ECE Research News


Some ECE Articles from the MSU News Service

Prof. LaMeres' computer project will fly on the International Space Station
ECE Prof. Maher noted for expertise in audio forensic examination
President's Fine Arts Series salutes 'Art of Science, Science of Art'
MSU attracts NASA attention with computer system for space
Prof. Ross Snider selected for prestigious Boeing summer fellowship
Prof. Richard Wolff studies telecommunications in rural areas
MSU's Nehrir named fellow of IEEE
ECE Prof. Kaiser teaches new course in solar cell fabrication for MSU's Master of Science in Science Education program
ECE Prof. LaMeres develops on-line laboratory with NSF-sponsored project
Optical MEMS technology available for licensing
MSU grad's work helps diagnose skin cancer without a biopsy
ECE professors receive $750k NASA EPSCoR grant
Two electrical engineering grad students receive prestigious NASA fellowships
Two electrical engineering grad students receive NSF Graduate Fellowships
Wataru Nakagawa joins ECE faculty
Prof. Bruce McLeod to be honored for distance ed work
MSU hosts unique program on carbon sequestration
Astronomer sees the light after spider invades car
MSU to host international conference on light, color in nature
University works to improve rural emergency communication
MSU researchers build lasers for NASA climate research
Extended continuous tuning technology for diode lasers available for licensing
Listening to gunshots may save lives and wildlands
Inspired by professor, graduate students explore new territory for electronic chips
MSU professor hopes to train better engineers with prestigious award
25-Oct 2005
MSU licensing fiber optic invention
MSU invention could improve fuel cell performance, longevity

2010: Research Postcard: Prof. Snider receives prestigious Boeing Fellowship

Ross SniderRoss Snider was one of just nine university faculty from around the world to receive a 2010 Boeing Welliver Faculty Fellowship. Prof. Snider is the first ever MSU recipient of a Welliver Fellowship. The fellowship allowed Prof. Snider to shadow Boeing professionals and observe Boeing operations for eight weeks last summer. Snider spent two weeks at the Boeing Leadership Center in Missouri and six weeks at various Boeing facilities in Seattle.

[see MSU News Service article]

2009: Research Postcard: Carbon Sequestration Site

Jame Barr at ZERT field siteECE graduate student Jamie Barr successfully defended her master’s thesis titled “Underground Laser Based Detection System for Carbon Sequestration Site Monitoring” on November 13, 2009.  Jamie’s thesis work involved the development of a fiber based multi-sensor instrument for underground monitoring of carbon dioxide based on absorption spectroscopy using the two micron absorption band associated with carbon dioxide.  This instrument was tested during three controlled underground carbon dioxide release experiments performed at the Zero Emission Research Technology (ZERT) field site that has been developed on the Montana State University campus for development and testing of carbon sequestration monitoring instrumentation.  Jamie has presented her work at the American Geophysical Union Conference and the Carbon Sequestration Conference and her work has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.  Jamie hails from Billings, Montana and received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. Prof. Kevin Repasky was Jamie's advisor.

2009: Research Postcard: Lidar Laboratory

Kerry Neal at work in the optics laboratory.ECE graduate student Kerry Neal completed her master’s thesis titled “A Confocal Fabry-Perot Interferometer for Use in Lidar Receivers” on November 5, 2009.  Kerry’s thesis work focused on the development and characterization of a confocal Fabry-Perot interferometer that can provide the spectral filtering in lidar receivers while accepting the multi-spatial mode structure of the light collected by the lidar receiver.  Based on the results of Kerry’s studies, a confocal Fabry-Perot interferometer is now being employed in a high spectral resolution aerosol backscatter lidar as part of an overall atmospheric research program being developed in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.  Kerry’s research efforts were supported through a Montana Space Grant Consortium Fellowship.  Kerry received her undergraduate degree in physics from Oberlin College in Ohio. Prof. Kevin Repasky was Kerry's advisor.


2009: Research Postcard: Wallops Island, Virginia

June 26 Terrier/Orion launch photo (courtesy NASA)

ECE Prof. Ross Snider and Adjunct Prof. Randy Larimer traveled to the NASA RockOn-RockSat workshop at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center`s Wallops Flight Facility, located on the eastern shore of Virginia. Along with Dr. Angela Des Jardins, Interim Director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium, the ECE contingent joined representatives from 21 other states who prepared experiments to be carried aloft by NASA's Terrier/Orion launch vehicle.

