Energy Efficiency Research

Research Groups

Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) - UCSB
Center for Multifunctional Materials & Structures (CeMMaS)
Center for Energy Efficient Materials (CEEM)
California Nanosystems Institute (CNI)
Solid State Lighting and Energy Center
Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors
Computing Solutions Group at the Institute for Energy Efficiency
Member of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing
Institute for Multiscale Materials Studies
Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials
Materials Research Laboratory (MRL)

Current Projects and Collaborations

IEE — Energy Efficient Computing Solutions: Researchers are developing an array of technological solutions to enable faster computing and electronics, including optoelectronics, cooling technologies, wireless networking, and life-cycle analysis while striving for energy efficiency.

IEE — Electronics & Photonics Solutions: Researchers are looking at ways to make electrical devices from communication and entertainment more energy efficient.

IEE — Lighting Solutions: Researchers have developed a 150 lumen/watt LED white light source — the efficiency level considered the threshold for commercialization. The Institute’s challenge is to double this efficiency with production methods that scale to allow costs similar to incandescent light bulbs.

Individuals ( * indicates participation in IEE)

Kaustav Banerjee*
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Banerjee is currently researching the physics, technology, and applications of low-dimensional nanomaterials for next-generation green electronics, photonics, and bioelectronics. The application of these nanomaterials can be used to design low-power, low-loss, and ultra-energy efficient active and passive nanoelectronic devices. This research can be applied to solar cell design when improving the efficiency of photovoltaic devices.

California NanoSystems Institute
Nanoelectronics
Institute for Energy Efficiency

Daniel Blumenthal*
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Blumenthal directs the Label-Switched Optical Router Project. The project aims to save power by shifting more network router processing into the optical domain. He also has done research into energy-efficient photonics used for communication.

California NanoSystems Institute
Institute for Energy Efficiency

John Bowers
Electrical and Computer Engineering/ Materials

Dr. Bowers’ research team created an LED lamp that is solar-powered, cost-effective, and highly efficient. The circuit of the lamp is designed so as to provide triple the output of a normal AA battery. This design was transferred to a nonprofit, Unite to Light. Manufactured lamps were shipped to Ghana in 2010 at a cost of $7 per lamp, roughly the amount a family in Ghana would spend on kerosene for 2 months. Unite to Light has sent 56,000 such lights to people in need of a sustainable light source. The research group has since worked on solar powered lights that can also charge cell phones, as well as solar powered cell phone charger lights that can operate as a pay-as-you-go model. (Dr. Bowers’ research also includes work on more efficient thermoelectric materials for waste heat recovery and on concentrated photovoltaic devices for more efficient solar power.)

Institute for Energy Efficiency
Solid State Lighting and Energy Center
Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors
Center for Energy Efficient Materials
California NanoSystems Institute

Forrest Brewer*
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Brewer’s recent work is in the development of a family of specialized microprocessors for low-power/high-performance embedded closed loop control. The application may substantially reduce power and improve performance of microprocessors.

California NanoSystems Institute
Institute for Energy Efficiency

Tim Cheng*
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Cheng manages two research labs: SoC Design and Test Lab and Learning-based Multimedia Lab. The latter laboratory is currently doing research which focuses on Mobile Computer Vision. Computer vision looks at how real word data, in particular images, are processed into symbols/numbers and understood by computers. The research focuses on developing designs that improve the energy efficiency of tasks involved in computer vision.

Member of Computing Solutions Group at the Institute for Energy Efficiency
Member of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing

Fred Chong*
Computer Science

As the director of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing, Dr. Chong’s research includes Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of information technologies. This method of analysis can be applied to computing strategies in order to gauge their environmental impact and energy efficiency. He also studies emerging technologies for energy-proportional computation. Energy-proportional computation saves computer server energy as well as increasing real-time use efficiency as computing workload varies.

