Electromagnetics and Photonics

Drs. Yoon, Xie, Arnold, Sheplak lead research focused on advanced electromagnetic and photonic devices and systems. Examples include micro-/nano machined metamaterials, RF components, optical transducers, and wireless systems. Metamaterials--artificial materials designed for microwave, terahertz, or optic frequency bands--are being developed to enable compact radio frequency (RF) components; multiband microwave filters, resonators, and couplers; subwavelength lenses; and cloaking devices. Additional effort is focused on micromachined electromagnetic components such as antennas, waveguides, inductors, and transformers. Optical-based sensors/actuators/systems are being leveraged for measurements in harsh environments or for in vivo biomedical imaging. Lastly, wireless sensors and systems are being explored for remote sensing and wireless power transmission.

Rapid On-site Detection of Fecal Indicating Bacteria for Coastal Water Quality Monitoring

Detection of fecal indicating bacteria plays an important role in water quality monitoring to ensure safe human water contact and/or drinking.  Specifically, epidemiological studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have shown strong correlations between illnesses and bacteria concentrations of Enterococci and E.

Single-Input Control of Large Microrobot Swarms using Serial Addressing for Microassembly and Biomedical Applications

This collaborative research project will create a practical control scheme for large swarms of microrobots. These robots are typically no more than a few millimeters in length, and rely on an external power source and control signal. Currently, it is possible to steer the swarm as a whole to a single destination (or perhaps, to a desired average location). However, realizing the full potential benefits of microrobot swarms will require the ability to simultaneously send independent commands, either to individual robots or to small subgroups.

Magnetic Thick Films for Integrated Microwave Devices

This project is under DARPA's Magnetic Miniaturized and Monolithically Integrated Components (M3IC) program in the DARPA Microsystems Technology Office.

The objective of this effort is to develop thick-film magnetic materials that can be fabricated on semiconductor integrated circuits to enable highly miniaturized microwave components such as circulators and isolators operating in the 10 to 110 GHz frequency regime. These nonlinear, non-reciprocal components are critical for next generation radios, radar, and sensing systems for defense, consumer, automotive, and healthcare applications.

Miniaturization of Resonant Wireless Power Transfer System Components

Portable and wearable electronics require wireless charging to sustain mobile usage at convenient positions and locations. The goal is to develop a compact, highly power efficient wireless power transfer charging system operating at 6.78 MHz, which is compliant with the Rezence standard.The research scope includes development of a highly compact, high efficiency, ferrite-core receiver antenna; and a metamaterial lens to enhance WPT efficiency between the transmitter and the receiver.  In this work, we focus on WPT receiver modules for various portable and wearable consumable electronics with a power rating of ~10 W such as smart phones, radios, laptops, tablets, and military electronics. In future work, this technology could also be scalable to other power ranges, such as mW for biomedical implants to kW for automobiles.

Zero-Power Magnetic Field Sensors Using Magnetoelectric Nanowires

We seek to develop a platform that allows magnetic field sensing using a small footprint, in the absence of an external power supply. Our approach uses magnetoelectric nanofibers to create a zero-power magnetic field sensor. The challenge is to develop methods to assemble these materials into devices that leverage their unique anisotropic properties.

The figure of merit for magnetoelectric materials is the magnetoelectric coefficient, a measure of the amount of voltage generated with respect to the magnitude of the applied magnetic field. Bulk magnetoelectrics and thin films are limited by defects and substrate clamping respectively.  To overcome the limitations of thin-film based composite magnetoelectrics we have developed magnetoelectric bilayer structures on a single nanofiber, i.e., 1D magnetoelectrics. These materials are theoretically predicted to have magnetoelectric coupling coefficients that are orders of magnitude greater than their thin film counterparts. 

Magnetoelectric materials can be employed in a wide variety of applications including magnetic field sensors and tunable resonance energy harvesters.  By optimizing for material system and architecture, drastic increases in magnitude of voltage generated with decreased size can be achieved. This could allow for more sensitive magnetic field sensors appropriate for a wider array of applications and decreased size to allow for easier integration into ICs.

Modeling of the Magnetic Particle Imaging Signal Due to Magnetic Nanoparticles

Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) is a new tomographic imaging technique that maps the spatial distribution of iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) in real time and with spatial resolution that is on par or better than other biomedical imaging techniques. In this project, we will develop a theoretical foundation relating the properties of MNPs and MPI magnetic field conditions to the MPI signal strength and resolution. These efforts will yield design rules that will guide the rational design of future generations of MNP tracers for MPI. The proposed research will enable development of a novel biomedical imaging technique capable of high resolution real time imaging using nontoxic tracers suitable for a variety of biomedical applications.

Micromachining of Permanent Magnet Undulator Structures for Compact X-ray Sources

Research Objective

To investigate the use of advanced microfabrication technologies and MEMS-enabled magnetization methods in developing reduced-scale permanent magnet undulator structures (with fine pole pitch ~5 microns) while maintaining reasonable magnetic field strengths as well as efficient generation of brilliant, high energy (>10keV) mono-energetic x-rays from modest electron beam source energies (~200MeV).


An accelerated beam of electrons with relativistic velocities experiences an undulation when passing through a spatially periodic magnetic field. This undulation of the beam trajectory results in the generation of electromagnetic radiation from which intense, tunable x-rays can be produced.