Solutions for Doing Good
Taking on today’s pressing challenges – intractable and emerging diseases, cybersecurity, aging infrastructures, big data management, and natural resources conservation, for example – requires expertise from many disciplines. So we focus our research on far-reaching, interdisciplinary team projects and connect our capabilities to the issues that most need our attention.
UA College of Engineering faculty and graduate students, and many undergraduates, are collaborating with researchers across the University of Arizona and around the globe on projects that improve quality of life.
Our research portfolio includes 100 projects with an annual expenditure of $32 million. Major sources of funding include NASA, the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. Among funders from private industry are Raytheon, Honeywell, Boeing, Texas Instruments, Edmund Optics, Ventana Medical Systems and Tucson Electric Power.
- Sustainability and Infrastructure – water treatment and reuse, bioremediation, biofuels and renewables, energy efficiency and storage, autonomous systems, traffic and transit systems, cost estimation, data management, infrastructure networks
- Biomedical Systems and Devices – sensors, imaging, biomaterials, wearable devices, mobile diagnostics and testing
- Defense and Homeland Security – explosives detection, active flow control for air and space flight, robotics, cybersecurity, wireless communication, space object behavioral sciences
- Advanced Manufacturing and Materials – materials testing in extreme environments, nanotechnology and metamaterials design, computational modeling to predict properties and build stronger materials, mining logistics
Science in Seconds: The ACTIVATE Project
Bioelectronics: Erin Ratcliff
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Ushering in Hypersonic Flight
Two new high-speed wind tunnels in the College will help aerospace and mechanical engineering assistant professor Alex Craig identify problems of instability and materials failure in aircraft and missiles flying at Mach 5 and above.
Sidelining Hackers and Snoops
Salim Hariri is creating tools to track hackers and destroy their communications infrastructures. Fellow researchers are developing dynamic maps to visualize suspicious activity on computer networks and signature-free wireless transmissions to protect users from eavesdroppers.
Automating Border Control
Young-Jun Son, professor and head of systems and industrial engineering, and his team are designing an autonomous border-surveillance system to collect, assess and act on data in real time – and deploy drones that communicate with one another.
Getting Digital Data to Doctors
With $1.3 million and a top-priority ranking from the National Institutes of Health, Ali Bilgin and his co-PI Regents’ Professor Michael Marcellin, co-inventor of JPEG2000, are developing data compression software to make biomedical big data universally available.
Putting Genome Sequencing into Practice
Using ‘shotgun sequencing’ to study how microbial communities work together to influence biological processes in the environment and our bodies, metagenomic researcher Bonnie Hurwitz aims to help doctors quickly provide personalized treatment.
Making Rapid, Disposable Blood Tests
Professor Linda Powers, who has developed hand-held sensors to detect microbes and contaminants in air, soil and water, and her student research team are developing rapid, disposable blood tests for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
Testing Wearable Sensors for Seniors
Biomedical engineers and clinicians at the University of Arizona are developing devices that reduce risk of falling and increase quality of life for older adults with balance and mobility issues.
Ensuring Structural Safety
A multi-university team led by professor Robert Fleischman is turning its attention to steel collectors in concrete floor slabs or beams below them, which are responsible for horizontally transferring seismic forces, to help design earthquake-resistant buildings.
Delivering Water to the Navajo Nation
Professors Bob Arnold and Vicky Karanikola and their team partnered with Apex Applied Technology to build a solar-powered, water-purification system into a refurbished, operational school bus for a water-scarce Navajo community.
Getting Cars to Talk
Research and field tests overseen by professor Larry Head, Interim Dean of the College, are moving the infrastructure for vehicle-to-vehicle communication, technology that can reduce crashes and save lives, closer and closer to urban roadways.
Advancing Low-Cost Solar Power
A multi-university team, supported by a $7 million DOE award and led by Peiwen “Perry” Li is working to achieve higher temperatures in molten salt transfer fluids for concentrated solar thermal power systems.
Building Computers of the Future
Professor Pierre Deymier and his team are working to build a quantum computer that uses sound instead of quantum particles. Phonon-based computing could give way to more powerful computing for artificial intelligence, cryptography and big data analysis.
Making Semiconductors Safely
For nearly 20 years, the Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing, founded by Regents’ Professor Farhang Shadman, has been finding safer, more efficient ways to manufacture semiconductors.