Head of Computing Solutions Group at the Institute for Energy Efficiency
Director of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing

Larry Coldren*
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Coldren has worked to develop new photonic integrated circuit (PIC), as well as vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) technology. This technology has many applications. It can be used in laser printers and biological tissue analysis, and it is widely used in fiber optics. Fiber optics is a field that focuses on transmitting information by sending light pulses through an optical fiber. As a member of the Electronics and Photonics Solutions Group at the Institute for Energy Efficiency, Dr. Coldren has worked to make these devices high-speed and efficient.

Member of Electronics & Photonics Solutions Group at the Institute for Energy Efficiency
Director of the Optoelectronics Technology Center
Executive Committee Member of the Solid-State Energy & Lighting Center
Member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors
California NanoSystems Institute

Steven Den Baars*
Materials

Dr. Denbaars’ research interests include growth of wide-bandgap semiconductors and their application to Blue LEDs, lasers, and high power electronic devices. His research is used for the fabrication of new semiconductor devices. This research is important to the development of more energy efficient lighting.

Solid State Lighting and Energy Center
Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors
Center for Energy Efficient Materials

Amr El Abbadi*
Computer Science

Dr. El Abbadi researches ways to create more energy-efficient computing. He recently helped design a data management infrastructure for location-based applications and services such as those commonly used on smartphones and tablets. The goal of the design is to effectively deal with the growing number of location-based applications and services, which sometimes overwhelm database systems, without sacrificing the system’s availability or ability to tolerate faults occurring in its internal components. Dr. El Abbadi’s work has helped to reoptimize database techniques which both improves performance and boosts fault-tolerance.

Energy-Aware Computation Group at the Institute for Energy Efficiency

John Gilbert*
Computer Science

Professor Gilbert works with the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Cooling to develop solutions to the rapidly increasing cost of powering data centers around the world. His research in high-performance computing and engineering is applied to cooling technologies for energy-efficient computational facilities by developing efficient numerical algorithms for computationally modeling airflows on supercomputers.

Greenscale Center for Energy Efficient Computing

Alan Heeger*
Physics

Dr. Heeger, a Nobel Prize Laureate, researches the technology of semiconducting and metallic polymers. Part of his research has focused on low cost, thin, flexible solar cells. Dr. Heeger has discovered a way to make solar cell materials soluble. This solar cell “liquid-ink” can be printed like a newspaper at very low cost, revolutionizing the solar cell manufacturing process.

Center for Nanomedicine
California NanoSystems Institute

Chandra Krintz*
Computer Science

Professor Krintz is a member of the Greenscale Center for Energy Efficient Computing, and her research interests include automatic and adaptive compilers, programming language, virtual runtime, and operating system techniques that improve performance (for high-end systems) and that increase battery life (for mobile, resource-constrained devices). She contributes to the field of energy-aware computing through her research in virtualization technology, a powerful tool with which to migrate and consolidate computations when used in conjunction with models and the control of cooling technologies.

Institute for Energy Efficiency

Upamanyu Madhow*
Electrical and  Computer Engineering

Dr. Madhow’s ongoing research investigates the architecture of next generation wireless communication and sensor networks, with the goal of obtaining order of magnitude gains in energy efficiency.

Member of the Center for Energy Efficiency Design at the Institute for Energy Efficiency
Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies

Umesh Mishra*
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Mishra researches electronics and photonics. He recently led a project to develop a new semiconductor technology that enables highly efficient power conversion at low cost in motor drives, electric vehicles, and power grid applications.

Institute for Energy Efficiency
Center for Advanced Nitride Electronics Researchers
Solid State Lighting and Energy Center
Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors
California NanoSystems Institute

Shuji Nakamura*
Materials

Dr. Nakamura’s research interests include high efficiency, high power light emitting diodes (LEDs) for lighting. His discovery of p-type doping in Gallium Nitride (GaN) and development of blue, green, and white LEDs and blue laser diodes (LDs) has enabled energy efficient lighting and displays.

