ECE Professor Larry Coldren receives the 2017 Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award from the Optical Society of America (OSA)

May 1st, 2017

Larry Coldren
Coldren given the recognition for his “major contributions to photonic integrated circuits” – the award is presented annually for significant contributions to optics based on semiconductor-based optical devices and materials, including basic science and technological applications

“This is indeed a major honor,” said Coldren, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in UCSB’s College of Engineering. “It is especially important to me, because it honors Professor Holonyak, who I have known and respected all of my professional career, and it is also endowed by Don Scifres with his wife and company, people I have also known and respected for a long time. We have all worked in similar areas for many years.”

“Larry Coldren has an extensive record of making important contributions in photonics, both as a world-renowned researcher and technological entrepreneur and as a teacher, as evidenced by his widely used photonics textbook,” said UCSB College of Engineering Dean Rod Alferness. “We at the College of Engineering offer Larry our warmest congratulations for receiving the OSA’s Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award for 2017.”

Coldren joined the ECE Department in 1984 and is also a professor of materials at UCSB. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the OSA and the Institute of Electronics Engineers in the UK. In addition, he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors.

Established in 1997, the OSA award honors Nick Holonyak, Jr., who has made distinguished contributions to the field of optics through the development of semiconductor based light emitting diodes and semiconductor lasers.

The UCSB Current – "An Illuminating Honor" (full article)

The Optical Society of America (OSA) – Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award

Coldren's COE Profile

ECE GSR Jiahao Kang receives a 2016 IEEE Electron Devices Society Ph.D. Student Fellowship Award

April 19th, 2017

photo of kang receiving his award
Kang is given the award for his outstanding early career work in the field of 2D electronics and is only the 2nd student from UCSB to receive the annual award in its 15-year history

“I am thrilled to receive this recognition from IEEE, and more so since it is the second time that a student from our group has won this highly competitive award,” said Kang. “I owe my success to the stimulating research environment in our group and to my advisor, Professor Kaustav Banerjee. I would like to thank him for his vision, mentorship and inspiration.”

Two-dimensional electronics emphasizes the electronic properties of materials — such as graphene — that are only a single atom thick. It is an emerging field of research that is notable because of the interesting new physics that emerges in two dimensions and the potential for discoveries and applications that can be derived from such materials.

“Jiahao’s doctoral research is focused on 2D materials, which is perhaps one of the most promising electronic material groups that can potentially replace conventional materials such as silicon and can revolutionize future generations of electronics, photonics and bioelectronics,” said Banerjee, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in UCSB’s College of Engineering.

According to Banerjee, Kang’s doctoral work spans fundamental materials physics, including the physics of contacts and interfaces to device design, and finally to experimental demonstration of applications uniquely enabled by these materials. “Among his several influential contributions, Jiahao has carried out crucial work on understanding the nature of electrical contacts to 2D materials, which has played an important role in achieving many significant results in this domain,” Banerjee said.

“I offer my sincere congratulations to Jiahao Kang for receiving this extraordinary student fellowship from the IEEE,” said Rod Alferness, dean of the College of Engineering. “It fills us with pride, both for him, and for Professor Banerjee and his laboratory, where student researchers receive the support and mentoring that enable them to reach the highest levels of achievement.”

The UCSB Current – "Early Recognition" (full article)

Jiahao Kang bio

Banerjee's Nano Research Lab

ECE Professor John Bowers receives a 2017 Central Coast Innovation Award from the Pacific Coast Business Times

April 3rd, 2017

Photo of John Bowers
Bowers given the Spirit of Innovation award

Bowers, an ECE Professor and Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency, is credited with leading a team that demonstrated an electrically pumped hybrid silicon laser a decade ago and has followed up with the other photonic elements needed for photonic integrated circuits. That advancement paved the way for commercial production of high-bandwidth silicon photonic devices, which greatly increase efficiency and speed of data transmission. Together with Alex Fang, Bowers started Aurrion in Goleta to develop the photonic integrated circuits needed in data centers. The company was acquired by Juniper Networks in August and continues to expand.

“I’m grateful for the award, and grateful for a group of smart, hard -working students who have pushed the frontiers of photonic integration,” said Bowers. His current research is aimed at integrating electronics and photonics on silicon, simultaneously solving the need for low-cost, high-volume, high-capacity photonic interconnects and for higher-capacity input/output on processors, switches, and memory.

