, will be called ASIAEM 2015.

 “Although there are many conferences that cover electromagnetics and aspects of electromagnetics, the AMEREM, EUROEM, ASIAEM series is uniquely focused on High Power Electromagnetics,” said Schamiloglu, “This is an important technical area in the State of New Mexico since Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the University of New Mexico all have important programs dedicated to High Power Electromagnetics.”

To ECE graduate student Julie Lawrence, Baum's last PhD candidate before he passed away, presenting her paper at AMEREM 2014 was especially poignant.

"I wish Carl Baum were still alive to see the work that I am doing now. I miss his presence and extensive knowledge. Presenting at this conference gave me an opportunity to get invaluable feedback from my peers," she said.

Not all the presenters at the conference were seasoned veterans or professional engineers. Undergraduates Sydney Horne and Ahmed ElShafiey presented a poster at the conference on the subject of "EM Fields Produced from Over-Voltaged Spark Gaps." Both students work under the guidance of Research Professor Sal Portillo.

"This was my first poster presentation," said Horne who is a junior studying biophysics, "This was an excellent growth and learning opportunity for me."

"This conference gave me the chance to design circuits and simulate them which allowed me to gain experience in my field of study," said ElShafiey, a sophomore at ECE, "I made a lot of great connections that I can hopefully collaborate with in the future."

Ryan Hoffman, an attendee from the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, VA found the conference to be unique, “I was impressed by the fundamental nature of the work compared to most other conferences in this area.” Peter Zwamborne, from the The Hague, Netherlands said, “I return home with a lot of new ideas and scientific inspiration provided during the presentations and follow up discussions with my friends.”

Thanks to the support of ECE and others, AMEREM’s success and will be an inspiration to engineers and scientists entering the field of High Power Electromagnetics.

“UNM came across first class,” said Schamiloglu.

The following is a photographic record of the events that occurred at AMEREM 2014:

To read more about Carl Baum and his special relationship with UNM and ECE, please click here.



Mancuso Says FE Exam Opens Doors for Grads

When Tony Mancuso sets his mind on doing something, it’s pretty much as good as done.

The big difference between Mancuso and most students is that he entered ECE at age 46, making him a “non-traditional student.” He is now part of a team in Alaska that is responsible for the design, maintenance and upgrades of the state’s communications system.

“I worked hard [at ECE] and had the benefit of experience and wisdom — things my classmates worked without,” said Mancuso. “It was great to compete and collaborate with my ECE friends. I was inspired by their questioning of everything and their persistence in finding answers.”

Though Mancuso enjoyed his previous career, his desire to learn motivated him to go back to school.

“I liked the work but there were many things I wanted to understand that could only be learned through study,” said Mancuso.

In his three years at ECE Mancuso earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) as a full-time student while working as an intern at Sandia National Laboratories.

He graduated in May 2014 and started working for the State of Alaska in July 2014.

Tony recommends that graduates take the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam  (FE). It is a $225 test, which is the first step in the process leading to the Professional Engineer (PE) license.

Just like becoming a CPA defines an accountant and "passing the bar" allows a student to practice law, a PE gives a person the authority to sign and seal engineering plans and provide services to the public.

“I learned that the FE Exam certifies an engineering graduate to serve as an engineer in training and is the first step in obtaining a PE license,” said Mancuso. 

Mancuso is well on his way to becoming a professional engineer now that he has earned his BSEE and has passed the FE and he’s working as hard as ever. He’s even considering an EE-masters program in atmospheric effects on electromagnetic wave propagation.

“I thought things would slow down after school but after a slow and peaceful drive to Alaska, the pace is nice and fast, just as I need it.  Living the dream,” he said.



UNM and UC3M Sign Double Degree Program

The UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah and the President of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), Daniel Peña, have signed a double degree program agreement within both universities together with the UNM Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the UC3M School of Engineering.   

The agreement allows UNM students pursuing an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering to also obtain an M.S. in Telecommunications or Multimedia and Communications at UC3M in Spain. Students of UC3M pursuing one of these degrees in Spain, can also obtain an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UNM.

UNM students wanting to obtain a Master in Telecommunications must pass 30 credit hours corresponding to one of the ECE paths, and then spend a year at UC3M, where they need to take four specific courses, taught in English, an d complete their Masters’ thesis.

Manel Martínez-Ramón, Prince of Asturias Endowed Chair at UNM and Ramiro Jordán, Associate Professor, have been working to establish relationships between UNM and UC3M. Martínez-Ramón says that though classes will differ from the courses that would be taken at UNM, they will enrich students’ education.

“This is actually good because they will acquire knowledge in courses that have been developed with different objectives, to educate professionals with profiles that are quite different from the ones of the university of origin,” said Martínez-Ramón, “This will broaden the capacities of the students, and their scope.”

