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Research Areas

Power and Energy

Research in power and energy is a huge field ranging from power electronics and distribution systems to the study of renewable energy. ECE has tremendous strength in this area, with undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in power and numerous faculty with power and energy-related research programs, including:

The College of Engineering is also home to The Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky, committed to establishing UK as a preeminent power and energy university nationally and internationally through support for affordable, plentiful, and reliable energy technologies, efficient effective use of renewable energy resources, and development of innovative technologies for sustainable energy.

Computer Architectures and Embedded Systems

Only 75 years ago ENIAC was one of the first state-of-the-art computers, a 100-foot long monstrosity with 17,000 vacuum tubes that could carry out 5000 additions per second. Since then, we have seen explosive growth in computer technology that has come to encompass nearly every aspect of daily life. Modern research in computer architecture and embedded systems continues to expand these frontiers. Here at UK, faculty in ECE do research in embedded systems, supercomputing, and quantum computing technologies. These faculty include:

Signal Processing and Machine Learning

Signal processing and machine learning are two diverse disciplines that have come together in the past decade through the growth of important application fields such as Computer Vision and Speech Processing. Modern research in signal processing and machine learning encompasses a broad range of technologies, from advanced audio technology to multimedia to cybersecurity. ECE faculty doing research in these areas include:

This research area is also closely connected to the work of the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments, a multidisciplinary research center focused on creating technology that transforms how we see the world.

Computational Electromagnetics

Computational Electromagnetics involves modeling the interactions of electromagnetic fields with physical objects and our environment. ECE has several faculty members who do research work in this area, including projects on signal propagation and electromagnetic field interactions from the depths of the ocean via ONR’s Electric Ship Project to the heights of outer space via NASA research on antenna modeling for the international space station. Faculty in this area include:

Micro/nano scale devices and materials

Nanotechnology involves design and characterizing materials and devices whose structures can be measured in nanometers. A nanometer is 10-9 meters – about 1/75000 of the width of a human hair, or the width of two silicon atoms. Faculty in ECE who do nanoscale and microscale (10-6 meters) research, related to topics including chemical and biological sensors, solar cell research, and quantum computing, include:

ECE is also the home to the multidisciplinary Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Controls and Manufacturing

Research in controls relates to characterizing and controlling the behavior of complex input-output systems, often through feedback mechanisms. Control theory has application to a wide variety of disciplines ranging from economics to manufacturing. Faculty in ECE with research in the area of controls and manufacturing include:

The area of controls and manufacturing is also closely related to the University of Kentucky’s Lean Systems Program and the Institute for Sustainable Manufacturing