“I am extremely pleased that John Bowers has been recognized with this Innovation Award from the Pacific Coast Business Times, because he epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit the college values so highly,” said Rod Alferness, dean of the College of Engineering. “On the one hand, he pursues innovative research to solve one of the grand challenges of the Digital Age — meeting society’s demand for ever-expanding amounts of data delivered faster and more efficiently. On the other, he applies himself to taking solutions to the marketplace, where they have tremendous benefits.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony held March 16 in conjunction with StartUp Village, which highlighted 31 local startup companies.

The Central Coast Innovation Awards were launched in 2016 “to capture the special aspects of the startup revolution that’s sweeping the region, the state and, indeed, the nation.” The awards are given “to recognize the distinctive startup culture that’s redefining Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.”

Article from The College of Engineering — “Innovation Award for Director of UCSB Institute for Energy Efficiency”

Pacific Coast Business Times (announcement)

Bowers' COE Profile

Bowers' Optoelectronics Research Group

ECE Professor Umesh Mishra receives the 2017 Distinguished Educator Award from IEEE MTT-S

March 27th, 2017

Photo of Umesh Mishra

Mishra receives the award for his work in high-efficiency electronics from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (IEEE MTT-S)

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology. The Distinguished Educator Award recognizes an educator in the field of microwave engineering and science who exemplifies the special human qualities of the late Fred J. Rosenbaum, who considered teaching a high calling and dedicated his life to serving MTT-S and the students who study it.

“It is an honor to receive an educator award, since teaching is our primary business,” Mishra said. “We do research not only for the sake of research, but also as a means to educate, otherwise, we’d only have professional engineers working in our labs. Research is a means to a good education, so while it is thrilling to be recognized for doing good research, I feel very honored, humbled, and happy to receive this teaching award. It also makes me think of the many people in our department who deserve this as much or more than I do.”

Over the past twenty years, Mishra has played a key role in collaborative research that has led to multiple breakthroughs in LEDs at UCSB’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center, as well as in microwave and power electronics, often as part of projects funded by the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the Office of Naval Research. He is currently focused on increasing the efficiency of electronics having applications in the booming electric-vehicle industry, microwave, RADAR and communications, and the emerging Internet of Things.

UCSB College of Engineering (Article)

IEEE MTT-S Distinguished Educator Award

MIshra's COE Profile

ECE graduate student Arif Gungor receives 2nd place at UCSB’s Art of Science competition

March 22nd, 2017

Photo of Arif Gungor's Crack Range
Art of Science winners, including Gungor from ECE Professor Nadir Dagli’s group, share the beauty of science through imagery describing some aspect of their research. Competition sponsored by ECE Professor John Schuller’s lab and other groups.

Seeking to encourage researchers to express the joy of scientific discovery through aesthetics, UC Santa Barbara again held its Art of Science competition. About 1,400 members of the campus community voted in the fourth annual contest sponsored by ECE Professor Jon Schuller’s Lab, the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships at the California NanoSystems Institute, the College of Creative Studies and the UCSB Library.

From the 56 entries, four winners and six honorable mentions were chosen. Graduate students took win, place and show. Nicole Leung and Tyler Ogunmowo of the Craig Montell Lab received first place for “Neuronas o árboles?” Arif Gungor, who works with Nadir Dagli, vice chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded second place for “Crack Range.”

The Art of Science initiative recognizes the creative and experimental nature of science and challenges UCSB researchers to visually communicate the beauty inherent in scientific investigations. Participants in the competition use everything from photographs to spectroscopic images to data visualizations to reflect their discoveries.

All of the artwork will be exhibited at the UCSB Library beginning on July 28.

The UCSB Current — "The Aesthetics of Scientific Discovery" (full article)

Art of Science (website)

U.S. News & World Report magazine ranks UCSB’s Electrical & Computer Engineering and College of Engineering among the “2018 Best Engineering Graduate Schools”

March 20th, 2017

Photo of US News
ECE ranks #13 and the COE at #10 among public institutions

In addition to the current graduate program rankings, the magazine’s 2017 listing of the “Top 30 Public National Universities” places UCSB at No. 8. Among the “Best National Universities,” which includes both public and private institutions, UCSB came in at No. 37.

