News Archive 2019

News Articles

Electrical Engineering Students Receive Newly-Established Scholarships

Reference: University of Arkansas Newswire — January 16, 2019

Four electrical engineering graduate students were the first to receive scholarships from a newly formed 100-for-100 Scholarship Fund. Yuheng Wu received a scholarship honoring the memory of research professor Mike Glover, and Asma Mahar received a scholarship honoring the memory of Hung Phi Hoang. Hao Chen and Paolo Vargas also received scholarships.

The 100-for-100 scholarship fund was launched by Alan Mantooth, distinguished professor of electrical engineering and the Twenty-First Century Research Leadership Chair in Engineering, and is funded by past students. The name "100-for-100" was chosen to acknowledge, and continue to engage, the now more than 100 alumni graduate students from the Mixed-Signal Computer-Aided Design Laboratory, each annually contributing a minimum of $100 toward the support of current students. The funds are available to sponsor and support graduate and undergraduate students of the MSCAD Lab in power electronic packaging, power electronic circuit design, computer-aided design, device modeling and integrated circuit design. Two annual scholarships supported by this scholarship fund have been given in memory of Mantooth's former students: Glover and Hoang.

Glover, an integrated circuits design student, earned his Doctor of Philosophy in 2013, a Master of Science in 1995 and a Bachelor of Science in 1993 — all from the University of Arkansas. He was a researcher in electrical engineering and a longtime staff member at the High Density Electronics Center (HiDEC) in electronic manufacturing and power electronic packaging. He was an invaluable mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students who benefited significantly from his dedication to his alma mater. Glover was an outstanding team member and had an infectious jovial personality.

Hoang, an integrated circuits design student from Vietnam, earned his Doctor of Philosophy posthumously in 2008 from the University of Arkansas. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City, University of Technology. Hoang worked on extreme environment technology for NASA and was recognized for his contributions by his colleagues and peers. He was pleasant, humble and an excellent team member.

"The reason we are giving these scholarships in memory of these individuals, is because they embodied all the good things that we try to instill in the young people that come through our program," Mantooth said. "In addition to superb technical expertise and communication skills, the qualities of teamwork, hard work, resourcefulness and dependability are what differentiate them from others."

U of A Student Innovation Team Wins Graduate Division at 20th Annual Arkansas Governor's Cup

Reference: University of Arkansas Newswire — April 2, 2019

A University of Arkansas student innovation team seeking to end herbicide drift took the top prize in the graduate division of the 20th annual Arkansas Governor's Cup on Wednesday during a virtual awards ceremony.

"We see our solution adding great value to the agricultural sector not just in Arkansas, but in all states involved in soybean, cotton and corn farming," said Gurshagan Kandhola, CelluDot's chief research and development officer.

"Our mission is to end the problem of drift with a biobased product that keeps herbicides at the target site of application, a win-win for farmers, agrochemical companies and the environment."

Kandhola added that guidance from Carol Reeves and Sarah Goforth in the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, as well as Jin-Woo Kim, a professor in the university's Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, were instrumental in CelluDot's journey.

Last month, 50 students representing 18 teams from eight Arkansas universities made virtual presentations to nearly 30 judges during the final round of competition.

Teams were judged in several areas, including identification of the problems in the marketplace and how their business ideas will solve them, demonstrations of customer discovery and validation to prove viability of ideas and revealing what was learned from customer research, identification of potential competitors in the marketplace, explanations of how marketing and distribution will be addressed, addressing possible critical risks to the businesses.

"Thanks to videoconferencing technologies and the flexibility of everyone involved in this process, we've been able to pull off this competition in the midst of a world turned upside down," said Rush Deacon, CEO of ACC, which has managed the Governor's Cup since the first competition in 2001.

The distribution of the Governor's Cup $154,000 cash prize pool includes $25,000 to the winners of the graduate and undergraduate divisions, $15,000 to the second place winners in both divisions, and $10,000 for both third place winners.

Faculty advisors for all six winning teams each received $2,000 in cash. For the Innovation Division, a winning team is chosen in both the graduate and undergraduate divisions. Each team received a $5,000 cash prize.

Other winners in the graduate division included second-place finisher T.I.B.N., also from the U of A, and Face-to-Face from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, in third.

ImmunoSense of Ouachita Baptist University, won the undergraduate division while BioPrecision of Harding University, and Never Cargo of Arkansas Tech University, finished in second and third, respectively.

Promising Material Could Lead to Faster, Cheaper Computer Memory

Reference: University of Arkansas Newswire — May 2, 2019

Computer memory could become faster and cheaper thanks to research into a promising class of materials by University of Arkansas physicists.

The scientists are studying bismuth ferrite, commonly abbreviated as BFO, a material that has the potential to store information much more efficiently than is currently possible. BFO could also be used in sensors, transducers and other electronics.

With present technology, information on a computer is encoded by magnetic fields, a process that requires a lot of energy, more than 99 percent of which is wasted in the form of excess heat.

“Is there any way to avoid that waste of energy?” was the question asked by Omid Sayedaghaee, a doctoral candidate in microelectronics-photonics and lead author of the study, published in the journal Physical Review Letters. “We could store information by applying an electric field to write it and a magnetic field to read it if we use materials that are responsive to both fields at the same time.”

