University Research Centers

in the School for Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

A lot of our research activities are organized in centers, many of which are interdisciplinary. To learn more about specific research groups, navigate through the specific faculty in the areas of specialization.

To find university wide user facilities, refer to the Core Facilities.

Center for Applied Nanoionics

Director: Michael Kozicki

The Center for Applied Nanoionics (CANi) lies at the cutting edge of worldwide research in nanoionic materials and devices. Nanoionics concern materials and devices that rely on ion transport and chemical change at the nanoscale. The center is affiliated with the ASU Nanofab and the Center for Solid State Electronics Research.

Accomplishments of CANi include the generation of several dozen US and foreign patents and the licensing of the Programmable Metallization Cell (PMC) platform to industry at the start of 2012.

Center for Computational Nanoscience

Director: Marco Saraniti 

The Center for Computational Nanoscience brings together multidisciplinary work on modeling and simulation of nanoscale systems. Typical projects focus on the development of novel numerical methods and algorithms, as well as applications to the study of phenomena with nanoscale resolution. Of particular relevance for the center is the study of phenomena that originate at the nanoscale, but evolve on much greater time and space domains.

Center for Efficient Vehicles and Sustainable Transportation Systems

Center for Efficient Vehicles and Sustainable Transportation Systems

Director: Hongbin Yu

Leveraging collaborations among corporate, government, and academic partners to conduct and disseminate industry-relevant research on technologies and tools that facilitate the design, manufacture, deployment, and operation of energy efficient, environmentally sustainable ground vehicles. The scope of this mission includes passenger cars, light- and heavy duty trucks, and motorized off-road equipment. It encompasses both vehicle-level technologies, and the infrastructure and transportation systems that incorporate ground vehicles.

The mission is divided into four primary thrust areas: Powertrains for full-electric vehicles and the entire continuum of electric-hybrid powertrains, including batteries, electric machines, power electronics, thermal management, packaging, etc., advanced internal combustion engines and alternative fuels, non-powertrain vehicle systems, and ground transportation systems and infrastructure. Within EV-STS the ASU site will have a research focus on realizing sustainable electrified vehicles. Site-specific topic areas are likely to include power electronics, power electronics device, system integration, and materials and processes for integration for vehicle-connected wearable health monitoring electronics for driver safety and overall transportation system safety.

Center for Photonics Innovation

Director: Yong-Hang Zhang

Focus: Integrates a broad spectrum of research areas, ranging from the fundamental study of photon-matter interactions to practical devices, such as solar cells, lasers and optical sensors for medical and biological applications.


  • Yong-Hang Zhang and Zachary Holman achieved world record efficiency on monocrystaline CdTe solar cells. This work was published in the prestigious Nature Energy, and reported by various websites and TV news.
  • Center members such as Yong-Hang Zhang, Zachary Holman, Yuji Zhao contributed to 2016 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, with one best student paper award and one best poster award.
  • Cun-Zheng Ning’s PhD student Zhicheng Liu received Palais Outstanding Doctorial Student Award from School of ECEE.
  • Yu Yao won a Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
Center for Solid State Electronics Research

Director: Trevor Thornton

The Center provides resources and infrastructure for research and education in solid state electronics. The center has 30 laboratories covering more than 30,000 sq.ft.; including a Class-100 Cleanroom administered and maintained by a complement of 10 staff and two student workers.

Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architectures (WISCA)

Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architectures (WISCA)
An Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) Approved Center

Director: Daniel Bliss
Associate Director: Chaitali Chakrabarti
Associate Director: Umit Ogras

The Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architectures (WISCA) places Arizona State University at the research and development nexus of the next wireless revolution. To address future wireless communications, we need access to more sophisticated, more flexible, and more efficient protocols and computational engines. Current communications approaches are efficient and inflexible or flexible and inefficient.

By codeveloping advanced fluid protocols and mixed software define radios with hardware accelerators, we can solve both problems simultaneously. Furthermore, current protocols were developed under the assumption that communications links cannot operate in the presence of interference. This assumption introduces a significant limitation on potential performance.

