Electrical Engineering faculty receive CAREER awards

Author: William G. Gilroy and Nina Welding


Vijay Gupta and Huili (Grace) Xing, assistant professors in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, have been named 2009 National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Development (CAREER) Award recipients. The award is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to young faculty in engineering and science.

A faculty member since 2008, Gupta’s research focuses on the systematic and verifiably correct design of cyber-physical systems, such as cooperative multi-agent systems, networked control systems and sensor networks.

His CAREER project, titled"Scalable and Optimal Co-design of Control and Communication Protocols in Cyber-physical Systems,"explores the next generation of engineering systems composed of multiple complex dynamical systems interacting across communication networks. The project proposes a scalable and efficient approach for designing the communication and control algorithms for such systems. Applications for the algorithms and protocols that will be developed during the course of the project include advanced automotive systems, tele-medicine, energy conservation, environmental monitoring, traffic control and distributed robotics.

Gupta’s project also includes the development of a new interdisciplinarygraduate course, new projects for the department’s senior thesis project course and a high school outreach program to motivate students, particularly minorities and women, to pursue engineering as a career.

Gupta earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and master’s and doctoral degrees, also in electrical engineering, from the California Institute of Technology.

Xing’s expertise is in the design, fabrication and characterization of semiconductors, nanostructures and devices for applications, including high-speed high-power electronics, energy-efficient electronics and IR/THz photodetectors.

Her CAREER project, titled"Graphene and Graphene Nanoribbon Optoelectronic Properties and Devices,"focuses on developing and demonstrating a series of optoelectronic device concepts (primarily photodetectors) based on graphene and graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) and then using those devices as vehicles to extract the optoelectronic properties of graphene and GNRs.Still in its infancy, the research will deepen the understanding of electron excitation-relaxation dynamics, minority carrier lifetime, external electrostatic gating and wave guiding, and dielectric effects, all of which are important for graphene-enabled applications, such as tunable photodetectors, THz emitters, biosensors and other devices yet to be invented.

The educational component of Xing’s project involves undergraduate students and middle school teachers and studentsespecially young girlsvia Notre Dame’s"Expanding Your Horizons"workshops, the participation of female students from Saint Mary’s College in the dual-degree program in engineering, and a summer research opportunities program for women faculty from the college.

A member of the Materials Research Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Electrochemical Society and American Society for Engineering Education, Xing joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2004. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Peking University, a master’s degree in material science from Lehigh University and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

The CAREER program, which was established by the NSF in 1995, recognizes and supports junior faculty who exhibit a commitment to stimulating research while also providing educational opportunities for students.

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