In addition to educational enrichment, this program will help students to develop new perspectives.

“I wish I had a penny for each time I heard, ‘In this country people live better than in any other,’ in Spain, the USA, France, Germany, and in other countries,” said Martínez-Ramón, “Living abroad makes you get rid of the concepts ‘better’ and ‘worse’ to adopt concepts like ‘different.’”

Martínez-Ramón also says that this exchange program will benefit students on the UNM campus.

“Studying abroad is not only a benefit for those who travel, but also for those who host the students,” said Martinez-Ramon, “Talking, living and sharing things with foreigners of any country is always an enriching experience that benefits the society.”

This is an opportunity for UNM students to obtain an additional M.S. valid in Europe, and to get immersed in the culture and language of Spain.

Students who are interested in joining the program should contact either Manel Martínez-Ramón or Ramiro Jordán.


Christodoulou, Blaunstein Pen Second Edition

Nothing spells sweet success like a second edition, especially in academia where textbooks aren't selling like hotcakes. This feat is particularly noteworthy when the subject matter is microwaves — which can hardly be called light reading.

ECE Professsor Christos Christodoulou’s book, Radio Propagation and Adaptive Antennas for Wireless Communication Networks, recently achieved the milestone of a second edition and he’s feeling good about it, “It is one of the most updated and most thorough books in this area,” he said proudly.

The book was published by John Wiley & Sons, a global publishing company founded in 1807 that specializes in academic publishing. According to Kai Chang, editor of the Wiley Series in Microwave and Optical Engineering, which included Christodoulou’s book, the book was originally published in October 2006 and several thousand of them have been sold to “professional people and for classroom use as a textbook.”

Chang, who also serves as a professor at Texas A&M University said that Christodoulou’s book is “a very good book [and] has lots of theoretical background for people working in this area. It also has practical applications.”

The first edition of the book was very popular among radio engineers and designers of wireless communication links because it allowed them to predict grade of service, quality of service and the information data rate that passed each individual link.

Christodoulou co-authored the book with Nathan Blaunstein, a professor at the Communication Systems Engineering Department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba, Israel. Christodoulou and Blaunstein shared the responsibility of writing the book equally.

“I wrote chapters regarding radio propagation in different media and on various wireless systems,” said Blaunstein,  “Christos dealt with chapters and parts of chapters regarding antennas and their applications in various wireless systems.”

“Christos was the first who understood the usefulness of such a unified technique for successful applications in wireless communication systems beyond 3-G (4-G and more),” said Blaunstein

Blaunstein left the former USSR in and immigrated to Israel in 1992. He first met Christodoulou in Calfornia in 1995. “He asked me a lot of questions on my report regarding radio propagation scenarios in built-up communication environment. He first suggested for me to use a general theory of radio wave propagation, based on statistical and quantum electrodynamics, in specific engineering fields, mostly for adaptive/smart multi-beam antennas applications.”

Christodoulou has worked with Blaunstein for over 10 years. UNM and Ben-Gurion University have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on mutual scientific and educational collaboration.

Blaunstein said that his collaboration with Christodoulou has lead to important findings that will be added to the book in the new second addition.

Christos was the first who understood the usefulness of such a unified technique for successful applications in wireless communication systems beyond 3-G (4-G and more),” said Blaunstein, “Obtaining very serious, practical results with him, we decided to introduce these very important results in the second edition of our joint book.”

No doubt these results in the second edition of their book will be hailed with as much fervor as those presented in the first edition.





Deconstructing (and Revitalizing) the ECE Dept.

There’s change (and dust) in the air at the ECE building these days. A lot of these changes are due to construction, but some of them are much more subtle. And that’s where ECE’s new marketing director, Sarah Lynas, comes in.

Lynas was a student at the Communication and Journalism Department who was recently hired by chair Jane Lehr after she presented a campaign to enhance the image of ECE as part of a class project.

Tired, old display cases and worn-out chairs have been sent to salvage and the walls are being patched and prepped for a long-overdue new coat of paint.

“The goal of the new campaign is to increase enrollment and revitalize the department’s image,” said Lynas, “as well as to really showcase who engineers are at ECE and what they’re doing.”

Lynas is a senior studying strategic communication and applied math. She hopes to help create a new, cohesive image for the department.

Lynas has discovered that our ECE students are doing a lot more than just hitting the books. ECE students write poetry, snowboard, and so much more, she is eager to showcase these talents. On Thursday, May 27, the first poster from the new campaign went up in the ECE foyer. The new poster showcases the work of graduate student, Gangadharan Esakki.

She is also hard at work on a poster that features the talent of our resident snowboarder, Grant Heileman.

Other changes at ECE are happening to the building itself. The department is determined to make the building a more comfortable and efficient place to work and study.