With our new radio architectures, we can break this rigid limitation. To aid this development, WISCA provides researchers a wide range of tools. In particular, WISCA provides a laboratory space with a suite of software defined radios (SDRs). This radio system is designed to allow communications researchers to easily explore new physical and network layer concepts by employing a simple development interface. A low duty cycle communications approach is employed to emulate real continuous-time systems. This discontinuous time operation is transparent to the radio researcher. By using this system, researchers can explore over-the-air radio operations with development times comparable to simple simulations.


  • Received official ABOR approval, June 18th, 2016
  • Setup physically new laboratory space
  • Investigated air-to-ground phenomenology using SDRs and octocopter
  • Developed preliminary over-the-air wireless testbed using SDRs
  • Implemented preliminary fluid communication system (
  • Implemented preliminary protocol recommendation engine
  • Implemented preliminary hardware recommendation engine for heterogeneous processor
  • Enlisted 15 affiliated faculty

Current projects:

  • Advanced Wireless Communications
  • Radio Revolution (R2)
  • Sensor and Communications Convergence
  • Neural Indicators of Cognition
  • Secure Co-Design Architectures

Industry and government partners:

  • Google
  • S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory
  • S. Office of Naval Research (ONR)
  • Raytheon Corporation
  • SAZE Technology
Connection One

Connection One

A National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center

Director: Sayfe Kiaei
Associate Director: Bertan Bakkaloglu

Focus: Developing integrated circuits and system for wireless and wireline communication systems, including cellular systems, Wi-Fi next generation of wireless transceivers, sensors, antennas, bio-electronics, bio-telemetry and related areas.


  • Integrated radio ICs
  • Integrated wireless sensors
  • Power management circuits
  • MEMS speakers for digital hearing aids
  • Integrated Antennas
  • Advanced Materials including GAN, SiC, for Power Amps
  • Implantable neuron sensors and nanosensors

University partners:

  • The Ohio State University

Current Projects:

  • System Identification Diagnosis and Built-in-Self-Testing of High Switching Rate DC-DC Converters
  • Digital LDO Power Management Circuit
  • STAR Architecture
  • Micro Sensors for Pressure and Temperature Characterization
  • 2D Mapping of In-plane Strain
  • Memristor Technology Qualifications
  • Development of Mixed Signal Circuits

Industry and government partners

  • Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
  • Intel Corporation
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Labs
  • Nimbis Services
  • NXP Semiconductors
  • Orton Foundation
  • PT Paneratech
  • Qualcomm Corporation
  • Space Micro Inc.
  • S. Office of Naval Research


Director: Gary Dirks
Deputy Director: Stephen Goodnick

Focus: LightWorks is a university-wide initiative that pulls light-inspired research at ASU under one strategic framework. It is a multidisciplinary effort to leverage ASU’s unique strengths, particularly in renewable energy fields including artificial photosynthesis, biofuels and next-generation photovoltaics.

LightWorks fosters cooperation among academia, industry and government to advance innovation, facilitate technology transfer and guide energy education and policy advancement.

Research is aimed at a variety of applications, including low-cost, high-efficiency solar panel technologies, renewable biofuel and biohydrogen production, fungible fuels from CO2, water and sunlight, and high efficiency lighting cooling and flexible display technologies.

Cross-disciplinary efforts that address the energy grid infrastructure, supply chain, policy and transition involve participation of many ASU centers, academic programs and institutes.

In addition to QESST and PSERC, ECEE-led centers contributing to the LightWorks initiative include:

  • The Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis, which pursues transdisciplinary research in the use of biological and artificial systems based on biological principles.
  • The Center for Renewable Energy Electrochemistry, which researches renewable electrochemically-based energy storage and conversion research for improved electrochemical performance through alternative electrolytes, such as ionic liquids as well as new catalysts in non-acid based electrolytes.
  • ASU’s Tubes in the Desert project, which investigates how photosynthetic organisms store energy and ways to develop similar processes that can be utilized in manmade systems.
  • The Laboratory for Algae Research and Biotechnology at the ASU Polytechnic Campus conducts fundamental and applied research on algae for accelerating the transformation of algae to a cost-affordable and sustainable source of fuels and chemicals and for improving the environment through algae-based bioremediation.
  • Cross-disciplinary efforts that address the energy grid infrastructure, supply chain, policy and transition involve participation of many participation of many ASU centers, academic programs, and institutes, including the Decision Theater, Center for Solid State Sciences, Flexible Display Center, Power Systems Engineering Research Center, Photovoltaics Lab, Consortium for Science Policy Outcomes and Arizona Technology Enterprises.
Power Systems Engineering Research Center

Power Systems Engineering Research Center

The Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC) was created in 1996 as a National Science Foundation Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) to address key challenges in creating a modern electric energy infrastructure.

The Center is currently self-sustaining and includes 39 industries and 13 universities.

Director: Vijay Vittal
Deputy Director: Anna Rosa Lampis

Recent accomplishments:

  • PSERC’s membership grew with the addition of 5 industry members in the past few months. PSERC remains an extremely attractive value proposition for firms in the electric power industry.
  • PSERC universities continue to garner large research grants that supplement and compliment the PSERC funded research. Among the largest:
  • Arizona State recently received a $3.5 M grant to integrate renewable energy into power grids. This has been a prime research topic for PSERC for a number of years and is of great interest to the member companies.
  • Washington State is part of another $3,000,000 grant developing distributed apps for the smart power grid.
  • Publication of a brochure on the future grid initiative
  • Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions -DOE funded: Work almost complete on projects supported by the $550k awarded in 2015.

Industry members:

  1. ABB Inc.
  2. American Electric Power
  3. American Transmission Co.
  4. Arizona Public Service Co.
  5. Bonneville Power Admin.
  6. California ISO
  7. CenterPoint Energy
  8. Dominion Virginia Power
  9. ENGIE, France
  10. Entergy
  11. EPRI
  12. Exelon (ComEd)
  13. FirstEnergy Corporation
  14. First Solar
  15. GE Energy Consulting
  16. GE Grid Software Solutions (formerly ALSTOM Grid)
  17. GEIRI North America
  18. Guangdong Power Grid
  19. Idaho Power Company
  20. IREQ, Canada
  21. ISO New England
  22. KEPRI, China
  23. Los Alamos National Lab (LANL)
  24. Midcontinent ISO
  25. National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  26. Natl Rural Elec Coop Assn (NRECA)
  27. New York ISO
  28. New York Power Authority
  29. Pacific Gas and Electric
  30. PJM Interconnection
  31. PowerWorld Corporation
  32. RTE-DMA, France
  33. Salt River Project
  34. Southern Company Services
  35. Southwest Power Pool
  36. The Energy Authority
  37. Tri-State G&T
  38. US Department of Energy
  39. Western Area Power Admin.

University members:

  1. Arizona State University
  2. Carnegie Mellon
  3. Colorado School of Mines
  4. Cornell University
  5. Georgia Institute of Technology
  6. Howard University
  7. Iowa State University
  8. Texas A&M
  9. University of California, Berkeley
  10. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  11. University of Wisconsin, Madison
  12. Washington State University
  13. Wichita State University
Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies

Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies
A National Science Foundation- Department of Energy Engineering Research Center

Director: Christiana Honsberg


QESST focuses on developing new approaches to high-efficiency, scalable photovoltaic technologies which address the need for large scale sustainable electricity generation. A key vision of QESST is to develop new commercially-based technologies, which combine the advantages on different commercial technologies, leading to simultaneous increases in performance and decreases in cost.


