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ECE Highlights and Research

Electronic Circuits and Systems

This program involves the study and design of microwave, radio frequency (RF), analog, mixed-signal (combined analog and digital), and digital electronic circuits and systems. Emphasis is on the development, analysis, and implementation of integrated circuits for applications such as wireless and wireline communication systems, microwave and millimeterwave communication and radar systems, and interfaces between computers and sensors. A large effort on RF MEMS (micro-electro-mechnical-systems) emphasizes RF tunable filters and reconfigurable antennas, ultra-fast and very high reliability RF MEMS devices.

Electronic Devices and Materials

Focus on the fundamental physics and device applications of advanced electronic and optoelectronic devices, MEMS, as well as on the science and engineering of new materials and device structures at the micro-, nano-, and atomic scales. The program also explores broader applications in revolutionizing electronics, optoelectronics, and medicines.


Programs encompass interdisciplinary activities in optical science and engineering, optical materials and device technology, optical communications, computer engineering, and photonic systems.

Communication Theory and Systems

Emphasis ranges from abstract theory and performance analysis to system design and implementation. A broad range of issues in communication systems is studied:

Computer Engineering

Program encompasses study of systems both from a hardware and software perspective. It promotes the knowledge and skills in the areas of hardware and software that the modern-day computer engineer requires in order to make optimum system tradeoffs in design. This approach also enables engineers to consider all paths towards the resolution of outstanding research issues. One focus is embedded system design, which has grown into far more than the study of pure microprocessors. Due to advances in technology and miniaturization, exciting new devices incorporate wireless communications and myriads of embedded sensors together with processing and storage capabilities. Areas of interest include:

Intelligent Systems, Robotics, and Control

This highly interdisciplinary field focuses on the application of advanced mathematical, statistical, and information-theoretic computer science and algorithmic methods to the problem of analysis and modeling of complex non-deterministic and uncertain human-interactive systems and environments. Opportunities exist for cross-disciplinary interactions with other departments and research units at UC San Diego. Areas of interest include:

Nanoscale Devices and Systems

Program ranges from fundamental science at the atomic to nanometer scale to the integration of nanoscale structures into systems for electronic, photonic, and biological applications. Areas of interest include:

Signal and Image Processing


Program encompasses issues related to the modeling of signals, starting from the relevant physics, developing and evaluating algorithms for extracting information from the signal, and implementing these algorithms in both software and hardware. Theoretical areas include:

ECE News Briefs

San Diego, Calif., Nov. 7, 2014 – The Radar for Pedestrian Safety, developed by Electrical Engineers at the Univ. of California, San Diego (in conjunction with Toyota Technical Center, Fujitsu-Ten, and the Michigan Technological Research Institute), was recognized by R&D Magazine as one of the top 100 technologies introduced during the past year.

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego and The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY) is one of only six groups to win one of Twitter’s inaugural #DataGrants. To do so, they beat out more than 1,300 rival proposals from around the world. A 2012 Ph.D. from ECE, Mehrdad Yazdani, is the PI for the joint QI/CUNY team.


The possibility of manipulating magnetic systems without applied magnetic fields have attracted growing attention over the past fifteen years. The low-power manipulation of the magnetization, preferably at ultrashort timescales, has become a fundamental challenge with implications for future magnetic information memory and storage technologies. Here we explore the optical manipulation of the magnetization in engineered magnetic materials. We demonstrate that all-optical helicity-dependent switching (AO-HDS) can be observed not only in selected rare earth–transition metal (RE–TM) alloy films but also in a much broader variety of materials, including RE–TM alloys, multilayers and heterostructures. We further show that RE-free CoIr-based synthetic ferrimagnetic heterostructures designed to mimic the magnetic properties of RE–TM alloys also exhibit AO-HDS. These results challenge present theories of AO-HDS and provide a pathway to engineering materials for future applications based on all-optical control of magnetic order.

To read more go to: and


Ryan Aguinaldo has been selected as one of two graduate students to represent UC San Diego at CASE 2014: Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering, a three-day workshop developed by AAAS in Washington, DC. He will interact with members of the United States Congress and their staff to learn about the federal budget process, policy making, and effective science advocacy and communication at the national level. 

Ryan is a senior graduate student in the Micro/Nano-Photonics Group led by Professor Shayan Mookherjea. His research on silicon photonic devices for optical networks is valuable to the Center for Integrated Access Networks, an NSF Engineering Research Center. Ryan has been President of the ECE Graduate Student Council and an officer of the student chapters of IEEE, OSA, and SPIE. The United Nations has been declared 2015 as the “International Year of Light” and Ryan will be contributing to raising awareness of optics and photonics research on Capitol Hill.


Prof. Charles Tu received an IEEE Region 6 Outstanding Educator Award.  Region 6 comprises of western U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii.  The citation reads "for exceptional leadership in engineering education and dedication to the IEEE student branches of the San Diego Section".

In a recent article in Nature Nanotechnology, Liu and colleagues show that an artificial metamaterial can increase the light intensity and “blink speed” of a fluorescent light-emitting dye molecule. The nanopatterned layers of silver and silicon in the new material sped up the molecule’s blink rate to 76 times faster than normal, while producing an 80-fold increase in its brightness. To read more go to:


Prof. Shaya Fainman's lab is featured on SPIE website. To read more go to

Jacobs School ECE News