“I am pleased that UC Santa Barbara’s graduate programs have once again been recognized as among the best in the world,” said Carol Genetti, dean of UCSB’s Graduate Division. “The research conducted by our graduate students across disciplines in the sciences, social sciences and humanities is both inspirational and impactful.”

Noted Rod Alferness, dean of the university’s College of Engineering: “We’re delighted at these latest U.S. News rankings for the UCSB College of Engineering, and especially for our widely recognized Materials (#3 overall and #1 public) program. Rankings always include some level of subjectivity and can only tell part of the story, and I’m extremely pleased about the entire story of UCSB engineering, where strong faculty, highly motivated students, and unwavering support for cutting-edge research combine to ensure that breakthroughs occur in every department and our graduates become thriving professionals.”

The U.S. News rankings are based on a weighted average of various measures, some specific to the particular program. The rankings generally include an assessment by peers, with measures of faculty quality and resources, student selectivity, research activity and several other factors.

Highlights of the graduate school rankings are included in the current issue of U.S. News & World Report and in the 2018 edition of its America’s Best Graduate Schools as well as on the magazine’s website.

U.S. News & World Report — "Best Graduate Schools"

The UCSB Current — "U.S. News Ranks UCSB Grad Programs Among the Top" (full article)

UCSB College of Engineering

ECE Prof. Larry Coldren’s recent research achievements published in OSA’s Optics Express and featured as a Research Highlight in Nature Photonics

March 8th, 2017

coldren research image
Coldren and his Optoelectronics Technology Center (OTC) as well as other research teams recognized for accomplishments related to “on-chip optical frequency synthesis”

Since the first demonstration in 2000, optical frequency synthesis using self-referenced optical combs have emerged worldwide for novel civilian and defense applications. Due to the large size, relative fragility, and high cost of these components and systems, however, precise optical frequency synthesis so far has been limited to lab-scale experiments. The paper in OSA’s Optics Express reports on the experimental demonstration of an agile chip-scale optical frequency synthesizer (OFS) achieved by phase-locking an on-chip widely tunable semiconductor lasers to spectrally pure optical frequency comb. New generations of optical frequency control technology could enable a wide range of applications in optical spectroscopy, gas sensing, LIDAR, portable atomic clocks, high-bandwidth and secure communications, and intrusion detection, among other areas.

The reported work is a major step towards demonstration of the true chip-scale optical frequency synthesizer with programmable <1 Hz frequency resolution, <1 cm3 volume, and <1 W electrical power consumption.  Such a system can be utilized in various microwave photonics applications, which will appeal to a broad audience both within the photonics community as well as outside.

OSA’s Optics Express is an all-electronic, open access journal for optics providing rapid publication for peer-reviewed articles that emphasize scientific and technology innovations in all aspects of optics and photonics. Nature Photonics is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Nature Publishing Group. The journal covers research related to optoelectronics, laser science, and other aspects of photonics. Nature Photonics publishes review articles, research papers, News and Views pieces, and research highlights summarizing the latest scientific findings in optoelectronics.

Larry A. Coldren is the Fred Kavli Professor of Optoelectronics and Sensors at UCSB. After receiving his Ph.D. in EE from Stanford and 13 years at Bell Laboratories, he joined UCSB in 1984 where he holds appointments in the ECE and Materials and ECE. He has authored or co-authored over a thousand journal and conference papers, a number of book chapters, two textbooks, and has been issued 65 patents. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, OSA, and a recipient of the 2004 John Tyndall, 2009 Aron Kressel, and 2014 David Sarnoff Awards, as well as being a member of NAI and NAE.

“Towards chip-scale optical frequency synthesis based on optical heterodyne phase-locked loop” (Optics Express)

Chip-scale frequency synthesizer (Nature Photonics – Research Highlights)

Coldren Group

ECE Professor Kenneth Rose featured in The UCSB Current article “Reality in All Directions”

March 7th, 2017

Photo of Kenneth Rose
Electrical and computer engineering professor Kenneth Rose and his team search for better 360° video encoding

With the popularity of virtual reality surging, the potential uses of the technology widen as more applications are conceived to capitalize on its immersive nature.

But like many emerging digital innovations, one major roadblock stands in the way of its widespread adoption: the sheer amount of data that must be processed for an effective user experience.

The data generated by 360° video is a case in point. It often exceeds the bandwidth available for rapid transmission, leading to the all-too-familiar choppy output or the interruptions caused by buffering. To compensate, more sophisticated hardware can be purchased, or more precious bandwidth can be allocated — neither of which is a satisfactory solution for the host of the video, or for the consumer.