High efficiency LEDs have taken the place of fluorescent tubes in dark stairwells.

“They are Lithonia’s premier fixtures,” said electrician Ryan Ralson.

Each fixture costs about $120 and he has installed 100 of them in the building. The renovations are being paid for by UNM.

“The new lighting should pay for themselves in energy savings fairly quickly,” said Ralston.

Classrooms and offices light up after a person passes through a doorway making old-fashioned light switches a thing of the past. The new switches are wireless.

Contractors are tearing out old ductwork and replacing them with new and shiny, digitally controlled air handlers that will improve the building’s heating and cooling.

According to David Modisette, the building manager and part-time ECE instructor, changing out the building’s “air flow routing” is a work in progress and it will take some time before the work is completed.

“I think the construction workers are doing as well as possible, given that the building is occupied,” said Modisette, “When this is completed there will be significant energy savings and people will have better control over their work space temperature and lighting. The new vents will also eliminate the loud banging caused by the old baffle actuators.”

Modisette’s third floor office is a chilly 66 degrees while the temperature in the first floor offices is so hot that many of the staff have set up temporary fans that were leftover from a previous building crisis.

“That’s because the HAC guys are installing the ductwork,” said Ralston. “After that’s done, we’ll install the electrical power that the control guys will use for the systems that control the air conditioning. And then UNM will be able to control the building remotely.”

Modisette and Ralston said all these changes to the building will be completed at the end of July.





Robot Fiesta: Daryl Lee Makes It Look Easy

Over 60 students crammed into the ECE118 conference room on Thurs., May 14, 2014 for Robot Fiesta. Their mission: To show how their little androids can successfully and independently, follow one of three paths that were taped out on a conference table. The awards were bragging rights and a grade.

The professor was Daryl Lee, a lecturer at ECE, and the class was “Fundamentals of Programming, “ECE 131. This joyous, and somewhat chaotic event, took place on the final exam day.

“We use robots for the primary purpose of showing the students how quickly they can get into programming electromechanical devices, and not be stuck with just printing text to a computer screen,” said Lee.

His expectations were high but Lee understands, better than most, how difficult this task really is. When asked what these robots were supposed to do, he joked, “They’re supposed to not fall off the table.”

During his free time, Lee sings in "Quintessence-Choral Artists of the Southwest." He likes to compare the software engineer’s task to that of a concert pianist.

“(Our job) is to make fairly complex work appear easy . . . The computer cannot read our minds; we must be very specific about every little thing, ” said Lee.

That task is daunting and the work of a software engineer can be frustrating but Lee said the rewards are huge.

“When the switch is flipped on, and that little monster begins following the path, the feeling of success is unbeatable,” said Lee.

After four years of teaching, Lee still enjoys watching his students’ robots.

“I've worked on devices of much higher levels of sophistication.  Even though I still get a rush when some new software works right, every semester I'm reminded of what it feels like to slay that first dragon. The looks on the students’ faces are its own reward,” said Lee.

As the robot fiesta drew to an end, a frustrated student complained that her robot was moving much too slowly down its path. Lee responded by saying that despite that fact, the robot was on course and moving “nice and smooth.”

“Well,” conceded the student, “I guess it works . . .”

“There’s a lot to be said for that,” said Lee.

Md. Mottaleb Hossain Wins 2K and Prestige in Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship

Md. Mottaleb Hossain, a CHTM and OSE-ECE graduate student, has won the prestigious 2014 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship from the International Society for Optics and Photonics. He was awarded $2,000 for his potential contributions to the field of optics and photonics.

Mottaleb has been a mentor to a number of undergraduate and high-school students working on research projects at CHTM. He has donated his time generously to many outreach activities at CHTM and OSE.

Mottaleb received Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering (EEE) from Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET), Bangladesh in 2009. He is now pursuing PhD in Optical Science and Engineering (OSE) at UNM.

Mottaleb works with ECE Professor Majeed M. Hayat, CHTM Associate Director and OSE General Chair and Fellow of SPIE, OSA, and IEEE on modeling, design, fabrication, and characterization of CMOS compatible avalanche photodiodes (APDs) and integrated plasmonic detectors to be used in smart-lighting applications. His research work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Smart Lighting-Engineering Research Center (ERC).

Mottaleb is the newly elected President of the Optical Society of America's UNM Student Chapter (OSA-UNM) for 2014-2015. He also served as the Vice President of OSA-UNM Student Chapter for the period of 2013-2014. He is an active graduate student member of many professional and learned societies including SPIE, OSA, IEEE, IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), IEEE EDS, and Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB).

Poster Session in ECE Lobby Prepares Students

Poster sessions can usually be found at most scientific conferences but now, thanks to a couple of energetic ECE professors, they are becoming a regular feature in our department.