Solid State Lighting and Energy Center
Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors
Center for Energy Efficient Materials
California NanoSystems Institute
Institute for Energy Efficiency

Volkan Rodoplu*
Computer Science and Engineering

Dr. Rodoplu’s research focuses on wireless communications and networking. As a member of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing at the Institute for Energy Efficiency, one of the goals of his research is to curb the energy consumption of wireless networks through the development of energy-efficient protocols.

Member of Computing Solutions Group and Electronics & Photonics Solutions Group at the IEE
Member of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing

Mark Rodwell*
Computer Science and Engineering

Dr. Rodwell’s research interests include extending the operations of electronics to the highest feasible frequencies. He also looks at communication systems and energy efficient semiconductor devices. His research group works to extend the operation of electronics to the highest feasible frequencies. Their research thus includes semiconductor devices (diodes and transistors), semiconductor fabrication process, circuit design, interconnects, instruments, and communications systems. Mark Rodwell’s research focuses on extending the operation of electronics to the highest feasible frequencies. His research interests includes energy efficient semiconductor devices (diodes, transistors, photodiodes), semiconductor fabrication process, circuit design, interconnects, instruments, and communications systems. Particular interests include THz InP (indium phosphide) bipolar transistors, nm III-V MOSFETs (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors) for both VLSI (very large scale integration) and THz (terahertz) applications, and IC (integrated circuit) design above 50 GHz (gigahertz) in both III-V and Silicon VLSI technologies.

Member of Electronics & Photonics Solutions Group at IEE

Ram Seshadri*
Chemistry & Biochemistry

Professor Seshadri researches functional inorganic materials with applications in energy conversion, energy storage, and information technology. A primary goal of the research is greater efficiency in energy conversion and storage and the recovery of waste heat. In and of themselves, these are expected to significantly minimize the impact of energy technologies on the environment. In addition, his research addresses resource availability and life-cycle issues, in attempts to ensure that future energy technologies are not based on scarce or polluting elements.(Original: Ram Seshadri’s research encompasses a number of areas in the chemistry of inorganic materials, including new ways of preparing materials, seeking clues from nature on how to make new high-performance materials, magnetism in inorganic solids, chemical patterning of inorganic materials on large (micrometer) length scales, and using first principles electronic structure calculations to predict new material properties. In addition to his focus on magnetism, polar materials, and porosity, Seshadri is increasingly investigating materials for heterogeneous catalysis and for applications in solid-state lighting (semiconductors, phosphors , etc.). He also extensively researches functional (particularly oxide) nanomaterials.)

Member of Lighting Solutions Group and Production & Storage Solutions Group at IEE
Institute for Multi-scale Materials Studies
Solid State Lighting and Energy Center
Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors
Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials
Materials Research Laboratory

Timothy Sherwood*
Computer Science

Dr. Sherwood’s research is in the area of computer architecture. He has worked to develop techniques that provide a powerful new way to inspect and control the digital world and shed light on energy efficiency. (From IEE website: Timothy Sherwood’s research is in the area of computer architecture, specifically in the development of novel high throughput hardware and software methods by which systems can be monitored and analyzed. Such techniques provide a powerful new way to inspect and control the digital world: they shed light on energy efficiency and performance anomalies, uncover software bugs, and help secure critical systems against attack.)

Member of Computing Solutions Group at IEE
Member of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing

James Speck*
Materials

Professor Speck’s research focuses on high efficiency solid state lighting. This lighting is expected to be 10-20 times more efficient than conventional incandescent and halogen lighting and 2-3 times more efficient than fluorescent lighting.

Member of Lighting Solutions Group at IEE
Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors; Executive Committee Member of the Solid State Lighting & Energy Center; Steering Committee Member of the International Center for Materials Research; Executive Committee Member of the Center for Energy Efficient Materials
Materials Research Laboratory
California NanoSystems Institute

Luke Theogarajan*
Computer Science and Engineering

Dr. Theogarajan does research related to the neural system and particularly to neural prosthetic devices. Neural prosthetic devices offer a way to restore functions lost due to neural damage. He is currently investigating the use of potassium ions rather than electrons to communicate with neural tissue as part of this new technology. This method has already proved to be safer and require lower power to function than the approach currently used.

Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies
Center for Nanomedicine
California NanoSystems Institute

Chris Van De Walle*
Materials

Dr. Van de Walle’s research covers a broad range of issues related to renewable energy and energy efficiency. He is engaged in fundamental studies of group-III nitride semiconductors, which are the key materials for solid-state lighting and also enable a new generation of high-efficiency solar cells. In addition, he investigates hydrogen storage materials and materials for fuel cells and coatings for smart energy-saving windows.

Solid State Lighting and Energy Center
Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors
Center for Energy Efficient Materials
Materials Research Laboratory
California NanoSystems Institute
Institute for Energy Efficiency

Claude Weisbuch*
Materials

Dr. Weisbuch’s research involves semiconductors, physics, and LEDs. He and his team of researchers recently collaborated with scientists from other universities to identify what causes light emitting diodes (LEDs) to be less efficient at high drive currents, a phenomenon known as LED ‘droop.’ They showed that ‘droop’ is caused by Auger recombination, a process by which energetic electrons, instead of emitting light, collide with other electrons and lose their energy in the form of heat. Understanding the origin of droop will lead to more efficient and cheaper LEDs. They provide long-lasting, highly efficient light sources and could lessen the US’ total electricity use by 10% if they were to replace less efficient incandescent and fluorescent lights.

Member of the Center for Energy Efficient Materials,
Member of the Solid State Lighting & Energy Center
Member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Wide Bandgap Semiconductors
Institute for Energy Efficiency

Patrick Yue*
Electrical & Computer Engineering

Current and past projects: (1) Cell-Based RF Design in Scaled CMOS Technologies (2) Very Low Power, Adaptive Equalizer for High-Speed I/O’s (3) On-wafer Wireless Testing (4) Low-power Wireless Bio-sensors (5) Fast-settling PLL’s. On-wafer wireless testing with on-chip antenna. Ultra-low-power adaptive passive equalizer for >10 Gbps. Sub-circuit standard cell library for predictive analog design. Wireless power delivery interface circuits for bio-implants.

Institute for Energy Efficiency

Haitao, Zheng*
Computer Science

Dr. Zheng’s research focuses on harnessing the fundamental concepts of the human cognitive cycle and applying them to device networks. This allows the networks to manage themselves in a self-aware and adaptive manner.

Amr El Abbadi
Computer Science

Dr. El Abbadi researches ways to create more energy-efficient computing. He recently helped design a data management infrastructure for location-based applications and services such as those commonly used on smartphones and tablets. The goal of the design is to effectively deal with the growing number of location-based applications and services, which sometimes overwhelm database systems, without sacrificing the system’s availability or ability to tolerate faults occurring in its internal components. Dr. El Abbadi’s work has helped to reoptimize database techniques which both improves performance and boosts fault-tolerance.

Institute for Energy Efficiency

Jon Schuller
Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Schuller Lab conducts research that concerns novel physical phenomena that occur when light interacts with objects of subwavelength dimensions. The goal of the research is to create smaller, faster, and more efficient photonics technologies and ultimately lead to a future where optical properties are controlled and engineered at the atomic or molecular level. In a recent publication in Optics Press, the researchers in the Schuller Lab discussed the application of their research into morphology dependent light trapping in thin-film organic solar cells. Their research in this area can be used in the future in low-cost lightning and energy harvesting devices.

Center for Polymers and Organic Solids
Center for Energy Efficient Materials
Materials Research Laboratory
California NanoSystems Institute

Francesco Bullo
Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Bullo has investigated efficient methods to improve the functioning of our power grid. His work involves how to suppress energy-consuming inter-area oscillations and how to integrate increasing percentages of renewable energy into the current grid.

Center for Control, Dynamical Systems, and Computation
Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies