UMass Boston

Research & Impact

Faculty Research

Faculty Research in Quantum Electronics

Research in quantum electronics in the Engineering Department at UMass Boston studies the properties of novel micro- and nanostructured electronic devices and their interaction with classical and quantum mechanical currents and voltages. Devices that harness the properties of quantum mechanics in a scalable solid-state environment are already being put to use in ultrafast supercomputing, terahertz wave detection, ultra-secure communications, and quantum information processing. Such work is being performed in a state-of-the-art research environment where experimental techniques combine nanofabrication, cryogenic temperatures, and low-noise measurements to design and characterize the unique properties of these systems. (Principal Investigator: Prof. Matthew Bell)

Faculty Research in Integrated Quantum Photonics

Integrated photonics research in the Engineering Department at UMass Boston focuses on integrated photonic chip implementation of quantum optic phenomena. Quantum optics treats light as a single discrete quantum of energy, and researchers and students in the Engineering Department are investigating the means for generating and detecting single photons at the chip scale and how these photons can be used in quantum metrology, quantum cryptography, and quantum computation. Approaches that are undertaken use novel methods for fabrication of quantum dot structures through sophisticated band gap engineering of III-V semiconducting materials. Such efforts require knowledge of both semiconductor physics and nanofabrication techniques. (Principal Investigator: Prof. Walter Buchwald)

Faculty Research in Cyber-Physical Systems

Research into Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) is undertaken in the Cy-Phy Lab at UMass Boston. CPS are multidimensional embedded and networked computing systems that take input from the physical world; and process these data to extract critical information that is needed to act upon the physical world in a closed-loop fashion. systems. They operate at the intersection of embedded systems, wireless networking, robotics and automation, and the physical world. Each one of these core component areas is integral in the design and operation of CPS. Research into CPS at UMass Boston focuses on designing embedded computing architectures and methodologies for CPS with applications in assistive technologies, medical devices, and robotics and automation. The Cy-Phy Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equipment, electronic test-benches, robotic platforms, embedded-, desktop-, and power-computing infrastructure, and advanced sensors and actuators; all necessary for the rapid development of CPS (Principal Investigator: Prof. Filip Cuckov)

Faculty Research in Assistive Technologies

Helping vision-impaired and blind people navigate a building has long been an important topic in the field of accessibility and assistive technology. Numerous technologies provide indoor navigation assistance, especially with the increasing popularity of smartphones; however, due to the technical difficulty of precisely locating a user in real time without incurring significant user costs or upgrading building infrastructure,many techniques have to compromise and cannot provide real-time directions, or are too cumbersome or costly for widespread deployment and acceptance. The goal of this research is to overcome the shortcomings of existing techniques by providing intuitive, detailed, and accurate real-time indoor directions (micro-navigation) to vision-impaired and blind people with minimal added physical or cognitive burdens. (Principal Investigator: Prof. Ping Chen)

Faculty Research in Antennas for Wireless Devices

Research into applied electromagnetics in the Engineering Department at UMass Boston is used to develop antenna solutions for the communications and sensing applications of the future. Wireless devices are growing smaller and more ubiquitous, following the trend of Moore’s Law and shrinking exponentially year by year. Miniaturization of antennas is limited by physical laws, so antenna design has quickly become a bottleneck as electronic systems continue to shrink. Researchers at UMass Boston strive to solve these problems by developing new designs,applying classical electromagnetic theory in new ways, and creating application specific approaches that strive to balance design trade-offs for consumer, military, and medical applications. (Principal Investigator: Prof. K.C. Kerby-Patel)

Faculty Research in Optoelectronic Devices

Research efforts in optoelectronics and nanophotonics in the Engineering Department at UMass Boston focus on design and simulation of novel photonic devices, such as lasers and detectors that operate over a broad spectrum, from terahertz, through infrared, to visible. These devices are typically made of either III-V, II-VI, or Group-IV semiconductors in structures of quantum-scale dimensions, and the working principles involve band-to-band, as well as intersubband, transitions in quantum-confined semiconductor structures. Researchers in the Engineering Department study light-matter interactions in nanoscale metal structures in which light gets focused onto the sub-wavelength scale beyond the diffraction limit. This research strives to arrive at an understanding of the effects of optical-field enhancement on the optical properties of various active elements and to explore their applications and limitations in sensing techniques and optoelectronic devices. (Principal Investigator: Prof. Greg Sun)

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate electrical engineering students are developing material-processing techniques to fabricate titanium nitride thin films with high kinetic inductance and minimal loss at low temperatures. The students are developing the necessary deposition recipes and will test the thin films at low temperatures. The results of this project will contribute to novel designs of high-gain, low-noise amplifiers for quantum computing applications and new types of electrical current standards.

Another team of undergraduate students in the Engineering Department at UMass Boston is tasked with designing a sample holder and associated electronics for controlling the orientation and handling of a niobium sample during the experiment. Accurate measurement of secondary electron emission in scientific experiments provides better insight into plasma properties. Understanding how the sample angle affects secondary electron emission is vital to the progress of particle accelerator science research.