Ten teams of four students squeezed into the lobby of ECE on May 1 to show off their posters to the rest of the community. This poster session marked the culmination of 32 weeks of instruction in the Senior Design class taught by Edward Nava, professor at ECE.

They were joined by the 10 member team of the newly instituted, multi-disciplinary Senior Design class taught by Dr. Rich Compeau.

“Students will be making posters for the rest of their careers and displaying them at conferences and meetings,” said Nava. “As professional engineers, they will need to clearly summarize their work to people who are unfamiliar with it.”

The Senior Design course teaches students how to make posters and communicate their projects within a 24”x36” space. Students also learn to work in teams whose members have a variety of different technical backgrounds.

“The Senior Design course teaches students how to apply their technical skills to real-world problems,” said Nava. “They learn how to plan and manage projects that are more extensive than the typical course assignments that they have experienced thus far.

“The key to success of this program is having sponsors who are willing to pose technical problems to the teams and provide technical guidance.  We are fortunate to have support from local firms, but there is always a need for additional sponsors.”

Nava encourages organizations to contact him if they would like to sponsor a project for future senior design classes. He can be reached by e-mail at ejnava@unm.edu.

“Swap” Wins UNM Sigma Xi Excellence Award

Swapnadip Ghosh,  a fourth year doctoral student at ECE, has won the “Excellence in Graduate Research Award” from the UNM Chapter of Sigma Xi.

Sigma Xi, an international honor society with strong ties with IEEE, is an international honor society that recognizes undergraduates and graduate students for excellence and outstanding research in science and engineering.

Swapnadip (or “Swap” to his friends) is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including a best student speaker award and Dorothy M. and Earl S. Hoffman Travel Grant award by the American Vacuum Society. He has authored and co-authored in ten peer-reviewed journals including Applied Physics Letters and IEEE Electron Device Letters.

Swapnadip has presented his research in over 20 international conference meetings and his research has brought four United State patents to fruition. He plans to pursue his Postdoctoral research work on thin-film, low-cost photovoltaic devices based on III-V semiconductors.

"This award is recognition of my scholarly accomplishments by a scientific society from UNM. It acknowledges the fact that my research work is gradually making some impact in the scientific community. The ECE department — and especially CHTM— has allowed me to broaden my research skills and dexterity beyond my coursework," said Swapnadip whose hobbies include working out, hiking, and “occasionally looking through Journals."

Swapnadip’s dissertation, "Germanium Based Epitaxy, Devices and Ge Based QDs for Next Generation Technologies,” is being supervised by Prof.  Sang M. Han.

Swapnadip will be honored at a ceremony hosted by Sigma Xi on May 19. At that ceremony Swapnadip will receive a certificate and will then be initiated into Sigma Xi as a new member. 

“Swap is then responsible to organize a lecture within his department,” said Kelly Monteleone, secretary for the organization, and postdoctoral fellow at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. “At this lecture Swap will receive a check for $100.”

ECE Students Regina Eckert, Artem Kuskov and Siva Patibandla Win School of Engineering Awards

Three outstanding, well-rounded students from ECE were honored at the 2014 SOE Awards Banquet held on Fri., May 9th. The awards presentation took place at 11 a.m. in the auditorium of the Centennial Engineering Center and was followed by a delicious, Brazilian-style lunch in the courtyard.

Here are ECE’s proud award winners. Let’s get to know them a little better:

Regina F. Eckert (Outstanding Junior Award)

Regina Eckert is studying for a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering with a focus in optoelectronics. Over the past two years, she has worked as a student intern at Sandia National Laboratories, researching the use of waveform correlation techniques for seismic signal processing. She is currently working with a group involved in developing state-of-the-art focal plane array technology. She plans to pursue a master's degree after graduating in Spring 2015, and hopes to continue to do research throughout her future career.

Regina is an avid reader, black & white film photographer, and aspiring writer. One of her short stories was published in the 2011-2012 edition of Conceptions Southwest, a UNM student magazine.

“I have enjoyed the innumerable hours I have spent in the ECE department, and I am looking forward to another year full of interesting projects and new topics.” said Regina.

Artem Kuskov (Outstanding Senior Award)

Artem Kuskov is a senior undergraduate Electrical Engineering student with an Electromagnetics track. For the past 15 months he has been a research assistant in the beams physics laboratory working on a magnetically insulated accelerator, numerical simulations of radiation transport and X-ray as well as RF diagnostic development. His current Pulsed Power project involves the design of a high voltage Marx generator for low impedance high power microwave sources.

