Elmyra Grelle Wins the 2014 SOE Staff Award!

Elmyra Grelle, Coordinator of the Graduate Program at ECE, has won the prestigious 2013-2014 School of Engineering Staff award. She will be receive a check for $1,000 and a plaque at the Student Staff Awards Banquet which will take place on Fri., May 9 from 11 am to 1:30 pm at the Centennial Engineering Center.

“The competition this year was extraordinary, making the selection process a difficult one,” said Dr. Joseph Cecchi, Dean of the School of Engineering.

Elmyra manages the application process for incoming graduate students and the degree process for those already enrolled. She advises and assists them as they navigate their way through their individual programs. She also maintains their records and processes their contracts.

"Elmyra is one of the hardest workers I know," said co-worker Yvone' Nelson. "She is always juggling multiple responsibilities and deadlines. She gives high priority to her graduate students and takes great care of them. In fact, many lovingly refer to her as their mom."

"Outside of my children, my greatest accomplishment has been making a difference in the lives of students,” said Elmyra. “I have worked with students from kindergarten to college and that's a lot of students!"

Elmyra was born and raised in Albuquerque. "I'm a two time New Mexico State alumni, carrying on a long family tradition of attending NMSU,” she said proudly.

Elmyra taught in public and private schools for 12 years before joining ECE in 2006. "I love working with the graduate students because of their desire to pursue an advanced degree, their enthusiasm about their research and their multi-national backgrounds," she said.


COSMIAC Wins America Makes Award and is Hoping to Develop a “Star Trek Replicator”

COSMIAC, a research division of the School of Engineering with strong ties to ECE, just received word that they will become part of an America Makes Award in conjunction with Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and the University of Texas at El Paso.

COSMIAC will develop new and innovative projects with Additive Manufacturing — popularly known as 3-D printing. 3-D printing has grown in great strides in the past few years with a new machine costing about the same as a decent LaserJet printer.

COSMIAC stands for the "Configurable Space Microsystems Innovations and Applications Center." It promotes aerospace innovation through the reliable and responsible use of configurable technology in military and defense systems.

Craig Kief, an Adjunct Professor at ECE, is in charge of the academic programs and design services of COSMIAC. "Right now all we do is print plastic widgets, like cups, bowls and forks, not intelligent widgets,” said Mr. Kief. “What we now want to do is produce a Star Trek replicator: We want to print a radio. Not just a handle on a car, but a radio on a car!"

What makes this grant so much more exciting to COSMIAC is that it involves printing electronics into 3-D material. “3-D printing is a new industrial revolution,” said Brian Zufelt, a research engineer at COSMIAC, “Decades ago I would have had to invest tens of thousands of dollars to create a prototype. Now with 3-D printing I can design parts, enclosures and real hardware, for a couple bucks.”

Shown below right are two examples of COSMIAC’s futuristic research. These cubeset structures, which hold the electronics of a satellite, were made using 3-D printing technology by UTEP.

The first is an antenna that was printed into the wall of a spacecraft that was similar to UNM's first satellite, launched in 2013. The second example is a solar panel that was printed into the wall of a spacecraft.

This novel form of printing helps to reduce the risk of exposed wiring being crimped or accidentally cut. It also achieves reductions in size and weight in a spaceship — which are critical to the success of aerospace applications.

America Makes, one of the sponsors of COSMIAC’s award, is focused on helping UNM grow its capabilities and strength in 3-D printing by collaborating with academia, business, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

To learn more about COSMIAC and the sort of things that they are doing over there, please check out the following video that was aired back in 2011:


ECE Professor Greg Heileman Teaches UNM’s First MOOC Class: Web Application Architecture

Imagine teaching a class in web application architecture to over 33,000 students! That’s exactly what ECE Professor Greg Heileman began doing on March 24.

Dr. Heileman is teaching a MOOC — which stands for “Massive Online Open Course” — and it’s the first of its kind to be offered at UNM.

