The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks supports research in the following areas; communications systems, computer and sensor networks, electric power systems, nanosensor technology, remote sensing, robotic systems, satellite and rocket systems. These subjects are of importance to the state, federal and global communities and are supported by a variety of research partners and sponsors. These research projects provide research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Undergraduate students can either obtain assistantships or structure their work for academic credit to meet the requirements of EE488, EE497, EE498. Graduate students can obtain graduate assistantships and apply their research to their graduate studies. Interested students should contact the appropriate faculty members for further information.

Satellite Communications Systems

Research in satellite communications is important to the state of Alaska as well as many other locations. With the advent of satellite phones, pagers using satellites, GPS systems, internet over satellite, as well as the traditional video distribution, satellites are becoming an even more integral part of our world wide communications network.

Research in microwave communications includes the development and testing of microwave communication and positioning systems for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), with special emphasis on emerging ultra wideband technologies.

Computer and Sensor Networks

Research in distributed sensor networks includes study of wireless intelligent sensors, energy-efficient computing, low-power communication protocols, support for biomedical monitoring, and computer architecture. These systems usually work with hierarchical architectures consisting of different levels, based on microcontrollers, PDA's, and PC's. Studies also explore the possibilities for procedure and task migrations across different computing platforms. Research work is performed in the SensE Laboratory, and involves developing hardware and system software for wireless sensor networks, as well as the application software. This research is partially supported by the Defense Intelligence Agency and the NSF. Contact Dr. Dejan Raskovic for further information.Research in communications in distributed sensor networks or wireless sensor networks includes study of antennas, propagation, communications protocols, and energy-efficient remote sensing. Contact Professor Charles E. Mayer for further details.

Remote Sensing

Research in radio remote sensing includes the development of radar systems for studying the upper atmosphere. We are currently building a radar system on Kodiak Island that will act as part of a network of radars called SuperDARN that are dedicated to space physics research. We currently have undergraduate research opportunities for students to work with the SuperDARN radar data and learn about geomagnetic activity, radar techniques, and data analysis techniques. The project will require a student with good mathematical and computer programming skills. Contact Dr. William Bristow for further details.

Research in laser remote sensing includes the development of laser radar systems for studying the atmosphere and oceans. The lidar (laser radar) program provides opportunities for students in several areas relating to electro optic systems, remote sensing and signal processing. Students can study laser techniques in a classroom and laboratory setting. Students participate in laser radar observations at Poker Flat Research Range working with laser systems, telescope receivers and data acquisition systems. Students develop techniques for inverting raw measurements data into geophysical data (e.g. lidar data into temperature data) and compare different remote sensing techniques. Contact Professor Richard L. Collins for further details.

Rocket Systems

Research in rocket systems is conducted as part of the Alaska Student Rocket Program (ASRP). ASRP provides opportunities for students to design, construct, and test sounding rocket payloads that are launched from Poker Flat Research Range, the only university-operated sounding rocket range in the world. The SRP-4 payload, shown below during integration, was launched to 89 km in March 2002 to study the plasma density structure of the D-region of the ionosphere. Students ranging from precollege through graduate level are currently working together as an interdisciplinary design team under supervision of NASA and UAF personnel to design the SRP-5 payload, which is being prepared for launch in early 2005. Contact Professor Joseph G. Hawkins for further details.

Satellite Systems

Research efforts have included experimental studies of spacecraft charging during electron beam emission from the Space Shuttle Orbiter, numerical simulation studies of the interaction between the solar wind and the magnetosphere, and development of technology for wireless power transmission at microwave frequencies with possible future applications to solar-powered satellites. Contact Professor Joseph G. Hawkins for further details.