The department has experienced an unprecedented period of growth in research and graduate education. Since 2000, PhD enrollments have nearly quadrupled, and external funding for research has grown by a factor of roughly eight.
Signals and Systems
Signals and systems research is concerned with the transmission, measurement, processing, analysis, and interpretation of information bearing signals. Areas include signal processing, image processing, computer communications, and wireless and digital communications.
Computer engineering focuses on the conception, analysis, design, integration, and evaluation of embedded systems, computing networking, and high-assurance systems employing modern microprocessor and microcontroller devices. Other goals include improving the performance and reliability of existing devices, as well as designing new systems around them.
Solid-state electronics research spans electromagnetic wave interactions with materials, micro- and nanoscale electronic materials and devices, and the quantum behavior of solids. This research thrust explores applications coupling electromagnetic behavior, photonics, electronics, VLSI design, quantum electronic physics, and sensing devices that interact with the external world in complex, integrated microsystems.
An application currently under study is the development of a new transistor utilizing the spin of an electron (so-called "spintronics"), requiring much less power and heat dissipation, which would permit a much greater density of transistors for microprocessors. Another application is the quantum theory of solids to predict how electromagnetic fields interact with propellants and explosives, enhancing remote detection.
Power and Energy
Power and Energy emphasize power systems, with renewable energy and power electronics as other major areas of interest. Examples include protection, operation, and control of power systems; theory and use of commercial packages for fault, power flow, and transient studies; and power-system components—including transformers, rotating machines, and circuit breakers.