Tem has presented his work at the 2013 International Conference of Plasma Science and has received an award to attend this year’s International Plasma and Beams Conference in Washington D.C., where he will be giving an oral presentation on his current work. His work will also be presented at the upcoming 2014 AMEREM conference. He has published in the conference proceedings as well as on the Nuclear Plasma Science Society newsletter and is working on an accelerator paper for a peer reviewed journal.

Tem will be working in the High Power Electrodynamics Group in the Accelerator Technology division at Los Alamos National Laboratory and will continue with his Graduate academic studies at the University of New Mexico’s Electrical Engineering Charged Particle Beams and Plasma Laboratories, where he will focus on radiation transport physics and radiographic sources.

Siva Tharun Patibandla (Outstanding Graduate Student Award)

Siva Patibandla is a Graduate electrical engineering student with an emphasis in power and energy. He worked on the Solar decathlon, which brought in collegiate teams from all around the world to design sustainable, smart housing. He helped to design and deploy the photovoltaic system and the control system of the house that the UNM team built. Siva presented his work at the 2013 American solar energy society held in Baltimore. He also conducted a test on the Microgrid at the Solar Decathlon village with a team of engineers that was lead by ECE Prof. Olga Lavrova.

“What made this a unique test is the fact that there was 100% PV penetration,” said Siva. His work was submitted to the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid Issue on Distributed Energy Management Systems. He is also simulating the Microgrid in two different softwares: OpenDss and ETAP. Siva strives to understand the effects of electric car integration in to the grid in the near future and his aim is to work in the renewable energy industry once he graduates.



“Ground State” Business Plan Wins $20,000

Five ECE students won second place in the UNM Business Plan Competition that recently took place at the Anderson School of Management.

The ECE students were Justin Johnston (BS EE), Conrad Woidyla (BS Comp E), Alexandria Haddad (MBA & BS Comp E), John-Mark Collins (BS Comp E), and Julian Lucero (BS Comp E). Michelle Urban (MBA from Anderson) was also part of the team.

The ECE team, which calls itself “Ground State,” competed against 12 other teams in a University-wide competition. They presented their business plans to 40+ venture capitalists and angel investors who picked the winners.

"Creating the business plan for an engineering product idea was a great learning experience," said team member Alexandria Haddad. "It reinforced everything that we have been studying over the last four years in ECE, and put a clear perspective on the business aspect that is involved in bringing a great product to market."

Ground State is a “big data company” which, according to Creighton Glenn of ECE’s Innovation Plaza is “a company that collects information from multiple users and derives useful suggestions for better living.”

Ground State’s prize-winning consumer product is Drive Pilot™ — a device that attaches to any vehicle made after 1996 and captures driving metrics such as speed, RPM, GPS location, and throttle position which users can access in real time. This information is used to encourage safe driving behaviors for new drivers, assist small business with fleet management, and more.

Ground State won a $20,000 cash prize, $3,500 that will be used for lawyers’ services and a year of virtual office space that will all be used to accelerate the growth of their business. The team was awarded their prize at a reception and banquet at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Albuquerque.

Justin Johnston, the Chief Technology Officer of Ground State said, “We would like to thank Dr. Ramiro Jordan and Dr. Kamil Agi for the mentorship during the initial phases of exploring the business idea.

“It is exciting to have world class professors that are genuinely interested in the success of their students here in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at UNM,” said Johnston.

Ground State also won first place in the Pitch Fiesta 2.0 sponsored by Startup New Mexico, a statewide effort led by entrepreneurs to support the growth of startups throughout New Mexico.

Elmyra Grelle Wins the 2014 SOE Staff Award!

Elmyra Grelle, Coordinator of the Graduate Program at ECE, has won the prestigious 2013-2014 School of Engineering Staff Award. She will receive a check for $1,000 and a handsome plaque at the Student Staff Awards Banquet on Fri., May 9 from 11 am to 1:30 pm at the Centennial Engineering Center.

“The competition this year was extraordinary, making the selection process a difficult one,” said Dr. Joseph Cecchi, Dean of the School of Engineering.

Elmyra manages the application process for incoming graduate students and the degree process for those already enrolled. She advises and assists them as they navigate their way through their individual programs. She also maintains their records and processes their contracts.

"Elmyra is one of the hardest workers I know," said co-worker Yvone' Nelson. "She is always juggling multiple responsibilities and deadlines. She gives high priority to her graduate students and takes great care of them. In fact, many lovingly refer to her as their mom."

"Outside of my children, my greatest accomplishment has been making a difference in the lives of students,” said Elmyra. “I have worked with students from kindergarten to college and that's a lot of students!"

Elmyra was born and raised in Albuquerque. "I'm a two time New Mexico State alumni, carrying on a long family tradition of attending NMSU,” she said proudly.

Elmyra taught in public and private schools for 12 years before joining ECE in 2006. "I love working with the graduate students because of their desire to pursue an advanced degree, their enthusiasm about their research and their multi-national backgrounds," she said.