The NASA rocket left the pad at 5:30AM on June 26, 2009, reached an altitude of 73 miles, then splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean where the experiments were recovered.

[see MSU News Service article]

2009: ECE/WTI Reseach Group Reports on Ad-hoc Mobile Wireless Networks

ECE Prof. and Gilhousen Telecommunications Chair Richard Wolff and other researchers from the MSU ECE and Computer Science departments and the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) recently collaborated on a project with the Hot Springs County (Wyo.) Sheriff’s Department to investigate how Mobile Ad-hoc Networks (MANETs) could be applied to rural public safety. The group's report to the sponsor, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, demonstrated that in situations with limited conventional network access, a MANET could be effectively used to provide communications at the site of a public safety incident or to extend backbone connectivity over a larger geographic region.

[Read more here...]


2009: Research Postcard: Montana Microfabrication Facility

This electron microscope image of the MSU Bobcat athletics logo is a standing silicon structure fabricated in the Montana Microfabriaction Facility (MMF) using the Oxford ICP plasma etcher. The width of the logo is approximately 10 microns, well below the diameter of a human hair. The pattern was drawn into PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) using the E-beam lithography system in MSU's Imaging and Chemical Analysis Lab (ICAL).

The electron microscope image was provided by ECE undergraduate student David Weir, a member of ECE Prof. Wataru Nakagawa's nano optics group here at MSU.

electron photomicrograph

laser microscope (Photo by Kelly Gorham)

2009: Handheld laser microscope incorporates a MEMS mirror system

Chris Arrasmith, a Montana State University MSEE graduate, is working with doctors at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Tennessee to build a handheld laser microscope. The prototype device incorporates a variety of special features, including a silicon micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) mirror made by Microvision, Inc., in Bothell, WA. The MEMS mirror rapidly scans the microscope's laser. The instrument was designed and constructed by Arrasmith and his advisor, ECE Prof. David Dickensheets.

[see MSU News Service article]

2009 Research Postcard: Cobleigh Hall

Lidar beam and lunar corona




In this photograph taken by Prof. Joe Shaw, a lidar (light detection and ranging) beam is emitted through the roof port in Cobleigh Hall. The lidar is used to detect the properties of tiny dust, smoke, water, and ice particles suspended in the atmosphere high overhead.

The moon in the photograph is surrounded by a corona--a set of colored rings around the moon (or sun) that occurs when light is diffracted by nominally spherical cloud particles. This kind of display almost always is created by tiny liquid water droplets, but can sometimes be caused by unusually small ice crystals.

The lidar data can be used to distinguish between clouds of water droplets and ice crystals based on the properties of the reflected laser pulses.

2009 Research Postcard: Deer Lodge, Montana

Grant-Kohrs Ranch acoustical monitor site

The National Park Service is sponsoring a special acoustics project, directed by ECE Department Head Prof. Rob Maher, to assess and evaluate the baseline soundscape at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, located just north of Deer Lodge, Montana. Grant-Kohrs (GRKO) is a working cattle ranch commemorating the heritage of cowboys, stock growers, and cattle ranchers in the history of the American West during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Montana State University and GRKO staff are implementing a year-long acoustical study of the natural, cultural, and community sounds that comprise the ambient acoustic environment of the historic site.

The audio measurements will establish an acoustic "baseline" to help park managers understand the seasonal variation in sounds at the ranch due to wildlife, livestock, ranch operations, and ranch visitors. The audio measurements will also help assess the level of noise attributable to external sound sources in the vicinity of the historic site, such as highway traffic, aircraft, and recreational activities, and the potential impact of community growth on the acoustical integrity of the visitors' experience. One of the results will be a 365 day long MP3 recording of the site: that will be 8,760 hours of audio! More information: GRKO Sound Project.

2009 Research Postcard: Red Bluff Research Ranch, Montana

Charlie Keith multispectral imaging

ECE graduate student Charlie Keith is pictured with some of his field test equipment at the Montana State University Red Bluff Research Ranch located about 30 miles west of Bozeman, near Norris, Montana. With the beautiful backdrop of the snowcapped 10,220 ft. (3,115 m) summit of Ward Peak and the Tobacco Root Mountains, Charlie is using a hyperspectral imaging system to map noxious weed infestations as part of a research project with Prof. Kevin Repasky.

