Research & Education Highlights

NEETRAC Celebrates 25 Years of Success, Looks Forward to the Future

ECE’s National Electric Energy Testing Research and Applications Center (NEETRAC), located off campus in Forest Park, celebrated its 25th Anniversary on October 27, 2021.

The electric energy-focused, industry-supported center conducts project research for industry leaders and manufacturers, as well as with campus faculty and students.

NEETRAC research and testing services help electric utilities increase system reliability, reduce cost, and improve system safety. As a historically successful organization, NEETRAC is looking forward to the next 25 years as the center works to provide meaningful research and testing services for their members.

Microelectronics Momentum Drives the Nation’s Semiconductor Resurgence

Georgia Tech drives trailblazing chip research and nurtures the future microelectronics workforce that are key to America’s long-term semiconductor competitiveness

The world’s dependence on semiconductors came into sharp focus in 2021, when automotive manufacturing ground to a halt because of massive computer chip shortages. As the country rebuilds its semiconductor infrastructure at home, Georgia Tech serves as a vital partner – to train the microelectronics workforce, drive future microelectronics advances, and provide unique fabrication and packaging facilities for industry, academic and government partners to develop and test new solutions.

Georgia Tech is well positioned to support collaborative efforts by industry and government to strengthen the country’s semiconductor capacity now that Congress has funded the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America and Foundries Act (or the CHIPS for America Act).

ECE faculty members Oliver Brand, Madhavan Swaminathan, and Shimeng Yu in the Pettit Microelectronics Building Measurement and Characterization Lab. (Photo credit: Robert Felt, Georgia Tech)
A squint is an example of a facial gesture that MagTrack can detect and issue a discrete command to control a connected device.

MagTrack Technology Opens Doors for Independent Operation of Smartphones, Computers, and Other Devices for Wheelchair Users

ECE partners with Brooks Rehabilitation in human participant phase of groundbreaking technology study

This year, Brooks Rehabilitation announced that the MagTrack study, a collaborative research endeavor with the Georgia Tech ECE, has been successfully completed. Feedback from the Brooks clinical team and its patients has allowed Georgia Tech engineers to transform their early research prototype into a user-ready version that was tested by more than 17 power wheelchair users living with tetraplegia — a form of paralysis caused by spinal cord injury that affects the arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs.

The collaboration between the Brooks and Georgia Tech teams has created a path to a first-of-its-kind, innovative application for individuals living with disabilities. The teams — comprised of physicians, clinical therapists, and engineers — brought together multidisciplinary expertise in advanced science, technology, and clinical rehabilitation.

Khan Lab Working to Improve Efficiency of Future Electronics

Researchers aim to reduce operating voltage as a means of making electronics more efficient.

As the world’s demand for electronics keeps growing, so does the impact on climate change. The carbon footprint of those billions of devices we use, including smartphones, already accounts for about 3.7% of all global greenhouse emissions and at the present rate of use, could reach 14% by 2040.

“Therefore, we need to limit the increase of the power that is consumed by future electronics,” said Asif Islam Khan, assistant professor in ECE, who is working with an international team of collaborators to do exactly that.

Asif Khan (left) discusses his research with Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera (right) during a 2021 visit to Khan’s lab.
ECE professor David Citrin (right) and adjunct professor Alexandre Locquet stand in front of an image of the 16th-century funerary cross used in their study. Credit: Nicolas Jacquet.

Terahertz Imaging Reveals Hidden Inscription on Early Modern Funerary Cross 

Terahertz imaging and signal processing techniques look beneath the surface.

In a multidisciplinary project, researchers at Georgia Techn and Georgia Tech-Europe used terahertz imaging and signal processing techniques to look beneath the corroded surface of a 16th-century lead funerary cross. Led by David Citrin, a professor in ECE, the effort brought together imaging scientists, a chemist specializing in archaeological objects, and an art historian to reveal a message that had been obscured by time: an inscription of the Lord’s Prayer. The cross project illustrates that success requires more than just accurate measurement, but also careful data processing and collaboration between researchers from disparate fields. The team’s approach opens new perspectives for terahertz imaging analysis and could produce great boosts for the fields of digital acquisitions and documentation, as well as character recognition, extraction, and classification

Shaping the Future of Light through Reconfigurable Metasurfaces

Harnessing the power of “phase-change” materials, Georgia Tech researchers have demonstrated how reconfigurable metasurfaces — artificial materials with extraordinary optical properties — are crucial to the future of nanotechnology.

The technological advancement of optical lenses has long been a significant marker of human scientific achievement. One of the most impactful breakthroughs of lens technology in recent history has been the development of photonic metasurfaces — artificially engineered nano-scale materials with remarkable optical properties.

Georgia Tech researchers, led by ECE Professor Ali Adibi, are at the forefront of this technology and have demonstrated the first-ever electrically tunable photonic metasurface platform. The pronounced tuning measures achieved through the new platform represent a critical advancement towards the development of miniaturized reconfigurable metasurfaces.

ECE professor Ali Adibi with Ph.D. candidate Sajjad Abdollahramezani in Ali’s Photonics Research Group lab where the characterization of the tunable metasurfaces takes place.
Azadeh Ansari, Sutterfield Family Early Career Assistant Professor.

New “Micro-rocker” Bots Are Powered by a Single Electromagnetic Coil

Once the size of ants, these Georgia Tech 3D-printed micro-robots can now only be seen under a microscope.

Georgia Tech researchers, led by Sutterfield Family Early Career ECE Professor Azadeh Ansari, have shown that robots about the size of a particle of dust are capable of precise bidirectional control. By harnessing the power of a magnetic field generated by only a single electromagnetic coil, the mobile micro-robots are the smallest of their type.

The bots’ updated “rocker” design allows them to move by performing a stick–slip motion with an out-of-plane magnetic field. Being able to demonstrate that a single coil setup is enough for precise bidirectional motion control is a significant hurdle to clear, according to Ansari. With the micro-bots now much easier to operate, the team has been able to demonstrate micromanipulation capabilities.

You can find more ECE research highlights by exploring the ECE recent news section.