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2016  | Issue No. 35

Smart Manufacturing

201 6   |   Issue No. 35



A New Vision

Dean Jayathi Murthy outlines her vision for the school.


10 Engineering VI 14 Coast Guardian 18 New Faculty 20 A Quantum Leap 22 Paddling to the Top 30 Chair Lift


Terahertz: One of the last frontiers of the electromagnetic spectrum.

2016 Boelter Society Honor Roll is available at:

smart manufacturing

Graduate student Abdolreza Javadi,   conducting super metal nanoprocessing research in the Scifacturing Lab.


Jayathi Murthy

associate Deans

Assistant Dean

Mario Gerla


Chief Financial Officer

Gregory Pottie

Communications Manager and Writer

Mary Okino

Jia-Ming Liu

Department chairs

Richard D. Wesel


Academic Personnel

Song Li

Academic and Student Affairs

Panagiotis Christofides

International Initiatives and Online Programs

Jonathan P. Stewart

Jenn-Ming Yang

Harold Monbouquette

Research and Physical Resources

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Civil and Environmental Engineering

Computer Science Electrical Engineering

Dwight C. Streit

Materials Science and Engineering

Christopher Lynch

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Matthew Chin

HauChee Chung Designer


7256 Boelter Hall, Box 951600 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1600 310-206-0678


— by the numbers —





National rank of Engineering Online Master’s Program by US News & World Report

National rank for graduate program in US News & World Report

Two Years in a Row

8th among public universities



Number of applicants for 2016 freshman class

Number of affiliated faculty in the National Academy of Engineering

Number of incoming freshmen†

Faculty who received the 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Median high school weighted GPA of incoming freshmen

Number of NSF CAREER Award winners on the faculty







Median total SAT score of incoming freshmen

683,700 Research expenditures per faculty member in 2015

As of September 15.

A New Vision

Jayathi Murthy became dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School   of Engineering and Applied Science on January 1, 2016. Below, she outlines   her vision for the school as it prepares to grow over the next few years. We are at the start of an extraordinary period of growth for the

UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. In the next few years, we will grow by another 1,000 students and 50

new faculty members. This will allow us to meet the great demand for engineers and computer scientists, to admit more of California’s high-

achieving students and to open up exciting new areas for research and entrepreneurship.

Over the past few months, I’ve been working with faculty and

other stakeholders to identify our research priorities – pillars of

excellence in which UCLA Engineering will be a world leader.

It is clear that UCLA Engineering must forge closer connections with

our outstanding medical school – to bring the extraordinary creativity of engineers, doctors, and computer scientists together to forge effective

new healthcare technologies. Computer science and big data, and their

intersection with virtually every area of engineering, are also clear oppor-

tunities. And then there is our location in L.A. – one of the world’s great megacities. How do we

build sustainable and resilient urban infrastructures that address the

growing pressure on water, food, energy and transportation? These and other exciting new areas will form the backbone of our school for the



UCLA Engineering must be a leader in addressing the underrepresentation of women and other groups in the STEM fields.

next decade or more.

UCLA Engineering must be a leader in addressing the under-

representation of women and other groups in the STEM fields. We

already have effective programs in place to address student retention and success. I hope to expand the scale and reach of these programs. Internationally, we are going to increase our connections, using our

prime location at the crossroads of the Pacific Rim and Latin America. And locally, we’re going to deepen our engagement with community colleges in Southern California. Our top-ranked online M.S.

program will grow significantly over the next decade as well. Over the past ten months, I have had the privilege of meeting

many of you, listening to your ideas, and strategizing about our school’s bright future. I am energized by your enthusiasm, and I am excited by what tomorrow holds for UCLA Engineering. Go Bruins!  n

u Dean Jayathi Murthy

Photographer: Walter Urie




Professor Xiaochun Li, holder of UCLA’s Raytheon Chair in Manufacturing.




NUFACTURING Photographer: Art Montes De Oca


UCLA is a hub of a $140 million national effort Graduate students Maximilian Sokoluk and Yingchao Yang discussing a smart manufacturing specimen.

UCLA to play lead role in national Smart Manufacturing Institute Engineering professor Xiaochun Li is the technical director of the institute’s California region. In June President Obama announced a $70 million federal award to a nonprofit cofounded

by UCLA to create a nationwide Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, with the goal of improving the efficiency of advanced manufacturing.