Over the last 5 years, QESST has grown to be the largest university consortium on photovoltaics in the US, encompassing unique facilities, strong industrial partnerships and national laboratories. Highlights include:

  • QESST students received 7 out of the 10 best student paper awards at the 43rd IEEE Photovoltaics Specialists Conference, the premier technical conference for photovoltaics.
  • Record open circuit voltages in all materials examined in QESST. These include:
    • The highest open circuit voltage (VOC) for a silicon solar cell, demonstrating over 760 mV;
    • Dilute nitride quantum well solar showing near the radiative limit;
    • Record efficiency high band-gap CIGS-based solar cell, demonstrating the promise of Ag-alloying with a NREL-verified cell efficiency of 19.9% and VOC = 730 mV.
    • Highest solar cell voltage in the GaSb and AlGaSb material systems.
    • Silicon integrated with high band gap II-VI materials. A key accomplishment in the demonstration of open circuit voltages over 1.0 V, representing a VOC record for these devices.
  • Student led pilot line for industrial size silicon solar cells. The pilot line provides for: student training on industrial silicon solar cells, a forum for industry projects and interaction, and establishes the baseline comparison for advanced solar cells. The pilot line produces an average efficiency of 18.5% for industrial diffused solar cells, representing a state-of-the-art device, and over 20% on advanced technologies.
  • New materials approaches for solar cells, including new TCO materials with > 100 cm²/Vs, InGaN with low dislocation density and high growth rates.
  • Extensive Outreach and Education Programs, including:
    • Research Experience for Teachers (RET) and Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) offered summer school where students and teachers from multiple universities came to ASU for research and educational activities in photovoltaics.
    • Outreach to over 6,000 people/year on photovoltaics.
    • Educational outreach site: reaches over 1 million viewers/year.

University Partners:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Delaware
  • University of New Mexico
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Houston
  • Imperial College London
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Tokyo

Industry partners

  • Applied Materials
  • ASE Inc.
  • CFD Research Corporation
  • First Solar
  • National Instruments
  • Sinton Instruments
  • Technic Inc.
  • Veeco Corporation
  • Yingli
The Sensor, Signal and Information Processing Center

The Sensor, Signal and Information Processing Center
A National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center

Director: Andreas Spanias

Focus: Development of a broad array of digital signal processing, imaging and communications algorithms for sensor network technologies including those used in chemical sensors, Internet of Things (IoT), health monitoring, cell phones, security and radar systems.


  • Seven current Industry memberships sponsoring research through the I/UCRC.
  • After a successful NSF proposal submitted in March 2015, the center was approved as a Phase 2 NSF I/UCRC Site (2016-2011).
  • Extended funding (until 2018) supporting activities in sensors, fault detection and machine learning algorithms for solar panel monitoring funded by NSF Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) , ACT and Energy Wireless.
  • Developed digital signal processing and health monitoring award-winning apps. Apps were used for outreach sessions held at Phoenix Hermana’s conference co-sponsored by Intel Corporation.
  • Two patents established in loudness estimation (latest 6/ 2015). Faculty and student affiliates also submitted four full patents in 2015 and two patent pre-disclosures.
  • One new Memorandum of Understanding signed for international research partnership with Tech de Monterrey on sensor localization. Affiliated research faculty won sizeable and competitive awards and contracts in sensor, signal processing and communications areas.
  • Co-organized Joint SenSIP- Tech de Monterrey Sensors Workshop held at ASU in May 2016 (co-sponsored by NSF).
  • Contributed to Conacyt Proposal funded for establishing industry consortium across the border with Tech de Monterrey in mobile communications (SenSIP subaward).
  • Two paper awards in 2015 to faculty and student affiliates.
  • Outreach sessions with Corona del Sol High School supported by NSF Research Experience for Teachers supplement (latest May 2016).
  • D. Fellowship established with Acoustical Society of America.
  • Two undergraduate students currently supported by NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates and Veteran supplements (2014-16). Two new REUs and one RET supplement funded in June 2016.
  • A graduate training certificate in signal processing for sensor systems was established in 2015.
  • NSF STEM Grant awarded in 2015 to embed undergraduate students in research on sensor networks.
  • NSF SBIR Supplement awarded by NSF to fund Interactive Flow Sensor Technologies membership in SenSIP.
  • An SenSIP LTE 4G+ facility donated by Sprint Communications for research in sensor localization was installed in 2015 in GWC405. Upgrades on the facility to emerging 5G agreed with Sprint in April 2016.
  • A SenSIP 18kW 8×13 solar monitoring facility equipped with sensors and transceivers at the ASU Research Park. Facility finalized in April 2016.