UNM has partnered with coursera.org and 108 institutions worldwide to provide Dr. Heileman’s class to anybody who wishes to take it, free of charge. “We envision a future where everyone has access to a world-class education,” says the coursera.org website.

Students will learn on their own schedule, watch short video lectures, take interactive quizzes, complete peer graded assessments and connect with their teachers and classmates.

“This course is not about how to build a pretty web page, it's about how to build and deploy the full stack of protocols and technologies associated with a complete web app,” said Dr. Heileman.

Dr. Heilman explains the goals of his MOOC in the following video:


Anybody with a computer can register for the class, at no cost, by clicking this link

Dr. Heilman’s groundbreaking efforts to create UNM’s first MOOC has garnered lots of well-written local media attention. The Albuquerque Journal’s story can be accessed by clicking this link and UNM’s coverage of the story can be found here

You can also watch a TV news story that recently aired on KOAT here



ECE Professor Daniel Feezell Publishes GaN VCSEL Review in Compound Semiconductor

Daniel Feezell’s six-page, full-color article entitled “The Evolving GaN VCSEL” was published in this month’s Compound Semiconductor (Vol 20, No. 1), a trade magazine based in the UK with an international print circulation of 60,000. 

Dr. Feezell’s article can also be found at the Compound Semiconductor’s website which can be accessed by clicking this link

(A compound semiconductor is made from two or more elements — in contrast to a normal semiconductor which is made from silicon.)

This review provides an overview of progress and challenges for GaN-based vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), which typically emit light in the violet to green region of the optical spectrum.  These devices are finding applications in high-density optical data storage, chemical and biological sensing, and high-resolution printing.

Dr. Feezell’s article is important because of the far-reaching exposure that his words will receive: A paper that is written at a conference only reaches a select audience. This article, however, has the potential of capturing the attention of engineers and their management on a global scale. 

The Magazine Compound Semiconductor touts itself as being the “leading provider of news, analysis, opinion, information and services for the worldwide Compound Semiconductor industry since 1995.”


Feb. 21 Solar Open House is a Dazzling Success

Over 100 people attended the ECE Solar Open House at Mesa Del Sol on Fri., Feb. 21, 2014 from noon until 3 p.m. 

Upon their arrival, visitors snacked on treats and walked through the $285,000 structure.

Later, UNM President Robert Frank and Provost Chaouki Abdallah acted as keynote speakers during a ceremony held in an adjoining tent. They introduced a host of politicians and corporate dignitaries to the overflow crowd.

Known as the SHADE house (short for “Solar Homes Adapting for Desert Equilibrium”) participants in the Open House were able to study, first-hand, a luxurious structure that can produce more energy than it consumes.

Originally constructed as part of the Solar Decathalon (a collegiate competition sponsored by the US Dept. of Energy), ECE partnered with Arizona State University to form a team that designed and built the structure.

“This was the first time UNM participated in the Solar Decathlon and we are proud of the result,” said UNM President Robert Frank during his welcome and opening remarks.  “(We were) working and competing shoulder-to-shoulder with other excellent Universities.” Frank then welcomed distinguished visitors from the Congressional Offices of Ben Ray Lujan and Senator Martin Heinrich.

 “Students had to live in this house for 10 days, cook food, wash dishes, wash and dry clothes,” marveled Chaouki Abdallah, UNM Provost. “They also had to have heat or air-conditioning – all while being monitored for how much energy and water was being used.” Abdallah proceded to introduce officials from PNM, Sandia National Labs, Sacred Power and the developer of Mesa del Sol.

Finally, ECE Prof. Olga Lavrova thanked her students for their hard work and invited everybody present to view and learn more about the SHADE house in small groups that were guided by her pupils.

Click here to see the Program for the Open House!