COSMIAC Wins America Makes Award and is Hoping to Develop a “Star Trek Replicator”

COSMIAC, a research division of the School of Engineering with strong ties to ECE, just received word that they will become part of an America Makes Award in conjunction with Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and the University of Texas at El Paso.

COSMIAC will develop new and innovative projects with Additive Manufacturing — popularly known as 3-D printing. 3-D printing has grown in great strides in the past few years with a new machine costing about the same as a decent LaserJet printer.

COSMIAC stands for the "Configurable Space Microsystems Innovations and Applications Center." It promotes aerospace innovation through the reliable and responsible use of configurable technology in military and defense systems.

Craig Kief, an Adjunct Professor at ECE, is in charge of the academic programs and design services of COSMIAC. "Right now all we do is print plastic widgets, like cups, bowls and forks, not intelligent widgets,” said Mr. Kief. “What we now want to do is produce a Star Trek replicator: We want to print a radio. Not just a handle on a car, but a radio on a car!"

What makes this grant so much more exciting to COSMIAC is that it involves printing electronics into 3-D material. “3-D printing is a new industrial revolution,” said Brian Zufelt, a research engineer at COSMIAC, “Decades ago I would have had to invest tens of thousands of dollars to create a prototype. Now with 3-D printing I can design parts, enclosures and real hardware, for a couple bucks.”

Shown below right are two examples of COSMIAC’s futuristic research. These cubeset structures, which hold the electronics of a satellite, were made using 3-D printing technology by UTEP.

The first is an antenna that was printed into the wall of a spacecraft that was similar to UNM's first satellite, launched in 2013. The second example is a solar panel that was printed into the wall of a spacecraft.

This novel form of printing helps to reduce the risk of exposed wiring being crimped or accidentally cut. It also achieves reductions in size and weight in a spaceship — which are critical to the success of aerospace applications.

America Makes, one of the sponsors of COSMIAC’s award, is focused on helping UNM grow its capabilities and strength in 3-D printing by collaborating with academia, business, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

To learn more about COSMIAC and the sort of things that they are doing over there, please check out the following video that was aired back in 2011:


ECE Professor Greg Heileman Teaches UNM’s First MOOC Class: Web Application Architecture

Imagine teaching a class in web application architecture to over 33,000 students! That’s exactly what ECE Professor Greg Heileman began doing on March 24.

Dr. Heileman is teaching a MOOC — which stands for “Massive Online Open Course” — and it’s the first of its kind to be offered at UNM.

UNM has partnered with coursera.org and 108 institutions worldwide to provide Dr. Heileman’s class to anybody who wishes to take it, free of charge. “We envision a future where everyone has access to a world-class education,” says the coursera.org website.

Students will learn on their own schedule, watch short video lectures, take interactive quizzes, complete peer graded assessments and connect with their teachers and classmates.

“This course is not about how to build a pretty web page, it's about how to build and deploy the full stack of protocols and technologies associated with a complete web app,” said Dr. Heileman.

Dr. Heilman explains the goals of his MOOC in the following video:


Anybody with a computer can register for the class, at no cost, by clicking this link

Dr. Heilman’s groundbreaking efforts to create UNM’s first MOOC has garnered lots of well-written local media attention. The Albuquerque Journal’s story can be accessed by clicking this link and UNM’s coverage of the story can be found here

You can also watch a TV news story that recently aired on KOAT here



ECE Professor Daniel Feezell Publishes GaN VCSEL Review in Compound Semiconductor

Daniel Feezell’s six-page, full-color article entitled “The Evolving GaN VCSEL” was published in this month’s Compound Semiconductor (Vol 20, No. 1), a trade magazine based in the UK with an international print circulation of 60,000. 

Dr. Feezell’s article can also be found at the Compound Semiconductor’s website which can be accessed by clicking this link

(A compound semiconductor is made from two or more elements — in contrast to a normal semiconductor which is made from silicon.)

This review provides an overview of progress and challenges for GaN-based vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), which typically emit light in the violet to green region of the optical spectrum.  These devices are finding applications in high-density optical data storage, chemical and biological sensing, and high-resolution printing.

Dr. Feezell’s article is important because of the far-reaching exposure that his words will receive: A paper that is written at a conference only reaches a select audience. This article, however, has the potential of capturing the attention of engineers and their management on a global scale. 

The Magazine Compound Semiconductor touts itself as being the “leading provider of news, analysis, opinion, information and services for the worldwide Compound Semiconductor industry since 1995.”


Feb. 21 Solar Open House is a Dazzling Success

Over 100 people attended the ECE Solar Open House at Mesa Del Sol on Fri., Feb. 21, 2014 from noon until 3 p.m. 