The institute will be headquartered in downtown Los Angeles in partnership with

the city, led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition and supported by UCLA’s leadership. It will include a national

network of five regional manufacturing

centers funded by $70 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and more than $70

million in matching funds from many of the institute partners.

UCLA will lead the California Regional

Center with partners including the California Manufacturing Technology Consultants, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, USC, California

State University, and California Community

Colleges. It will also work with organizations in Michigan, Missouri, and Montana.

Xiaochun Li, holder of UCLA’s Raytheon

p Graduate student Chezheng Cao looking at nanoparticles in solution.

Chair in Manufacturing and a professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering departments, is the technical director for the institute’s California Regional Center. He answered a few questions on what’s next.

What specific technologies are you looking at to help improve manufacturing?

Xiaochun Li: Recently, there has been much stronger demand for better quality and higher

productivity in manufacturing. Also, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability have become central concerns.

Smart manufacturing is the use of real-time data and information and

communications technology to advance manufacturing intelligence, and to significantly improve productivity, performance, technology adoption, as well as addressing sustainability issues.

More specifically, this will require the research, development, and transition to

industry of advanced sensing and instrumentation; process monitoring, control, and

optimization; advanced hardware and advanced software platforms; and real-time and

Partners from more than 30 states and dozens of industry participants A micro temperature and strain sensor array for manufacturing applications.

predictive modeling and simulation technologies.

For the new center, my Scifac-

turing Laboratory will mostly focus on advanced sensing,

process monitoring, control, and

optimization. Micro/nano sensors embedded into manufacturing

systems will survive hostile environments and provide high accuracy, p Molten metal in furnace.

long-term stability, and good reliability during service.

We will design, fabricate and apply distributed embedded micro/nano sensors

and wireless interconnects into harsh manufacturing environments for high energy

efficiency. We will also work on an enabling manufacturing platform called SmartCell

that will integrate algorithmic control software, embedded sensing, communications, process monitoring, and data-intensive continuous improvement

emerging manufacturing processes.

What is an example of a particular industry that will benefit?

Li: The metal processing industry consumes a significant amount of energy. Smart manufacturing will incorporate these new

technologies to significantly improve energy efficiency and product quality in highly energy-intensive manufacturing processes.

What are UCLA’s strengths in this area, and how do they apply

More on the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute UCLA Vice Provost of Information Technology Jim Davis, who is also a professor of chemical and environmental engineering, will serve as the institute’s interim executive director. The institute includes more than

to this initiative?

200 partners from the Smart Manufac-

control engineering, micro/nanomanufacturing, science-based and

UCLA cofounded in 2006. Partners

Tsao, of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is working on highly

representatives from academia and

Li: UCLA offers a spectrum of strength in the areas of systems and

turing Leadership Coalition, which

data-based modeling, and cybersecurity. For example, Professor T-C

from more than 30 states include

optimized, efficient, and automated composite manufacturing to achieve a substantial increase of combined speed and dynamic

precision over current numbers in industrial composites manufacturing. Other experts will be actively engaged in the new institute and center to make a paradigm shift in smart manufacturing.   n

government, as well as dozens of industry partners, including Google, Microsoft, and Northrop Grumman. The new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute seeks to fuel industry growth in L.A., in California, and across the nation, using more than $140 million in public-private

UCLA Newsroom writer Alison Hewitt contributed to this story.

investments to develop advanced manufacturing technology and support a workforce and education pipeline.


network, tooling, processes, and equipment for traditional and


in conjunction with cutting-edge innovations in robots, wireless

Engineering VI

Photographer: Art Montes De Oca

Taking shape



With research groups now established in laboratories in the finished north wing, and the south wing’s frame built out, UCLA’s state-of-the-art Engineering VI building is on its home stretch toward completion.

p Kang Wang, UCLA’s Raytheon Professor of Electrical

Engineering, in his lab.

u Yun-Chiao Huang, graduate student in Professor Yu

Huang’s lab showing her “electronic skin” project.

The 60,000-square-foot north wing of Engineering VI includes

research groups exploring cutting-edge research in areas such as

renewable energy, next-generation semiconductors, nanotechnology, quantum electronics, smart manufacturing, spectroscopy, and new

technologies for healthcare and other applications. The north wing

also includes the B. John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences and the

Institute for Technology Advancement, the school’s start-up incubator.

The 90,000-square-foot south wing is scheduled to be completed in

the fall of 2017. It will be home for the computer science department and



the Dr. William M. W. Mong Memorial Learning Center.

Engineering VI was designed with advanced water- and energyefficient systems, and the school is seeking LEED Gold or LEED Platinum certification.

“Engineering VI will be home to paradigm-

shifting research in critical fields,” said Dean

Jayathi Murthy. “And it would not be possible without the vision and generosity of our alumni and donors.”

The $130 million building is being funded

by donors, the engineering school, and the

UCLA campus. Donors have pledged or given

more than $45 million for the building, and the

Engineering VI is a building that the entire UCLA community can take great pride in, and it will be an anchor for innovation for decades to come.

National Institute of Standards and Technology made a $6 million grant.

The building is located in the heart of

the UCLA campus on Westwood Plaza and

across from the new Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center.   n

u Graduate students Lingzhi Li and Jaime Flor Flores making precision materials in Professor Chee Wei Wong’s lab. q Igor De La Rosa, researcher with the Institute for



Technology Advancement.

Protecting the Coast: Timu Gallien Explores Dynamic Coastal Processes Professor Timu Gallien has had a fascination with the ocean from the time of her birth in American Samoa. As a young girl, she was captivated when rainstorms filled the drainage ditch near her Indiana home with super-

critical flows of surging water. Over a lifetime, she has developed those early interests into a deep understanding of urban flood risk in vulnerable coastal communities, which is of particular importance as sea levels rise because of climate change.

Gallien’s postdoctoral research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC

San Diego focused on the complex set of processes in coastal zones where land meets water; where the swirling amalgam of forces from ocean waves, tides, storm surges, and sea level elevations from climactic conditions like El Niño

crash into hydrologic forces from land, such as overland flows and sewer system runoff after heavy rainfalls that empty into coastal estuaries, or products of human activity, such as seawalls.

“All of these things interact and create very complicated dynamics. My

research is focused on understanding this system,” said



Gallien, who received her Ph.D. from UC Irvine.

Coast Gu

Writer: Melody Pupols   Photographer: Joanne Leung

uardian Professor Timu Gallien surveys the beach on an ATV.

Gallien, who recently joined UCLA as an assistant professor of civil and

environmental engineering, plans to study how the state of the beach itself affects backshore vulnerabilities like flooding and the risk of infrastructure

damage. Currently, even the highest-quality mathematical models assume a

static beach that does not evolve over time. However, the beach changes daily

with tides and waves and more broadly with the seasons, from a narrow, rocky

beach in winter to a wide, sandy beach in summer, and everything in between.

Beaches in Southern California are also highly managed to keep people dry and safe and to prevent erosion, with physical management projects such as using

Her research aims to answer many pressing coastal management questions.

bulldozers to erect beach berms or, in the case of Seal Beach, to build a large sand dike each winter to protect the backshore. “These techniques are applied ad hoc, and anecdotally

they must work because taxpayers and municipalities would

not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year doing these things if there wasn’t some benefit,” she said. “Yet there is

no understanding in the scientific literature of how beaches

perform when these management techniques are applied. So that is something I’m interested in addressing.”

Her research aims to answer many pressing coastal management

questions: Should we be building these? When should we be building these?

What level of protection do they provide the backshore? And are there optimal ways to build with the least amount of disturbance to the beach for animal habitats and breeding grounds?

Answering those questions requires fieldwork. On a recent summer

morning, Gallien and two field engineers from Scripps used an unmanned

aerial vehicle (UAV) and an ATV to survey a Los Angeles–area beach. They were



collecting highly accurate subaerial beach topography with a resolution of

approximately 1 centimeter. It is part of a longitudinal study and something she hopes to expand to other California coastal communities.

“I’m very lucky to be at UCLA. It’s a dream come true for somebody that

does what I do,” Gallien said. “Southern California is among the most vulnerable locations in the United States to sea level rise, so there is no shortage of things to work on here.”

High-Res Bird’s Eye View: Gallien uses an unmanned aerial vehicle to track changes on the beach.