  • Net-Centric Systems collaboration with UNT, SMU, MST and UTD funded by the NSF I/UCRC.
  • University of Cyprus, Polytechnic Milano, and ETH Zurich; research collaboration in sensor networks and telecommunications systems— funded by the Research Promotion Foundation (EU Prime).
  • Imperial College London’s University Defence Research Centre. Collaboration on sensor localization research funded by British Council.
  • Technologico de Monterey (ITESM), Collaboration in sensors and communications research funded by NSF International Partnerships.
  • University of British Columbia; Collaboration on Digital Home.
  • Collaboration with ASU’s Arts, Media + Engineering School.
  • Doublin City University (Collaboration on Health Monitoring)
  • Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (Collaboration on Health Monitoring)

I/UCRC members with funding SenSIP projects (Seven memberships active)

  • Applied Core Technology, Inc.
  • NXP (formerly Freescale)
  • IFS (SBIR Membership)
  • Intel Corporation
  • Raytheon Missile Systems (2 memberships)
  • Sprint

Industry In Kind Contributions

  • Freescale (sensor boards)
  • ViaSOL (solar panels for MTW facility)
  • Energy Wireless (sensors for solar panels)
  • Sprint (LTE upgrades)
The Solar Power Laboratory

The Solar Power Laboratory

Director: Christiana Honsberg

Focus: The Solar Power Lab, also comprising part of the QESST Engineering Research Center, works on overcoming the barriers for existing solar cells to reach theoretical limits by focusing on increasing efficiency and reducing cost. The Solar Power Laboratory comprises laboratory space of > 6,000 ft², and includes facilities for silicon solar cells (including the Student Led Pilot Line), nanostructured solar cells, and III-V solar cells.


New facilities and capabilities have been added to the silicon solar cell pilot line, primarily centered around advanced metallization for both solar cells and modules. These include advanced metallization for modules, and copper plating metallization to replace silver screen printing. At the Terra Watt production scale, silver is an expensive and potentially limiting material. In collaboration with Technic Inc., we have commissioned a new area for metal plating.

Expansion of silicon solar cell technology, including:

  • Diffused Junction Cells: A diffused junction solar cell is the dominant commercial technology. In 2016, the efficiency increased to over 18.5%, driven primarily by the phosphorus diffusion in the emitters. An additional increase in the efficiency of the diffused junction solar cells comes from double printing to reduce shading and series resistance..
  • Heterojunction Solar Cells: Highlights include: a 21.5% efficiency large area confirmed HIT solar cell, thin flexible solar cells; 23.4% confirmed for a small area solar cell, bifacial solar cells; and both n-type and p-type solar cells with efficiencies over 20% on 153 cm² sizes.
  • Multicrystalline Cells: The student pilot line added multicrystalline solar cells capabilities in 2016. The process, developed in conjunction with an industrial partner, demonstrated efficiencies over 15%.

Development of advanced solar modules, including flexible silicon modules, utilizing high efficiency Si solar cells with high efficiency. The module fabrication is also heavily used in reliability testing, leading to the second consecutive year with a student in reliability getting the best paper award for reliability at the 43 IEEE Photovoltaics Specialists Conference.

III-V Solar Cells: Expansion of capabilities in III-V devices growth by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) to include dilute nitride materials, demonstrating dilute nitrides lattice matched to silicon, and an 1 eV Sb-based dilute nitride solar cell lattice matched to GaAs.

Education and Outreach: The Solar Power Laboratories runs multiple educational and outreach programs. A new activity is a solar module fabrication run, this year run with Mexico during innovation week (I-week). The Research Experiences (REU) for Undergraduates was substantially expanded through and REU site award. In addition, the REU partnered with Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure (NCI Southwest) as well as the Center for Bio-mediated & Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG) to create a diverse cohort of participants.

The Solar Power Laboratory affiliates and partners include QESST ERC partners plus:

  • Natcore
  • Nth Degree
  • Regher Solar