News

H. Kumar Wickramasinghe Dec 12, 2013
Engineer Named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Professor H. Kumar Wickramasinghe is among 143 innovators to be named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for 2013. Wickramasinghe is a UC Irvine professor and the Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in electrical engineering and computer science, with joint appointments in biomedical engineering and chemical engineering and materials science.

Being named a NAI Fellow is distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

Wickramasinghe, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, is a well-respected pioneer in nanotechnology. He currently holds 94 patents. Some of his most significant inventions and contributions to the nano field include the development of the vibrating mode atomic force microscope (AFM), the magnetic force microscope, the electrostatic force microscope, the Kelvin probe force microscope, the scanning thermal microscope, and the apertureless near-field optical microscope. Most of these scanning probe microscopes are standard instruments used today for nano-scale characterization.

"I am humbled and honored to be among this distinguished group of Nobel Laureates and National Medal Prize winners,” says Wickramasinghe. “The greatest thrill I get is to see some of my inventions translated to practice and in use all over the world."

Peyton Paulick Dec 10, 2013
Now Hear This

Hearing aids, as those who wear them know, have some flaws. Whistling, echoing and feedback often frustrate even the most intrepid user. Biomedical engineering graduate student Peyton Paulick seeks to give those with hearing loss a better option, and if the first human clinical trial of her research device is any indication, she may well succeed.
 
The device, a small voice coil actuator placed deep within the ear canal, responds to an electronic signal by moving the eardrum mechanically – just the right amount – to allow sound waves to enter. This eliminates the problems that occur when sound waves are amplified, as in hearing aids.
 
Currently, options available for the hearing impaired are limited. Cochlear implants require major surgery and can cost upwards of $30,000. Traditional hearing aids have advanced technologically but still present those little annoyances.

“Satisfaction rates are pretty low,” Paulick said. “A lot of people with traditional hearing aids don’t use them.”

Henry Samueli Dec 5, 2013
Henry Samueli Addresses Alumni

This fall’s joint alumni event for The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences doubled as an edition of the two schools’ Top Trends in Tech speaker series. Attendees heard from one of the biggest trend-setters in any technology field: Henry Samueli, co-founder, chairman and chief technology officer of Broadcom Corporation.

Dean Hal Stern of the Bren School and Dean Gregory Washington of the Samueli School introduced Henry Samueli after a convivial reception for alumni and friends the evening of Nov. 7.

Taking to the podium on the Broadcom campus — just blocks away from UC Irvine — Samueli spoke on current technological trends and took questions from the audience. Some 120 people, most of them graduates of ICS and Engineering, attended the event.

Athina Markopoulou Nov 26, 2013
Engineering Professor Serves as an Ambitious Advocate for Calit2

In 2006, soon after arriving at UC Irvine, a new assistant professor was introduced to an engineering school administrator who asked what her major was.

“I’m not an undergrad,” the new hire said politely.

“Oh, you’re here for the graduate program?” inquired the woman.

“No,” answered Athina Markopoulou.

Was she a postdoc, then? Markopoulou explained that she was joining the electrical engineering and computer science faculty.

As the embarrassed administrator learned, appearances can be deceiving. Markopoulou, who still can pass for a grad student, is now a highly regarded EECS associate professor, well-funded researcher, entrepreneur, wife and mother, and an ardent and active Calit2 affiliate.
 
“In the beginning, it bothered me,” Markopoulou recalls of being mistaken repeatedly for a student. “But now I am used to it and I think it’s fun. It can be a good ice-breaker.”

Ida and William Melucci Nov 26, 2013
McDonnell Douglas Seamstress Funds UCI Graduate Fellowships in Engineering

Bequest Creates the Melucci Space Exploration & Technology Fellowship

Ida Melucci, a seamstress who worked for McDonnell Douglas and then Boeing, has left a bequest of $1.5 million to UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering to create graduate fellowships.

“We are honored that Ida Melucci entrusted us with her gift to continue to support and enhance the education of graduate students working in space exploration and space technology,” says Gregory Washington, engineering school dean. “We have researchers working on the Rover guidance system for landing on Mars, on electric propulsion for space craft, as well as people looking at combustion and structures. This gift will be put to good use.”