You can take an animated tour of the SHADE house by watching the following video that was created by the Anderson School of Management, IFDM and SA+P:

Jorge Torres, of Albuquerque KOB Eyewitness News 4, recently visited the solar home at Mesa Del Sol and filed this report (after a brief 15 second advertisement):


PhD Candidate Jose Marcio Luna Wins Amazon $21,000 Award Credit

In January 2014 ECE graduate student Jose Marcio Luna won a credit of $21,000 to carry out his experiments in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

"This award is very important for me because it indicates that I am on the right track and gives me the motivation to keep working," said Jose Marcio Luna during a recent interview.

Jose is originally from Colombia where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering at the District University of Bogota. He then earned a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering here, at ECE.

“I was born in the Colombian Caribbean coast which is well known for its beautiful mixture of Indigenous African and Spanish culture. These influences have shaped my ideas, perceptions and opinions of the surrounding reality,” said Jose who arrived at ECE from Columbia in the fall of 2007.

Elmyra Grelle, ECE graduate program coordinator at UNM, has worked with Jose since he arrived here after winning the Colfuturo Scholarship to pursue graduate studies. “Jose is very kind, courteous and helpful to other international students and has been diligent in earning his degrees,” said Grelle.

“I’m currently working on my PhD in Electrical Engineering with a PhD minor in Applied Mathematics under the supervision of Dr. Chaouki Abdallah. In my spare time I practice camping, hiking and rock climbing in the New Mexican mountains,” said Jose.

“My current research looks at the development of theoretical techniques to optimize the performance of computing systems by using Control Systems theory, Discrete Event Systems(DES) theory, optimization theory and Randomized Algorithms.”

Majeed Hayat and Sanjay Krishna Named IEEE Fellows

ECE faculty members Majeed Hayat and Sanjay Krishna have been named IEEE Fellows.

The IEEE is the world's largest technical professional society, with over 400,000 members. The IEEE was designed to serve professionals involved in all aspects of the electrical, electronic and computing fields and related areas of science and technology that underlie modern civilization. The number of Fellows elected in any given year is limited to 0.1% of the membership.

"The elevation of two of our ECE faculty in the Fellow Class of 2014 is a matter of considerable pride," said Jane Lehr, department chair. "The recognition of the outstanding technical accomplishments of Professors Sanjay Krishna and Majeed Hayat is a prestigious honor and an important career milestone."

Majeed Hayat, a professor at ECE, was recognized for his contributions to the modeling of impact ionization and noise in avalanche-photodiode devices. His research has helped ensure that consumer demand for higher data volume and speed within today’s computer networks are met.

Hayat pioneered techniques that have changed the way we look at avalanche photodiode photodetectors. His work on image-processing algorithms and thermal/spectral imaging have lead to the improvement and performance of inexpensive uncooled infrared imagers.

Sanjay Krishna, Director of the Center for High Technology Materials, joined ECE in 2001 and was recognized for his contributions to infrared detectors and focal plane arrays. His research into infrared sensing has helped firefighters locate people trapped in smoke-filled rooms and pilots find landing strips during bad weather.

Krishna's work has helped doctors non-invasively detect skin cancer, arthritis and diabetic neuropathy. His investigations into early skin cancer detection could help save millions of lives. He is best known for his development of novel midwave/longwave infrared detectors and focal plane arrays based on the quantum-dot-in-a-well design.

Both Hayat and Krishna received a beautifully matted and framed certificate bearing their names and a brief citation describing their accomplishments. They also received a congratulatory letter from the IEEE president and a gold sterling silver Fellow lapel pin with antique finish.

We invite those who would like to learn more to read the IEEE press releases that were recently published by the School of Engineering. To read Majeed Hayat's release, press this link. And to read about Sanjay Krishna's release, please press this link.

Dorca Lee Wins NASA/New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship

Dorca Lee, a PhD student in Dr. Rafael Fierro’s robotics lab won the NASA/New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship on December 16, 2013.

Dorca began her robotics research in July 2012, when she received an NSF grant that sent her to Brazil and allowed her the opportunity to collaborate with the computer science department at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, UFMG. While there, she developed an algorithm that controls the way a large number of robots navigate an area collectively without directly specifying movements for each individual.

