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ECE students display their research at the 2018 Graduate Engineering Symposium

2018 Engineering Graduate Symposium

Student’s showcased their cutting-edge research at the 2018 College of Engineering Graduate Symposium held on October 26th. Their projects encompassed a wide variety of fields: revolutionizing energy systems, advancing technologies, and improving cybersecurity. Their research has the potential to advance many current and future applications, such as wireless energy transfer and autonomous driving.

ECE was well represented with one student winning the Award for Scientific Visualization, one winning the Award for Social Impact in Emerging Research, two students nominated for the Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding PhD Research, nine students presenting for Advanced Research, four presenting for Emerging Research, and one student presenting at the Undergraduate Research Exhibition.

Below is a list of all participating ECE students, along with more information about their projects.

Award for Scientific Visualization


Xin Zan
Xin Zan won the award for scientific visualization.

Xin Zan
PhD Candidate
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Advisor: Professor Al-Thaddeus Avestruz

Zan enjoys research like Columbus Egg, and he admires Nikola Tesla. He did his undergrad at Tsinghua University. Currently, he is focusing on high‑frequency and very‑high‑frequency power electronics converters, especially for wireless power transfer.

Wireless power transfer eliminates physical contact and can achieve convenient, reliable, and safe energy transmission, which can be used for implantable medical devices, consumer electronics, and electric vehicles. Bi‑directional wireless power transfer enables users to ubiquitously share and store energy. Increasing switching frequency benefits wireless power transfer in miniaturization and misalignment. Smart hubs that control lights, thermostats, smart devices, and more can also control wireless powering in the near future.

In the Scientific Visualization Competition, Zan's team showed 27.12 MHz bi‑directional wireless power transfer using the smart hub, Alexa, to control the direction of power transfer (see video above). The direction of power transfer is determined by the user's requests to Alexa, responded by one of the two arrow-shape LEDs lighting up. The values from the two current meters and the drain voltage waveforms with phase shift from the oscilloscope represent the power direction and amount.


Award for Social Impact in Emerging Research

Glen Chou
Glen Chou won the award for Social Impact in Emerging Research.

Using Control Synthesis to Generate Corner Cases: A Case Study on Autonomous Driving

Glen Chou
PhD Candidate
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Advisor: Professor Necmiye Ozay

Glen works at the intersection of safety-critical control, motion planning, and machine learning. In particular, he is passionate about developing algorithms that can enable autonomous, data-driven systems to act safely and efficiently in the face of uncertainty. He currently develops algorithms for safe sampling-based motion planning for high-dimensional systems and learning safety constraints from demonstrations of safe behavior.

Additional information can be found on Glen’s website.


Additional Award Winners

Below is a list of award-winning projects that were advised by ECE faculty with links to their abstracts.

* denotes current ECE student/faculty

Plasma-Induced Flow Instabilities in Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Jets
Amanda M. Lietz, Eric Johnsen, Professor Mark J. Kushner*
Won the Richard and Eleanor Prize for Outstanding PhD Research

Learning through Robot-Object Interactions
Victoria Florence, Brent Griffin*, Sajan Patel, Professor Jason J Corso*
Won the Emerging Research People’s Choice Award


Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding PhD Research

Below is a list of projects that were nominated for the Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding PhD Research with links to their abstracts.

* denotes current ECE student/faculty

Designing Cyber Insurance Policies: The Role of Pre-Screening and Security Interdependence
Mohammad Mahdi Khalili*, Parinaz Naghizadeh, Professor Mingyan Liu*

Full Wave Simulations of Vegetation and Forest Effects in Microwave Remote Sensing of Soil Moisture
Huanting Huang*, Professor Leung Tsang*


Advanced Research Poster Competition

Below is a list of projects that were presented at the Advanced Research Poster Competition with links to their abstracts.

* denotes current ECE student/faculty

Flexibility Polytopes for Aggregated Energy Resources: Computation and Applications
Md Salman Nazir*, Professor Ian Hiskens*, Andrey Bernstein, Emiliano Dall’Anese

Electrical Performance of Annealed Zinc-Tin-Oxide Thin-Film Transistors Deposited by Atomic Layer Deposition
Christopher Allemang*, Orlando Trejo, Carli Huber, Neil P. Dasgupta, Professor Rebecca L. Peterson*

Experimentally Determining the Magneto-resistance Tensor of Unintentionally Doped (010) β-Ga2O3
Zumrad Kabilova*, Professor Rebecca L. Peterson*

Accurate Transfer-Power Measurement for Wireless Charging of Electric Vehicles Under Misalignment
Sung Yul Chu*, Xiaofan Cui*, Professor Al-Thaddeus Avestruz*

Surface Morphology and Thermal Cleavages of Ultrafast Laser Irradiated β-Ga2O3
Minhyung Ahn*, Alex Sarracino, Abdul Ansari, Ben Torralva, Steven Yalisove, Professor Jamie Phillips*

Digital Control of a Multi-Megahertz Variable-Frequency Boost Converter for Dynamic LiDAR
Xiaofan Cui*, Professor Al-Thaddeus Avestruz*

Quantum Theory for Local Excitations in Semiconductor Nanostructures
Markus Borsch*, Eric W. Martin, Steven T. Cundiff, Professor Mackillo Kira*

Personalized PageRank Dimensionality and Algorithmic Implications
Daniel Vial*, Professor Vijay Subramanian*

Optimal Capacity Design for Distributed Energy Resources in Islanded Microgrid Using a Stochastic Approach
Sijia Geng*, Professor Ian A. Hiskens*

Advanced Research


Emerging Research Poster Competition

Below is a list of projects that were presented at the Emerging Research Poster Competition with links to their abstracts.

* denotes current ECE student/faculty

Stochastic Water Distribution Network Operation Considering Power Distribution Network Constraints
Anna K. Stuhlmacher*, Professor Johanna L. Mathieu*

Ultrathin, Lightweight and Flexible Organic Light-Emitting Devices with a High Light Outcoupling Efficiency
Xiaheng Huang*, Yue Qu*, Dejiu Fan*, Jongchan Kim*, Professor Stephen R. Forrest*

Low-Loss Power IC for PV Cell-Level Balancing Using Diffusion Charge Redistribution
Yingying Fan*, Yanqiao Li, Professor Al-Thaddeus Avestruz*

Application of the Discrete Hankel Transform to Cylindrical Waveguides Structures
Faris Alsolamy*, Professor Anthony Grbic*

Emerging Research


Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition

Below is the project that was presented at the Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition.

* denotes current ECE student/faculty

Characterizing Al2O3 Dielectric Films Grown by Atomic Layer Deposition

Characterizing Al2O3 Dielectric Films Grown by Atomic Layer Deposition
Shantam Ravan*, Christopher Allemang*, Professor Rebecca L. Peterson*

The full booklet of abstracts for these and other presenters is available here.


Thank you to the following alumni for participating in the event:

Andrew Wong
Bill Niester
Dan Diebolt
Frederick Porter
Mahmood Barangi
Yu-Chih Chen
David Reed
Line van Nieuwstadt
Sechang Oh
Steve Schwinke
Wan-Thai Hsu
Yutao Qin


October 26, 2018