2008 NASA Awards Research Grant for High Spectral Resolution Lidar

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded a new grant to a team consisting of MSU ECE Professors Kevin Repasky (PI) and Joe Shaw (Co-PI), MSU Physics Prof. John Carlsten (Co-PI), and Visiting Professor John Reagan (Co-PI) of the University of Arizona. The project is entitled Development of a Novel High Spectral Resolution Lidar for Studies of the Effects of Aerosols on the Earth's Climate System, and is funded under the NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program administered by NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

The research project involves the design, construction, and evaluation of a High Spectral Resolution Lidar system for measuring aerosols in the Earth's atmosphere. Lidar, an acronym for light detection and ranging, is a technique that shines a specially formulated laser beam into the atmosphere overhead and detects the properties of the light that bounces back at different altitudes from suspended particles in the air. This remote-sensing technique allows the researchers to learn more about the properties and characteristics of the atmosphere, and ultimately how the atmospheric composition affects global climate.

The EPSCoR award provides $750,000 for a three-year period beginning 9/1/08. The MSU team will work closely with researchers from the NASA Langley Reseach Center in Virginia, including Dr. Christopher Hostetler, Dr. Jonathan Hair, and MSU alumnus Dr. Michael Obland. Four MSU graduate students and two undergraduate students will also be supported by the project.

[see MSU News Service article]

2008 Research Postcard: Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii

optics research in Hawaii

Aloha, Montana! ECE doctoral student Andrew Dahlberg, Prof. Joe Shaw (PI), and post-doc Nathan Pustare pictured with their tripod-mounted all-sky polarization imaging system located 11,135' (3,394m) above sea level at the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) on the island of Hawaii. Prof. Shaw's project is sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

The detection system acquires images of the sky polarization, which depends strongly on aerosol content. The term aerosol refers to the presence of tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in the air, such as dust, smoke, and chemical compounds. The MLO is a desirable location to conduct optical calibration experiments because of the very low aerosol content in the atmosphere over Hawaii.

The polarization imaging experiments run from mid-May through June 5, 2008.

2007 Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg Tours Optical Instrumentation Lab

Congressman Rehberg with ECE grad students

MSU ECE graduate students Amin Nehrir, Seth Humphries, and Charlie Keith explained their experimental research work on optical instrumentation for CO2 sequestration monitoring to Congressman Denny Rehberg and his staff during the Congressman's visit to campus on August 31, 2007. Congressman Rehberg was accompanied by Vice-President for Research Tom McCoy and Associate Vice-President Lee Spangler.

2007 MSU President Gamble Visits Bee Lidar Experiment

Gamble visits bee lidar site.

Associate Vice-President Lee Spangler, Vice-President for Research Tom McCoy, and MSU President Geoff Gamble paid a visit to the bee detection and tracking lidar experiment site on August 22, 2007. Several ECE faculty, staff, and students participated in the tour, including Tia Sharpe, David Hoffman, Charlie Keith, Kevin Repasky, and Amin Nehrir.

FY2007 ECE Research Expenditures top $2.8M

The ECE external research grants and contracts enterprise generated a record $2,784,970 in actual expenditures during the 2006-2007 fiscal year (ending June 2007). The official total did not include special projects expenditures in ECE from external support directed through the Office of the Vice President for Research, which added approximately an additional $1.5 million in ECE-related expenditures.

The FY07 total research expenditure for the entire College of Engineering was reported to be $15,435,614. Montana State University's campus-wide FY07 research total was $102,116,323.

ECE Faculty Receive MBRCT Funding for FY2008-2009

ECE professors Hongwei Gao, Bruce McLeod and Kevin Repasky have each received funding from the Montana Board of Research & Commercialization Technology for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. Prof. Gao is working with local company ILX Lightwave on a project entitled "Zero Voltage Switching Research" ($159,673). Prof. McLeod's project is entitled "A Proposal to Develop a Non-Invasive Clinical Device that is Effective in Clearing Persistent Infections in Prosthetic Knee Implants" ($146,484), and Prof. Repasky's project is "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Deployment of Hyperspectral Imaging Spectrometers for Noxious Weed Mapping and Carbon Sequestration Site Monitoring" ($136,890).

ECE Authors Win 2007 IEEE Energy Development and Power Generation Prize Paper Award!

The 2007 prize paper award for the IEEE Power Engineering Society Energy Development and Power Generation (EDPG) Technical Committee is "Dynamic Models and Model Validation for PEM Fuel Cells Using Electrical Circuits," by former MSU PhD student Caisheng Wang, Associate Professor Steven R. Shaw, and Professor M. Hashem Nehrir. The award was made at the 2007 IEEE Power Engineering Society General Meeting, 25-29 June, 2007, in Tampa, Florida.