The Meluccis were both long-standing and dedicated employees of the Huntington Beach aerospace company. The late William Melucci worked in sealing and bonding. Ida Melucci worked on space blankets for the Delta rocket, missile bags and insulation blankets for the Space Station, and slip covers for cargo boxes carrying high-tech space tools on the Endeavor space shuttle.

Chen Tsai accepts IEEE-UFFC Achievement Award Nov 25, 2013
Chancellor’s Professor Chen Tsai Accepts Lifetime Achievement Award

Chen Tsai grew up in a small village in Taiwan, where he and his older brother, without any tools, would fix things. He fondly remembers repairing the broken spring of an antique phonograph. He has turned his propensity to tinker into a formidable academic career, and it was with great pride that the UC Irvine’s Chancellor’s Professor accepted the 2013 lifetime achievement award from the IEEE-Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Controls Society this past summer in Prague. The award, bestowed annually, is the highest honor given by the society for research achievement.

A professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Tsai was recognized for pioneering contributions in the “science and technology of integrated acousto-optics, ultrasonic monodisperse micro-droplet generation, acoustic microscopy, and guided-wave magneto-optics.” He was honored at the plenary session of the international joint conference of three affiliated societies, with some 3,000 attendees from many countries. Tsai proudly shared with conference attendees UCI’s recent top national and high worldwide rankings as well as some of the exciting new initiatives at the Samueli School of Engineering.

from left, Noe Rodriguez, Lineker Phuong, Loong Sang Yong, and Greg Tamashiro Nov 20, 2013
UCI engineering school gets grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Funding will support continued development of student-designed solar stove

The Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine will receive a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for developing a solar stove that enables carbon emissions-free cooking.

The Grand Challenges Explorations initiative is intended to foster outside-the-box solutions to persistent global health and development issues. More than 80 grants were announced today by the Gates Foundation in the 11th round of funding.

The stored energy solar stove was initially designed by a group of senior mechanical engineering students at UC Irvine under the guidance of former research adviser John Garman. It permits carbon emissions-free cooking indoors and at night, which not only reduces deforestation, labor time and safety concerns for women who leave their villages to gather firewood, but also pollutes indoor air far less than the traditional in-home cooking methods currently employed in developing countries.

The students developed a working model that uses a solar collector to concentrate sunlight on an energy storage device, which consists of an insulated box filled with potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate. The salts are heated to their melting point by the solar radiation. Within three hours in the sun, the stove stores 0.5 kilowatt-hours of energy, which is released as the molten salt slowly resolidifies. This provides a stable heat source indoors or after sunset with a surface temperature well-suited to making foods such as bread and rice. The technology has gone through two design iterations and, with this grant, will be further refined by a new group of senior engineering students.

 

Adrian Ortega Nov 19, 2013
Balsells Fellowship Program Reaches Milestone: 100th Fellow

Like the 99 Catalans before him, Adrián Ortega Novillo left the northeast region of Spain behind to study engineering at UC Irvine. He is the 100th Balsells Fellow.

ASCE student chapter plaque Nov 13, 2013
CEE Affiliates Meeting Addresses Innovations in Water Infrastructure

Nearly 60 people turned out for breakfast and to hear about innovations in water infrastructure at the fall quarterly meeting of the UC Irvine Samueli School’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Affiliates.

A. Lee Swindlehurst Oct 30, 2013
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Named

Professor A. Lee Swindlehurst has been appointed the new associate dean for research and graduate studies. Swindlehurst, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has been at UC Irvine since 2007 and most recently served as associate department chair for EECS.

"The school has made great strides over the past two decades in both the reputation of its scholarly research and the quality of its graduate programs,” says Swindlehurst. “We have exceptional faculty and a growing and very talented group of graduate students. I'm excited to work with Dean Washington and the rest of the faculty to keep the momentum going."

This is an expanded position, established upon the recommendation of a special committee that looked at cost-effective ways to manage the huge growth in graduate and undergraduate programs over the past 15 years. Graduate studies had formerly been under Associate Dean for Student Affairs John LaRue, but it will now report to Swindlehurst. LaRue’s title will change to Associate Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs.