Dorca wrote a proposal about this work to the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium and how her project could potentially improve the way planetary exploration is done at NASA. This preliminary and promising swarm segregation algorithm won her the NASA/New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship. With this award she hopes to make improvement to her research, run lab tests, and hopefully make robotic swarms a possibility in outer space.

Dorca arrived at UNM from ETH Zurich in 2012 where she was studying electrical engineering. She has Bachelors in physics and applied math, and a Masters in electrical engineering from FSU. She plans to pursue her PhD at UNM while working with Dr. Fierro’s robotics lab.

La Cueva High School’s Gifted Mentorship Program Rocks ECE!

Eight excited high school students visited the ECE Department on November 11. These budding young scientists and engineers were part of the La Cueva High School’s Gifted Mentorship Program.

The students eagerly explored the nooks and crannies of the ECE building and also visited the plasma physics lab, the x-ray studies lab and the VLSI lab.

The high schoolers were awed by the HelCat plasma device (which looks like something out of a science fiction movie) and their curiosity was further stoked by passionate college students and professors who shared their own experiences, hopes and dreams for the future.

After the tour the students met with mentors who helped identify their interests and prepare them for an academic adventure that will begin this spring at ECE. At that time these gifted students will start working with research teams who will further nurture their interests in Electrical and Computer Engineering and prepare them for the college experience.

Edward Nava is looking forward to talking to students (or their parents) who have an interest in this unique engineering journey. Ed can be reached by e-mail at ejnava@unm.edu or give him a call at (505) 277-0809.

UNM ECE Professor Receives Prestigious DARPA Young Faculty Award

Daniel Feezell, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently received a highly competitive DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA). The objective of the DARPA YFA program is to identify and engage rising research stars in junior faculty positions at U.S. academic institutions and expose them to Department of Defense needs as well as DARPA’s program development process. [more]

UNM OSE-ECE and Smart Lighting ERC student is awarded SPIE Student Travel Grant 2013

UNM OSE-ECE and Smart lighting ERC PhD student, Md. Mottaleb Hossain, was awarded the prestigious SPIE Student Travel Grant to present his paper titled "Theoretical characteristics of 1.55 µm InN based quantum dot laser" at the SPIE Optics & Photonics Conference, San Diego, CA, USA, August 25-29, 2013. The SPIE Optics & Photonics Conference is the largest optical science and technology meeting in North America. Mr. Hossain was selected for this travel grant by the SPIE and the Symposium and Conference Chairs of the Optics & Photonics Symposium. [more]

ECE Prof. Zhen Peng Receives Young Scientist Awards

Zhen Peng, Assistant Professor in Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has recently received the Young Scientist Award of 2013 Asia-Pacific Radio Science Conference. He has also received the Young Scientist Award of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Commission B, 2013 International Symposium on Electromagnetic Theory. [more]

UNM School of Engineering Announces New Chair for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The UNM School of Engineering is pleased to announce that Jane Lehr will be joining the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as professor and chair on August 1, 2013. Lehr is an internationally respected researcher with a record of marked distinction and significant impact in the areas of pulsed power science and technology. She brings a commitment to education, extensive experience in administration and leadership, and well-honed interpersonal skills. Lehr received her Ph.D. in 1996 in Electrical Engineering from New York University-Polytechnic. [more]


UNM ECE Prof. Meeko Oishi Receives CAREER Award

Meeko Oishi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently received a highly sought-after National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. [more]




Professors Hayat, Mammoli and Ghani win $1.05M grant from DTRA to Support Smart Grid Research

Professors Majeed Hayat, Andrea Mammoli and Nasir Ghani have recently received a three-year $1.05 million grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to support basic research on understanding cascading failures in modern power grids. [more]






"Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that never has been."
—Theodore Von Kármán, co-founder, Caltech Jet Propulsion Lab