At Montana State University, research in the ECE department extends beyond traditional boundaries. Most ongoing projects involve cross-disciplinary work, as professors and students collaborate with members of various departments across campus.

Digital Systems

Research in this area includes creating new computer architectures to provide increased performance for the application at hand. The term performance is used to describe not only the computational power of a digital system, but also the power efficiency and reliability. Professors in the ECE department are currently collaborating with NASA to develop a radiation tolerant computing platform for deep space missions.

Our research in computer architecture is used in a wide variety of cross-disciplinary projects. These include robotics, payloads for high altitude balloon platforms, and satellites. There is also collaboration with researchers in the micro-fabrication area to include sensors within the computer to provide an environmentally aware system.

Micro and Nanofabrication

Research in this area includes the development and fabrication of microelectronic devices, such as high-frequency inductors, silicon semiconductors, and micro-optic devices. The applications of these devices span all areas of research within the department.

Novel devices manufactured using MSU's micro- and nanofabrication facilities enable a broad range of interdisciplinary projects, including in-vivo biomedical imaging, high-performance MEMS devices, multifunctional optical devices, nanophotonic devices for chemical and biological sensing, and advanced photovoltaic devices.


We are developing novel optical and photonic components and systems for applications that include biological and environmental imaging, polarization measurements, and optical remote sensing. This research ranges from nano- and micro- to macro-scale systems.

Our optics research benefits society by providing technological advances such as biomedical imaging for cancer detection and optical remote sensing for weather and climate prediction.

Power and Energy

This field of research includes modeling and control of alternative energy sources such as wind, photovoltaics and fuel cells, and hybrid microgrids utilizing multiple energy sources. One related area of interest is the application of intelligent control for microgrid power management.

Information technology and communication are integral parts of Microgrid and smart resilient grid. Collaboration with these disciplines is ongoing.

Signals & Controls

This field of research includes audio engineering, acoustics, system identification, and controls.

In the signals area, faculty are involved in bulding tools for auditory neuroscience to help further understanding into how the brain process acoustic information. In controls, faculty are apply control theory and system identification for optimal control of fuel cells and microgrid power networks.


The area of communications research pertains to the development and design of optical communication devices, Ad Hoc networks, and Smart antenna.

Applying ad hoc communication networks to transportation environments.