“Professor Swindlehurst has held administrative positions at multiple universities and in industry,” says Dean Gregory Washington. “His research contributions are outstanding, and his teaching and supervision of graduate students are regarded as excellent. I have no doubt that his experience and qualifications will prove most valuable to our school.”

Jack Brouwer Oct 29, 2013
Austrian Delegation Visits UC Irvine’s NFCRC, Smart Grid Demonstration

The Austrian Ambassador to the U.S. visited UC Irvine during the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in October.

Hung Nguyen Oct 28, 2013
Chemical Engineer’s Research Makes the Cover of Advanced Healthcare Materials

Hung Nguyen’s research is featured on the cover of the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Healthcare Materials. An assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, Nguyen investigates the self-assembly of biological and biomimetic nanoscale materials based on amino acids and nucleic acids for applications in nanotechnology, drug delivery, tissue engineering, gene therapy, disease diagnostics, antiviral therapeutics and imaging agent development.

The Advanced Healthcare Materials journal featured Nguyen’s study involving peptide amphiphiles, an emerging class of self-assembling molecules. He and his team, including first author graduate student Iris Fu, an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, used simulations to examine the self-assembly process in detail.

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Payam Heydari Oct 25, 2013
Electrical Engineering Professor to Deliver IEEE Global Conference Keynote

Electrical engineering professor Payam Heydari has been selected to deliver a keynote speech at the 2013 IEEE Global Conference on Signal and Information Processing to be held in Austin, Texas, in December.

Heydari’s research expertise involves the design and analysis of terahertz, millimeter-wave and radio-frequency integrated circuits. In his keynote talk, he plans to address the challenges and opportunities associated with fully integrated millimeter-wave imaging in silicon.

Heydari most recently presented a panel talk at the 2013 IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference in Northern California. The panel discussed the future systems and integrated circuits supporting high speed connectivity.

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William Cooper Oct 23, 2013
Bill Cooper to Direct NSF Environmental Engineering Program

Professor Bill Cooper has been appointed director of the environmental engineering program in the NSF’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems Division. As a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the UC Irvine Urban Water Research Center, Cooper is used to seeking out funding from government agencies. This new position places him on the other side of the table. As an NSF program director, he will be involved in determining which project proposals to support with agency funding.

The NSF environmental engineering program funds projects looking at the environmental engineering implications of energy and resource consumption; availability of high quality water supplies; and fate and transport of contaminants of emerging concern in air, water, and soils. As director, Cooper will also seek joint funding opportunities with other government agencies and engineering programs.

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Robert Tkach presents award to Salvatore Campione Oct 21, 2013
Engineering Doctoral Student Receives Marconi Young Scholar Award

Samueli School of Engineering doctoral student Salvatore Campione has been named a 2013 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar.

CEE Career Fair Oct 18, 2013
Focused Career Fair Attracts 200 CEE Students

They came out dressed to impress, resumes in hand. More than 200 civil and environmental engineering students stood in line to meet with representatives from 12 companies at the Civil and Environmental Career Fair held at the Student Center in October.

An array of glassblown micro-cells used to derive the magnetic field gradient. Oct 10, 2013
NSF Recognizes Andrei Shkel with EAGER Award

Professor Andrei Shkel has received a $300,000 National Science Foundation EAGER (Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) Award.

Farghalli Mohamed with UCI Chancellor Michael Drake Oct 7, 2013
Well-Loved Professor Retires, Goes out with a Rhyme

Beloved engineering professor Farghalli A. Mohamed celebrated his retirement and 70th birthday in late September surrounded by colleagues, faculty, staff and friends.

Jairus Racelis Oct 1, 2013
On track for clean energy

UCI will host – and compete in – the California Challenge, which pits alternative-fuel race cars against each other

Ali Mohraz Sep 23, 2013
NASA to Fund Microgravity-related Research at the Samueli School

NASA has selected a project of Ali Mohraz’s to fund under its “Research Opportunities in Complex Fluids and Macromolecular Biophysics” program. 

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