Upon their arrival, visitors snacked on treats and walked through the $285,000 structure.

Later, UNM President Robert Frank and Provost Chaouki Abdallah acted as keynote speakers during a ceremony held in an adjoining tent. They introduced a host of politicians and corporate dignitaries to the overflow crowd.

Known as the SHADE house (short for “Solar Homes Adapting for Desert Equilibrium”) participants in the Open House were able to study, first-hand, a luxurious structure that can produce more energy than it consumes.

Originally constructed as part of the Solar Decathalon (a collegiate competition sponsored by the US Dept. of Energy), ECE partnered with Arizona State University to form a team that designed and built the structure.

“This was the first time UNM participated in the Solar Decathlon and we are proud of the result,” said UNM President Robert Frank during his welcome and opening remarks.  “(We were) working and competing shoulder-to-shoulder with other excellent Universities.” Frank then welcomed distinguished visitors from the Congressional Offices of Ben Ray Lujan and Senator Martin Heinrich.

 “Students had to live in this house for 10 days, cook food, wash dishes, wash and dry clothes,” marveled Chaouki Abdallah, UNM Provost. “They also had to have heat or air-conditioning – all while being monitored for how much energy and water was being used.” Abdallah proceded to introduce officials from PNM, Sandia National Labs, Sacred Power and the developer of Mesa del Sol.

Finally, ECE Prof. Olga Lavrova thanked her students for their hard work and invited everybody present to view and learn more about the SHADE house in small groups that were guided by her pupils.

Click here to see the Program for the Open House!

You can take an animated tour of the SHADE house by watching the following video that was created by the Anderson School of Management, IFDM and SA+P:

Jorge Torres, of Albuquerque KOB Eyewitness News 4, recently visited the solar home at Mesa Del Sol and filed this report (after a brief 15 second advertisement):


PhD Candidate Jose Marcio Luna Wins Amazon $21,000 Award Credit

In January 2014 ECE graduate student Jose Marcio Luna won a credit of $21,000 to carry out his experiments in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

"This award is very important for me because it indicates that I am on the right track and gives me the motivation to keep working," said Jose Marcio Luna during a recent interview.

Jose is originally from Colombia where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering at the District University of Bogota. He then earned a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering here, at ECE.

“I was born in the Colombian Caribbean coast which is well known for its beautiful mixture of Indigenous African and Spanish culture. These influences have shaped my ideas, perceptions and opinions of the surrounding reality,” said Jose who arrived at ECE from Columbia in the fall of 2007.

Elmyra Grelle, ECE graduate program coordinator at UNM, has worked with Jose since he arrived here after winning the Colfuturo Scholarship to pursue graduate studies. “Jose is very kind, courteous and helpful to other international students and has been diligent in earning his degrees,” said Grelle.

“I’m currently working on my PhD in Electrical Engineering with a PhD minor in Applied Mathematics under the supervision of Dr. Chaouki Abdallah. In my spare time I practice camping, hiking and rock climbing in the New Mexican mountains,” said Jose.

“My current research looks at the development of theoretical techniques to optimize the performance of computing systems by using Control Systems theory, Discrete Event Systems(DES) theory, optimization theory and Randomized Algorithms.”

Majeed Hayat and Sanjay Krishna Named IEEE Fellows

ECE faculty members Majeed Hayat and Sanjay Krishna have been named IEEE Fellows.

The IEEE is the world's largest technical professional society, with over 400,000 members. The IEEE was designed to serve professionals involved in all aspects of the electrical, electronic and computing fields and related areas of science and technology that underlie modern civilization. The number of Fellows elected in any given year is limited to 0.1% of the membership.

"The elevation of two of our ECE faculty in the Fellow Class of 2014 is a matter of considerable pride," said Jane Lehr, department chair. "The recognition of the outstanding technical accomplishments of Professors Sanjay Krishna and Majeed Hayat is a prestigious honor and an important career milestone."

Majeed Hayat, a professor at ECE, was recognized for his contributions to the modeling of impact ionization and noise in avalanche-photodiode devices. His research has helped ensure that consumer demand for higher data volume and speed within today’s computer networks are met.

Hayat pioneered techniques that have changed the way we look at avalanche photodiode photodetectors. His work on image-processing algorithms and thermal/spectral imaging have lead to the improvement and performance of inexpensive uncooled infrared imagers.

Sanjay Krishna, Director of the Center for High Technology Materials, joined ECE in 2001 and was recognized for his contributions to infrared detectors and focal plane arrays. His research into infrared sensing has helped firefighters locate people trapped in smoke-filled rooms and pilots find landing strips during bad weather.

Krishna's work has helped doctors non-invasively detect skin cancer, arthritis and diabetic neuropathy. His investigations into early skin cancer detection could help save millions of lives. He is best known for his development of novel midwave/longwave infrared detectors and focal plane arrays based on the quantum-dot-in-a-well design.

