CSE 3MT Competition winners: Yali Zhang Places 1st, Aditya Dave is People’s Choice

Congratulations to Yali Zhang for placing first, and Aditya Dave for winning the people’s choice award at the CSE-level 3MT competition. The competition is open to doctoral students and the challenge is to present their research in 3 minutes in a compelling manner to a non-scientific audience. ECE students Yali and Aditya (both completing their doctoral research under the guidance of Prof. Rhonda Franklin) stood up to the challenge effectively. Originating at the University of Queensland, the 3MT competition is now adopted by 85 countries with over 200 participating institutions. Learn more about the competition here.

Yali Zhang’s Research Interests

Born in Changsha, China, Yali earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Sichuan University. Her interest in the field of radio frequency (RF) technology brought her to the University of Minnesota, where she has been a part of Prof. Franklin’s MPACT research group. Yali has been studying the application of nanostructures in RF technology in the millimeter and sub-millimeter wave range. The relative newness of the topic, and its potential ability to improve lives, from our digital experience to our health has been a driving impetus for her.

Image of Doctoral Student Yali Zhang
Doctoral Student Yali Zhang

Currently, Yali’s work delves into RF properties, and applications of magnetic and non-magnetic nanostructures, especially for future communication and nanomedicine technologies. Future sub-millimeter wave communication systems are the key to internet of things devices, autonomous vehicles, and low-power CubeSats. Magnetic nanostructure-based bio-label is essential to meet nanomedicine technology’s goals of providing precise detection of pathological changes, and targeted therapy. Both areas demand effective designs and measurement techniques for nanoscale devices in micrometer-scale integration.

As part of her doctoral research, Yali is working on characterizing magnetic and non-magnetic nanowires, and applying them in device components. Based on magnetic nanowires characterization technology, a nano-labeling system can be built, and small-sized non-reciprocal devices can be designed accurately. Her study of non-magnetic copper oxide nanowires holds the potential to develop low-loss, fast-speed 3D integrated circuits.

Watch Prof. Franklin’s student, Yali Zhang describe her doctoral research in 3 minutes

Yali’s goal is to develop accurate and sensitive methods to characterize nanowires to be used for cell labeling and circuitry components for 5G and 6G communication applications. After graduation, she plans on applying knowledge gained through her research towards solving real life problems, drawing on diverse disciplines such as biology and material science for RF circuits and designs.

Aditya Dave’s Research Interests

Aditya is from Mumbai, India, and earned his bachelor’s degree from BITS Pilani, India in 2017. Prof. Rhonda Franklin’s research coincided with his own interests, and he started his doctoral work in ECE the same year.

Watch Prof. Franklin’s student, Aditya Dave describe his doctoral research in 3 minutes
Image of Aditya Dave
Doctoral student Aditya Dave

Aditya’s research lies in electromagnetics and its applications, and he is currently working on antenna technology. A significant element of his doctoral endeavor is the development of efficient designs for planar antennas with a dielectric lens. These types of systems have the potential to extract higher performance from relatively small and compact antennas through increased efficiency. As part of his research, Aditya has designed efficient lenses that split radiation originating from an antenna into multiple near-field identical beams, which make these systems viable for a range of near-field and far-field applications.

Aditya is currently exploring these applications. One of the near field applications is developing free-space miniature power dividers that can also act as vertical interconnects in integrated circuits. Far-field applications include the possibility of developing passive beam steering virtual antenna arrays and remote sensing applications such as measurement of water content in the soil, for plants. The latter was the focus of his presentation for the 3MT Competition hosted by the College of Science and Engineering. His goal for his thesis is to build and test prototypes for one or more of his applications.

After earning his doctorate, Aditya hopes to gain experience either through an industrial or post-doctoral appointment that will round out his skills in the area. Eventually he would like to pursue a research centered career that is rooted in applications for the space sector.