Of vital importance, Gallien also plans to continue her mentorship,

teaching, and community outreach activities. She is most passionate to

continue mentoring first-generation students who often face very challenging

family demands amidst their academic pursuits. Her guidance has helped past mentees overcome these challenges to continue into graduate programs and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. She has a

special interest in educating citizens and children in beach science. Gallien has

taught 6th and 8th grade students through the Birch Aquarium Beach Science program and spearheaded the Mobile Beach Erosion Monitoring (MoBERM)

program during her postdoctoral studies, which will now expand to engage Los Angeles residents.

Gallien plans to offer interested UCLA undergraduates the chance to

participate in field research and data analysis—opportunities she hopes will inspire continued education in graduate engineering programs.

Usually one of the only women in her upper division undergraduate

engineering classes, Gallien also has a strong desire to act as a role model to inspire future generations of women in STEM.

“You often can’t dream about becoming something unless you see

somebody whom you can connect with that you feel is a role model,” she said. “It’s critical for me to work with the students who are struggling to find their voice because they haven’t found that connection yet. I’ve been extremely

impressed with the quality of students at UCLA. It’s an exciting time, and I’m

p Top: Orthoimage from a UAV of San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego County. Bottom: San Elijo Lagoon topography data from original orthoimage. Low elevations in pink increasing to high elevations in brown.

Images courtesy Timu Gallien t Gallien uses an unmanned aerial vehicle to survey a Southern California beach.



really excited to be a Bruin.”   n

new faculty for 2016-17 Sam Emaminejad, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering

Emaminejad’s research focus is to develop an ecosystem of integrated portable, wearable, and in

vivo physiological and environmental monitoring platforms to enable personalized and precision medicine. Emaminejad received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He most recently held a joint postdoctoral scholar post with UC Berkeley and Stanford School of Medicine.

Timu Gallien, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Gallien’s research examines evolving coastal hazards from climate change and urbanization,

using numerical modeling and high resolution field observations. Her research interests include urban coastal flood prediction, beach morphology, near-shore processes, remote sensing, and beach groundwater. Gallien received her Ph.D. from UC Irvine. Before joining UCLA, she was a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Scholar at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Eran Halperin, Professor of Computer Science

Halperin’s research interests are in computational methods to analyze genetic data, in particular

to improve the understanding of disease genetics. Halperin, who will hold a faculty appointment

in the David Geffen School of Medicine, joins UCLA from Tel Aviv University, where he received his Ph.D. He is also a senior research scientist at the International Computer Science Institute, which is affiliated with UC Berkeley.

Ximin He, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

He’s research interests are in bio-inspired materials and systems, biomedical and environmental

applications, energy applications, and 3-D printing technologies. Her honors include the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He was a Gates Cambridge Trust Scholar at Cambridge

University, where she received her Ph.D., and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. He



joins UCLA from a tenure-track position at Arizona State University.

Lihua Jin, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Jin’s research interests include the mechanics of soft materials, continuum mechanics and their applications in technologies, nanomechanics, and multiscale modeling. Jin was most recently a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, where she worked on modeling mechanical

and electrical properties of stretchable carbon nanotube electrodes. She received her Ph.D. in engineering sciences from Harvard University.

Jonathan Kao, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering

Kao’s research interests lie at the intersection of neuroengineering, neuroscience, and information systems engineering, in particular how to improve algorithms for neural

prosthetics. Kao joins UCLA from Stanford University. His honors include a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and Stanford Engineering’s Terman Award for Scholastic Achievement.

Sanjay Mohanty, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Mohanty studies physical, geochemical, and biological processes that affect contaminant removal in the subsurface soil. His goal is to use this knowledge to develop strategies to

protect and manage land and water resources. Mohanty received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has held postdoctoral scholar posts at Stanford University and more recently at the University of Pennsylvania.

Tony Nowatzki, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Nowatzki’s research interests include hardware/software codesign and architectural modeling and applications of mathematical optimization. Nowatzki has received a Google fellowship in

computer architecture and a distinguished paper award at the Programming Language Design

and Implementation conference. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and will join UCLA in January.

Philippe Sautet, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Sautet’s research interests are in computational catalysis, and he has done pioneering work in the theory of heterogeneous catalysis. He joins UCLA from École Normale Supérieure de

Lyon, France, where he was an exceptional class director of research at the National Center for

Scientific Research (CNRS). His numerous honors include the Pierre Sue Grand Prize and election

to the French Academy of Sciences. He received his doctorate from Paris-Orsay University. He has supervised 24 Ph.D. students including seven now in academia, and 14 postdoctoral researchers. Yizhou Sun, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Sun’s research interests are in mining information and social networks, and more generally data mining, machine learning, and network science. Her focus is on modeling novel problems and

proposing scalable algorithms for real-world applications, such as academic databases, social media, and healthcare. Her honors include the NSF CAREER Award, Yahoo’s Academic Career Enhancement Award, and the ACM SIGKDD Dissertation Award. Sun received her Ph.D. from the University of

Varghese’s research interests are in network verification and network algorithmics, where he has

made pioneering contributions. He was most recently a principal researcher at Microsoft Research. Varghese has previously been on the faculty of UC San Diego and Washington University in

St. Louis. His honors include the IEEE Kobayashi Award for Computers and Communications and the SIGCOMM Lifetime Award. He is a Fellow of the ACM. Several of the algorithms he helped develop appear in commercial systems. He received his Ph.D. from MIT.


George Varghese, Professor of Computer Science

19 19

Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She joins UCLA from the faculty of Northeastern University.

UCLA computer science senior Iris Cong.

CS undergrad receives two major honors

Iris Cong, a senior UCLA computer science major, received two major honors this year recognizing her accomplishments and potential. In April Cong was one of 6 CS majors nationwide to be named a 2016 Goldwater Scholar by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. In September Cong was invited to attend the 2016 Heidelberg Laureate Forum. The event in Germany connects 200 top undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars in mathematics and computer science worldwide, with pioneers in the fields who have the most prestigious of recognitions, such as the Turing Award and the Fields Medal.

Photographer: Art Montes De Oca

A Quantum Leap You were at UC Santa Barbara over the summer. What did you work on? What did you learn? Iris Cong: I did a research internship at Microsoft Station Q this summer, which is directed by Fields medalist Professor Michael Freedman. This group works on topological quantum computing, which uses topology to perform fault-tolerant quantum computing. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with world-class professors in math and physics, which complemented my CS background well.

Cong developed an algorithm to exponentially speed up applications on quantum computing platforms.

My adviser, Professor Zhenghan Wang, gave me an exceptional experience this summer. From my first day, we spent at least four hours together each day. He started by teaching me a lot of math and physics, but soon, these discussions matured into many original research ideas. In the end, we wrote a 117-page research paper on topological quantum computation (just posted on arXiv at, with numerous contributions in math, physics, and CS. I’m pretty sure this will be the most productive 12 weeks of my life. What are you hoping to get out of the Heidelberg experience? Cong: I’m really excited to meet all of the laureates. I’d love to hear their opinions on the current research frontiers, which may also help me decide on my future research areas.


For UCLA undergraduates in any major who are interested in research, do you have one piece of advice that would help make their experience more worthwhile? Cong: Be open to all kinds of ideas—especially those spanning many disciplines: By pursuing two different paths for the same project, it’s much easier to keep moving. If you get stuck in one direction, the other may still be clear. It’s very enlightening when they match up in the end. This was especially important for me this summer, when two chapters of our paper produced perfectly corresponding results using completely separate approaches in math and physics.  n


How did you first get interested in quantum computing/quantum machine learning? Cong: I first learned about quantum computing when I ran into my Physics 1A Professor Michael Jura a quarter after the class. He knew I was interested in CS, so he mentioned it as a conversation starter. I did some brief research and decided this was the perfect field for me, as I love math, physics, and CS equally.

paddling to t UCLA ASCE Team wins Pacific Region and finishes higher nationally in rankings than at any other time in last 20 years


he UCLA Concrete Canoe team paddled their way onto the podium at the 2016 national

competition with a 2nd place finish overall.

More than 20 teams from across North

America took part in ASCE’s national competition, held in June and hosted by the University of Texas at Tyler. First place went to a team from École de Technologie Supérieure, from Montreal. Teams are scored in four

sanding. None of our success would have been possible

a design report; an oral presentation; and race results.

friends, family, and sponsors.”

categories: the canoe’s design and construction quality;


UCLA placed first in the final product and had top-five


“It was a great experience for all of us there, and a wonderful opportunity to represent UCLA Engineering.”

places in the design report and in the women’s sprint and endurance races.

“It was a great experience for all of us there, and a

wonderful opportunity to represent UCLA Engineering,” said Maxwell Armenta, a senior civil engineering major

and a project manager on the team. “That really was the

result of a whole year’s worth of ingenuity, sacrifice—and

without the hard work of our team and support of our The team is part of UCLA’s student chapter of the

American Society of Civil Engineers.

Teams qualify through their ASCE regional conference.

The UCLA Concrete Canoe team placed first at the Pacific Southwest Conference. In fact, the entire ASCE Bruins

team took top honors at the 2016 regional conference, something last achieved in 1994. Eighteen universities

competed at the regionals in a range of activities including

he top steel bridge, environmental design, and geotechnical design, just to name a few.

Concrete Canoe is a year-round project starting in

the fall quarter, when students work on design, mold

construction, and casting of the canoe. The team also holds paddling practices throughout the year.

The Concrete Canoe team is already aiming for

another national podium finish in 2017.

“I’m confident in the quality and dedication of the 2017

team,” Armenta said. “UCLA CE&E students can accomplish

Photos of UCLA Concrete Canoe team throughout the 2015–16 school year. Photos courtesy ASCE at UCLA.


Go Bruins!  n


anything they set their minds on.”

Bright Future for Lasers Terahertz: One of the last frontiers of the electromagnetic spectrum

Professor Benjamin Williams (foreground) with 2016 Ph.D. graduate Benjamin Burnett in the Terahertz Devices and Intersubband Nanostructures Laboratory.

Writer: Katherine Kornei   Photographer: Art Montes De Oca

Benjamin Williams, an associate professor of electrical engineering, and his group study next-generation lasers that produce photons with frequencies of trillions of cycles per second. These terahertz photons, which have energies between those of infrared and microwave photons, can be used for astrophysics research, as well as for detecting explosives or revealing hidden layers of paint in artwork. However, terahertz photons are notoriously difficult to generate, and terahertz radiation is therefore “one of the last frontiers of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Williams. “Ben has carefully built up his experimental program, and now it’s really paying off,” said

Gregory Pottie, professor and chair of the Electrical Engineering Department.

This spring Williams was honored by President Obama with a Presidential Early Career

Award for Scientists and Engineers. This prize is given to particularly promising young

researchers whose achievements span both academics and community service. Williams was one of three UCLA engineering faculty members to win the award this year.

Most optical and infrared lasers operate by electrons transitioning between two energy

levels in a semiconductor crystal and emitting a photon. However, this process is not so easily extended to the terahertz range.

“If you want to make terahertz radiation, you need a very low-energy photon, so you need

two energy levels that are very close together, and that’s hard to do with the semiconductors that nature gives us,” said Williams.

Williams and his collaborators instead produce terahertz photons by

engineering artificial materials that mimic the energy levels of atoms. These so-called “quantum cascade lasers” are made by arranging

different semiconductors in layers—some only a few atoms thick—

electron transitions between different energy levels, it emits photons. A single electron can cascade between the many quantum wells in a u

A metasurface laser chip.


confine electrons to certain energy levels chosen by design. As an


to form quantum wells. Quantum wells are like tiny “boxes” that

p Undergraduate student

Susan Krkasharian in Williams’ lab.

quantum cascade laser and trigger the emission of multiple terahertz photons, thereby producing a powerful laser beam. Another advantage of quantum cascade lasers is that the frequency of the emitted photons can be modulated.

“Instead of being limited to the band gap that nature gives you, we can change the width

of these quantum wells to choose the effective band gap [and change the photons’ frequency]. That’s a very powerful concept,” said Williams.



A major achievement of Williams’ lab has been creating a type of terahertz quantum cascade laser that possesses both an excellent beam pattern and high power.

While quantum cascade lasers are both powerful and tunable in

frequency, a significant disadvantage has been their low beam quality.

“Think of a laser pointer, which has a very nice beam. The beam goes

where you want it, and it looks like a nice spot. You’re not wasting the light,” he said.

Terahertz lasers, on the other hand, often have beams that are

highly divergent, meaning that the light beam spreads out and

accordingly becomes less powerful. In some cases, the beam of a

terahertz laser diverges so much that only 0.1 percent of it ends up where it was initially intended to go.

A major achievement of Williams’ lab has been creating a type of terahertz quantum cascade

laser that possesses both an excellent beam pattern and high power.

“Our innovation was to make an artificial surface that’s made up of lots of little laser

antennas [metal structures that each function like a quantum cascade amplifier]. The net effect is

a mirror that reflects terahertz light as it amplifies and focuses it at the same time,” said Williams.

“We believe that this ability will allow us to create lasers with control of nearly all of the properties

of the light—its wavelength, amplitude, phase, and polarization.”

Williams and his team are also exploring

how quantum cascade lasers can be designed to operate at room temperature. Currently,

scientists must cool their lasers down to 77

Kelvin (-321°F), a step that limits the lasers’ use outside of a laboratory. Now, Williams is investigating building those lasers using quantum

dots instead of quantum wells. While quantum wells confine electrons’ motion in only one

dimension, quantum dots restrict their motion in all three dimensions. The extra confinement in quantum dots is predicted to drastically

p Lab members (L to R): Grad student Christopher Curwen, Williams, Burnett,

Krkasharian, grad students Yujie Lin and Jiawei Wang.

reduce how much the electrons scatter, which would allow these lasers to work at room temperature.

“We’re currently working with Diana Huffaker [professor of electrical engineering at UCLA],

who grows quantum dots,” said Williams. “[Her work] would allow us to do the same kinds of quantum engineering with quantum dots that we presently do with quantum wells.”

Williams is also devoted to teaching and mentoring students. He is the adviser to the

department’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Honor Society student chapter, and he is helping to plan its new honors sequence for undergraduates.  n

q Lab member Wang.

UCLA ENGINEERING Research Highlights

Writer: Matthew Chin

Insight into Modern Human Ancestors Ancient human relative interbred with ancestors of modern humans as recently as 50,000 years ago


new study led by scientists at UCLA and Harvard Medical School offers surprising new insight into the genetic ancestry of modern humans. The research published in the journal Current Biology, also rewrites by thousands

of years the timeline of when ancient humans interbred with other hominids. Scientists have long known that most of the world’s population, outside of Africa, has a little bit of Neanderthal DNA in their genetic makeup. But the new study suggests that many people might actually have a little bit of DNA that can be traced back to Denisovans—a population of ancient extinct hominids who lived alongside humans and Neanderthals until tens of thousands of years ago. And the research shows that humans interbred with Denisovans even more recently than they did with Neanderthals—perhaps as long as 100 generations later.



The researchers used a library In humans today, concentrations of Denisovan DNA are highest in Australia and Papua New Guinea (red), but the new study found higher-thanexpected levels in South Asia (light green).

of genomic data for more than 250 modern human populations around the world and compared it to the DNA found in the Denisovan fossils. Then, using sophisticated modeling techniques, the scientists found that people living today in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and other parts of South Asia carry more Denisovan DNA than existing genomic models had suggested. Sriram Sankararaman, the study’s co-corresponding author, is a UCLA assistant professor of computer science and holds a faculty appointment in human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The paper’s other corresponding author is David Reich, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.  n

Writer: Matthew Chin

Drug Combinations to fight TB Therapies selected using feedback system control may shorten treatment time and combat drug resistance

a substantially faster and more effective treatment

for tuberculosis, which infects some 10 million people and causes 1.5 million deaths each year.

Combination therapy, which utilizes a series of drugs,

National Academy of Sciences. It was funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Shanghai

Jiao Tong University, which provided a subgrant to UCLA to perform the studies.

The study’s principal investigator is Chih-Ming Ho,

is a clinical standard for many major diseases. However, the

UCLA’s Ben Rich–Lockheed Martin Chair Professor. Dr.

dose levels can be in the billions,

distinguished professor of medicine and microbiology,

number of potential combinations of different drugs and making the prospect of choosing the best one seem daunting.

In the study,

researchers used a technique called

feedback system control, which

was developed

at UCLA, to study

cells infected with

the bacteria that cause

tuberculosis. They quickly

narrowed combinations of 14

different tuberculosis drugs with five

different doses—resulting in 6 billion possibilities —into several promising combination treatments that kill the bacteria that cause tuberculosis

much faster than the standard regimen used to treat it.

Marcus Horwitz, a senior author on the research, is a

immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

The lead authors on the paper are Aleidy Silva,

a UCLA Engineering postdoctoral scholar; and Dr.

Daniel Clemens, an adjunct professor, and Bai-Yu Lee, a researcher, both in the department of medicine at UCLA.

Ho has UCLA faculty

appointments in

mechanical and aerospace

engineering, and

bioengineering.  n

At left, fluorescent tuberculosis bacteria can be seen in macrophages. At right, following drug-dose combination treatment, tuberculosis bacteria have been killed.


University have made an important step toward

The research was published in the Proceedings of the



esearchers from UCLA and Shanghai Jiao Tong

Chair Lift UCLA ENGINEER  | 


Samueli Foundation donates $10 million for endowed chairs

The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science received a $10 million gift from the Samueli Foundation that will help establish as many as 20 new endowed faculty chairs. The matching gift followed the school’s announced plan to expand by 50 faculty members and 1,000 students over the next five to seven years. “UCLA already is home to one of the

top engineering schools in the world,” Henry Samueli said. “The next few years present an opportunity to take it to another level.

We want to ensure that the most promising

engineers working in the most dynamic fields

continue to come to UCLA to teach and pursue research.”

Dean Jayathi Murthy is spearheading the

effort to expand the school. Adding endowed

semiconductor firm Broadcom Corp., and his

wife, Susan. Henry Samueli, who earned three degrees from UCLA Engineering, said the gift is designed to encourage other alumni and donors to propel the school’s expansion.

The gift offers a dollar-for-dollar match

for donations toward the establishment of endowed chairs. For example, it will make it possible for other donors to sponsor a

permanent chair in the name of their choice

and to support faculty research in an area of

interest to them with a gift of $1 million, which would be matched by the foundation for the $2 million total needed to fund the chair.

Similarly, a term chair, an endowed position

given to the chair holder for a specific period of time, normally requires a $1 million gift

but can be created for $500,000, which the foundation would match.

recruit and retain top faculty.

Henry Samueli ’75, MS ’76, PhD ’80 was a

member of UCLA’s engineering faculty in 1991

when he cofounded Broadcom with one of his students, Henry Nicholas. In 2016 Broadcom

Corp. was acquired by Avago Technologies Ltd.

for $37 billion and renamed Broadcom Ltd. The company employs more than 15,000 people

and has facilities around the world. Samueli

remains the company’s chief technical officer and a member of the board.

The engineering school at UCLA is

named for Henry Samueli in recognition of a

significant gift from the foundation in 1999.   n The foundation was created in 1999 by Henry Samueli, the cofounder of global semiconductor firm Broadcom Corp., and his wife, Susan.


by Henry Samueli, the cofounder of global

chairs would significantly accelerate efforts to


The foundation was created in 1999

1-Ranked Online Master’s Program






UCLA’s top-ranked Master of Science in Engineering Online Program has expanded its offerings to 15 programs of study, including new programs in engineering management, data science, and sustainable water engineering. “Both companies and prospective students have been telling us they wanted these rigorous programs in these areas,” said Jenn-Ming Yang, UCLA Engineering associate dean for international initiatives and online programs. “For example, we’ve developed a data science curriculum that covers how to design and build big data systems, and data-mining and machine learning techniques that extract information from large data sets, perform predictive and inference analysis, and personalize the data.” The Master of Science Online Program enables working engineers and computer scientists to expand their technical knowledge and advance their careers. The program has been ranked #1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for each of the past two years. The program is a full UCLA M.S. degree with no online designations on transcripts or diploma. It is delivered completely online and can be completed in two years.

Online Masters Visit: Call: 310.825.6542  | Email:


405 Hilgard Avenue Boelter Hall Suite 7256 Box 951600 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1600 Address Service Requested

UCLA Engineering

Awards Dinner saturday, FEBRUARY 25, 2017 For more information, visit:

UCLA Engineer 2016  
UCLA Engineer 2016  

This issue looks at UCLA Engineering’s push into smart manufacturing; a new faculty member who protects the coast; an electrical engineering...