Taking Space Testing to the Source
Professor Kelly Simmons Potter and students in her lab have published several papers on how their fiber optics fared in space aboard MISSE-7. Colleague Erica Corral tests ceramic and composite materials destined for extreme environments in an oven that reaches 2000 degrees Celsius but never gets hot to the touch.
Connecting capabilities to the most pressing needs on Earth, and beyond
Building Smart CitiesFour Engineering professors are among researchers working on smart cities, shared mobility, connected vehicles and driverless cars. Larry Head, UA professor of systems and industrial engineering, is creating a smart platform for connected vehicles and traffic signals.
Integrating Renewable EnergyUA researchers like Kimberly Ogden – a professor of chemical and environmental engineering who is cultivating algae for fuel – are focused on reliably integrating renewable energy into the grid and developing technology for energy conversion and storage.
The college leads and partners in a number of high-profile centers, institutes, labs and facilities on campus. Many involve collaboration with industry, other universities and government agencies. Below are some of them.
Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation
The ACABI is aimed at developing novel solutions to the broad range of continuously emerging unsolved problems and unmet needs in health care, well care and overall individual well-being, in the rapidly evolving world and society in which we live.
Director: Marvin J. Slepian
Arizona Materials Laboratory
The AML hosts a large array of equipment needed for research in materials science and engineering. This equipment is also available to the scientific community and industry.
Director: Pierre Deymier
Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy
AzRISE is a response to the challenge of planning for large-scale, affordable solar energy power generation and training the workforce that will make the transition possible. Research goals include identifying, funding and coordinating Arizona-specific solar energy research opportunities, developing intellectual property and promoting development and widespread adoption of solar energy.
Director: Kelly Simmons Potter
Arizona Research Center for Hypersonics
The University of Arizona is a global leader in the field of hypersonics. Ideally situated in the heart of aerospace and defense industry, the institution boasts a unique array of resources, laboratories and world-renowned researchers, dedicated to breaking new ground and pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
Contact: David Hahn
Broadband Wireless Access and Applications Center
BWAC researchers are developing technology and standards to overcome challenges associated with user access and spectrum ability to support the tremendous growth in wireless data traffic.
Director: Marwan Krunz
Co-director: Tamal Bose
Center for Quantum Networks
CQN is laying the foundations of the quantum internet, as part of a $26M grant from the National Science Foundation, with an additional $24.6 million option. The University of Arizona is leading the center with core partners Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University.
Director: Saikat Guha
Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources
Recognizing that the sustainable development of mineral resources is fundamental to the prosperity of the United States in the next century, the Lowell Institute fosters and expands the USGS-university-private partnerships to undertake mineral resource scientific research and inventories.
Co-director: Mark Barton
Co-director: Mary Poulton
Nano Fabrication and Processing Center
Several advanced research projects are underway in the Nano Fabrication and Processing laboratory, including research projects supported by the National Science Foundation, Sematech, and private sponsors. The Center for Micro Contamination Control and the Center for Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing also conduct major research in the laboratory.
Director: Omid Mahdavi
NSF/UA Cloud and Autonomic Computing Center
CAC’s research is focused on cloud computing systems and applications and the use of autonomic computing methods for the management of these and other IT systems.
Co-director: Salim Hariri
Co-director: Ali Akoglu
SRC Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor
Work in the SRC Engineering Research Center focuses on studies in the areas of ultrapure water, water recycling, plasma processes, wet chemicals, chemical-mechanical polishing and risk assessment to reduce the environmental impact of semiconductor manufacturing.
Director: Farhang Shadman
Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center
Led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab, this $115M project boasts three University of Arizona engineers. The SQMS Center combines the theoretical and experimental expertise of individual research groups to advance long-term success of quantum technologies.
Transportation Research Institute
The TRI develops and deploys the next generation of transportation systems to benefit the nation, with the interdisciplinary expertise necessary to address the challenges of an ever-evolving transportation ecosystem.
Director: Jonathan Sprinkle
University Spectroscopy and Imaging Facilities
USIF is dedicated to the acquisition and analysis of images for life and physical science research and commercial applications. It provides access to multiuser equipment and the knowledge and skills necessary to assist investigators in academia, industry and at public and private institutions as well as students in use of the technology.
Director: Brooke Beam Massani