BFO is multiferroic, meaning it responds to both electric and magnetic fields, and is potentially suitable for storing information on a computer. But its magnetoelectric response is small. Sayedaghaee and colleagues Bin Xu, Sergey Prosandeev and Charles Paillard, professors in physics, along with Distinguished Professor of physics Laurent Bellaiche, employed the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center to simulate conditions that enhance the magnetoelectric response to the point that it could be used to more efficiently store information by using electricity, rather than magnetism.

The researchers also documented the phenomenon responsible for the enhanced response, which they called an “electroacoustic magnon.” The name reflects the fact that the discovery is a mix of three known “quasiparticles,” which are similar to oscillations in a solid: acoustic phonons, optical phonons and magnons.

U of A Graduate Student Awarded International Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship

Reference: University of Arkansas Newswire — June 11, 2019

Oluwatobi ''Tobi'' Olorunsola, a doctoral student of the University of Arkansas, has been awarded a 2019 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. Tobi earned the $3,000 scholarship for his potential contributions to the field of optics, photonics or related field.

Tobi is a Doctoral Fellow in microelectronics and photonics at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville where is currently the treasurer of the SPIE Student Chapter. He is a member of professor Shui-Qing Fisher Yu's Applied NanoPhotonics Group where he actively explores light-matter interactions while developing innovative semiconductor materials growth and characterization strategies for future integrated optoelectronics devices. Oluwatobi is the recipient of the University of Arkansas Doctoral Academy Fellowship, MKS Instruments Research Excellence Awards (SPIE) and Illinois Academy of Science best graduate research presentation. He has performed outreach and advocacy activities at the local and national levels and also privileged to publish several scientific journal articles. Tobi receives this grand award at the SPIE Optics and Photonics International Conference in San Diego in August.

''I'm quite delighted by the efforts of the SPIE in recognizing and rewarding students excellence in the optics and photonics community. Such gestures should never go unnoticed. It would certainly be my greatest pleasure to support excellent causes as this sooner or later in my career. The financial award would serve its fullest purpose and I am grateful so,'' Tobi said.

SPIE, founded in 1955 as the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers, is an international professional society that advances emerging light-based technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, career development, and advocacy.

Researchers Improve Semiconductor Laser on Silicon

Reference: University of Arkansas Newswire — June 20, 2019

Electrical engineering researchers have boosted the operating temperature of a promising new semiconductor laser on silicon substrate, moving it one step closer to possible commercial application.

The development of an "optically pumped" laser, made of germanium tin grown on silicon substrates, could lead to faster micro-processing speed of computer chips, sensors, cameras and other electronic devices — at much lower cost.

"In a relatively short time period — roughly two years — we've progressed from 110 Kelvin to a record temperature of 270K," said Shui-Qing "Fisher" Yu, associate professor of electrical engineering. "We are now very close to room-temperature operation and moving quickly toward the application of a material that can significantly increase processing speed with much less power consumption."

"The improvement is based on a simple, yet delicate structure," said by Yiyin Zhou, doctoral candidate in the Microelectronics-Photonics Program, lead author of the paper and a member of Yu's research group. "Thanks to the mature epitaxial growth technique, we could obtain the high-quality alloy with tin content as high as 20 percent, which is the major key to the current achievement."

Germanium tin harnesses efficient emission of light, a feature that silicon, the standard semiconductor for computer chips, cannot do. Yu and other material researchers have focused on growing germanium tin on silicon substrates to build an optoelectronics "superchip" that can transmit data much faster than current chips. In 2016, Yu and colleagues reported the fabrication of their first-generation, optically pumped laser.

The broader wavelength range means potentially more capacity to transmit data, and a lower lasing threshold and higher operation temperature facilitate lower power consumption, which keeps costs down and helps with design simplicity.

Easily integrated into electronic circuits, such as those found in computer chips and sensors, germanium tin as semiconducting material could lead to the development of low-cost, lightweight, compact and low-power consuming electronic components that use light for information transmission and sensing.

This research is supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Seven Student Teams Win at Seed Funding Competition

Reference: University of Arkansas Newswire — November 20, 2019

Seven teams of U of A students won up to $1,000 each in seed funding for their business ideas at a competition held Nov. 13 at the U of A Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub. The competition was judged by donors, innovators and entrepreneurs from throughout the region.

Sixteen teams competed for the prize pool of $5,500, with each team given three minutes for their pitches. The competition was hosted by the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Office of Economic Development.

Ali Bajammal, Molly Bombonato, Noah Bradshaw, Josue Calderon, John Kiefner, Giselle Toledo, and Wenjie Zhu took part at the competition.

Giselle Toledo: Harnessing nanotechnology to produce an environmentally sustainable, passively icephobic coating

"I am consistently impressed by the quality of the University of Arkansas' students, their innovative thinking and their commitment to social entrepreneurship," said Stacy Leeds, vice chancellor for economic development. "The seed funding luncheon not only gave our students the opportunity to compete for funding for customer discovery and prototyping resources but also to network with some of our region's most successful entrepreneurs and mentors."

More than 20 donors supported the seed funding competition through a FundRAZOR crowdsourcing campaign led by Jessica Salmon, senior director of strategy and innovation for the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Karl Schubert, research professor and director of research for innovation and data science initiatives. Many of the donors also served as judges of the competition.