UC Santa Barbara electrical and computer engineering professor Kenneth Rose and his research group are poised to make things smoother. With a $40,000 gift from the company InterDigital Communications, through its charitable affiliate the Signal Foundation for Wireless Innovation, Inc., Rose and his team will investigate methods of compression to decrease both the volume of data and the time needed to process it.

“Our objective is to develop enabling technology in terms of compression, since the amount of data involved in 360 video is extensive, which as it stands would make many application scenarios impractical,” Rose said. In contrast to conventional video technology, which is projected on a flat plane, 360° video is projected on a spherical plane that encloses the viewer. And that presents unique challenges.”

The UCSB Current – "Reality in All Directions" (full article)

Rose's COE Profile

Rose's Signal Compression Lab

ECE Associate Professor Dmitri Strukov receives a 2016 Google Faculty Research Award

February 23rd, 2017

Strukov selected for the Google award for his research in systems (hardware and software)
Photo of Strukov

Professor Strukov received the award for his proposal “Fast and Energy Efficient Deep Learning Hardware Based on Floating Gate Memories.” His research focuses on the application of nonvolatile memories in neurocomputing. His group’s research is highly interdisciplinary in nature, spanning across material science, physics, electrical engineering and computer science, and involves both theoretical and experimental work.

The Google Faculty Research Awards program recognizes world-class, permanent faculty pursuing cutting-edge research in areas of mutual interest. The program provides unrestricted gifts to supports research at institutions around the world. The award is highly competitive – only 15% of applicants receive funding – and each proposal goes through a rigorous Google-wide review process.

Strukov is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He received his M.S. in applied physics and mathematics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1999 and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stony Brook University in New York in 2006. Prior to joining UCSB he worked as a postdoctoral associate at Hewlett Packard Laboratories from 2007 to 2009.

2016 Google Faculty Research Awards

Google Faculty Research Awards

Strukov Research Group

College of Engineering 50th Anniversary ‘Tell Your Story’: David Vandervoet
BSEE ’67

January 12th, 2017

Photo of D.Vandervoet

David Vandervoet graduated as an electrical engineering major in 1967 and was part of the first class ever to go through UCSB College of Engineering from freshman to senior year.

After graduating, Vandervoet began his career designing and launching major US satellites. He took some time to share his stories about the College in its early years, reflecting on the great community, protests, pranks, and how things have evolved in the last 50 years.

How many students were in the College of Engineering at the time and what was the community like?
Not sure but I would guess maybe 80-100. I was the first class to go through engineering from freshman to senior. Maybe there were 30 freshmen in my class.

What was student life at the College like in the 1960’s?
It started in the Arts Building and classes were small. We knew our professors very well. There were also a lot of protests, mostly by non-students in Isla Vista, and multiple police actions with protestors stopping us from getting to class.

What are some of the best memories you had while as a student?
Getting up the courage as a freshman to go into Dean Conrad’s office in the Arts building and meet him. I figured that I was paying part of his salary and he should know who I was. The meeting went very well. He was gruff but said he wished more students would come see him.

Dean C later invited me to his house to show me how he made violins. He imported very special wood from somewhere in Europe. He dried the wood for two years in some drying equipment that he made. He had very fine hand tools to do custom work in the violins. But what impressed me the most was that he would use an oscilloscope to tune them. He was still an engineer at heart.

Who was/were your mentor(s) as a student and how did they affect your life?
Dr. Heidbreder and Dr. Mattai. I learned theoretical communication theory from Dr. Heidbreder that got me started in the satellite business.

Is there something that happened when you went to COE that current students would have a hard time believing?
I climbed the outside bricks to the 5th floor on the end of the engineering building and taped a large sign that said “Welcome to Earl Hall” (our lab technician). Earl was a survivor of Pearl Harbor bombing and lived because he went to sleep Saturday night with his shoes on and could run across the burning deck of his ship on December 7 and dive into the water because of his shoes. He still wore his shoes to bed in the 1960s. Dean Conrad was annoyed but no one was brave enough to climb the bricks and take it down.

Tell Your COE Story! Alumni, friends, members of the community past and present, tag posts on social media with #UCSBCOE50 or submit your story online.

UCSB College of Engineering Celebrating 50th Anniversary

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