Both Hayat and Krishna received a beautifully matted and framed certificate bearing their names and a brief citation describing their accomplishments. They also received a congratulatory letter from the IEEE president and a gold sterling silver Fellow lapel pin with antique finish.

We invite those who would like to learn more to read the IEEE press releases that were recently published by the School of Engineering. To read Majeed Hayat's release, press this link. And to read about Sanjay Krishna's release, please press this link.

Dorca Lee Wins NASA/New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship

Dorca Lee, a PhD student in Dr. Rafael Fierro’s robotics lab won the NASA/New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship on December 16, 2013.

Dorca began her robotics research in July 2012, when she received an NSF grant that sent her to Brazil and allowed her the opportunity to collaborate with the computer science department at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, UFMG. While there, she developed an algorithm that controls the way a large number of robots navigate an area collectively without directly specifying movements for each individual.

Dorca wrote a proposal about this work to the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium and how her project could potentially improve the way planetary exploration is done at NASA. This preliminary and promising swarm segregation algorithm won her the NASA/New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship. With this award she hopes to make improvement to her research, run lab tests, and hopefully make robotic swarms a possibility in outer space.

Dorca arrived at UNM from ETH Zurich in 2012 where she was studying electrical engineering. She has Bachelors in physics and applied math, and a Masters in electrical engineering from FSU. She plans to pursue her PhD at UNM while working with Dr. Fierro’s robotics lab.

La Cueva High School’s Gifted Mentorship Program Rocks ECE!

Eight excited high school students visited the ECE Department on November 11. These budding young scientists and engineers were part of the La Cueva High School’s Gifted Mentorship Program.

The students eagerly explored the nooks and crannies of the ECE building and also visited the plasma physics lab, the x-ray studies lab and the VLSI lab.

The high schoolers were awed by the HelCat plasma device (which looks like something out of a science fiction movie) and their curiosity was further stoked by passionate college students and professors who shared their own experiences, hopes and dreams for the future.

After the tour the students met with mentors who helped identify their interests and prepare them for an academic adventure that will begin this spring at ECE. At that time these gifted students will start working with research teams who will further nurture their interests in Electrical and Computer Engineering and prepare them for the college experience.

Edward Nava is looking forward to talking to students (or their parents) who have an interest in this unique engineering journey. Ed can be reached by e-mail at ejnava@unm.edu or give him a call at (505) 277-0809.

UNM ECE Professor Receives Prestigious DARPA Young Faculty Award

Daniel Feezell, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently received a highly competitive DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA). The objective of the DARPA YFA program is to identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions at U.S. academic institutions and expose them to Department of Defense needs as well as DARPA’s program development process. [more]

UNM OSE-ECE and Smart Lighting ERC student is awarded SPIE Student Travel Grant 2013

UNM OSE-ECE and Smart lighting ERC PhD student, Md. Mottaleb Hossain, was awarded the prestigious SPIE Student Travel Grant to present his paper titled "Theoretical characteristics of 1.55 µm InN based quantum dot laser" at the SPIE Optics & Photonics Conference, San Diego, CA, USA, August 25-29, 2013. The SPIE Optics & Photonics Conference is the largest optical science and technology meeting in North America. Mr. Hossain was selected for this travel grant by the SPIE and the Symposium and Conference Chairs of the Optics & Photonics Symposium. [more]

ECE Prof. Zhen Peng Receives Young Scientist Awards

Zhen Peng, Assistant Professor in Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has recently received the Young Scientist Award of 2013 Asia-Pacific Radio Science Conference. He has also received the Young Scientist Award of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Commission B, 2013 International Symposium on Electromagnetic Theory. [more]

UNM School of Engineering Announces New Chair for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The UNM School of Engineering is pleased to announce that Jane Lehr will be joining the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as professor and chair on August 1, 2013. Lehr is an internationally respected researcher with a record of marked distinction and significant impact in the areas of pulsed power science and technology. She brings a commitment to education, extensive experience in administration and leadership, and well-honed interpersonal skills. Lehr received her Ph.D. in 1996 in Electrical Engineering from New York University-Polytechnic. [more]


UNM ECE Prof. Meeko Oishi Receives CAREER Award

Meeko Oishi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently received a highly sought-after National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. [more]




Professors Hayat, Mammoli and Ghani win $1.05M grant from DTRA to Support Smart Grid Research

Professors Majeed Hayat, Andrea Mammoli and Nasir Ghani have recently received a three-year $1.05 million grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to support basic research on understanding cascading failures in modern power grids. [more]






"Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that never has been."
—Theodore Von Kármán, co-founder, Caltech Jet Propulsion Lab