I am drawn to research in order to help others. This influences the topics and my interaction with students. Electrical and Computer Engineering research appeals to me because it is at the heart and soul of “smart technology”, which is the biggest differentiator of—and empowers most of—21st century engineering, whether that’s in health care, human-to-human communication, defense and security, living sustainably, or tools for superior teaching and learning success for all. I also simply love learning and discovering new ideas or possibilities that no one ever thought of before. Research is (and should be) fun! I believe that the most important outcomes of my research investigations are the relationships I build and the opportunities and experiences I make available to the students I work with and mentor. Sure, the discoveries and sharing the research results (publications and seminars) are important, but to me they are not as important as the opportunity to add value to the lives of the students and colleagues I work with, influence, and become influenced by while conducting the research. It should therefore be no surprise that almost all of my research involves co-advising students and collaborating with other faculty who provide expertise that complements my own.
Most of the research projects I select leverage my experience in the science and engineering of electromagnetic fields and waves. Many of these projects end up related to some aspect of applications or new sources of time-varying (radio to microwave to x-ray) electromagnetic fields, including electromagnetic waves (radio frequency to microwaves to near-infrared to xrays) and pulsed electric or magnetic fields.
Human society depends on—and will benefit from further improvements of—infrastructure and capabilities for communications, radar, remote sensing, remote detection of approaching threats, and heating with electromagnetic radiation. Many of the needed improvements require the development of tunable, wideband, high-power sources of coherent electromagnetic radiation in the gigahertz to terahertz frequency domains. I conduct electromagnetic and materials science related research that can enable these new sources. Meanwhile, a significant number of my other research projects emphasize biological or biomedical applications, e.g., bioelectromagnetics, including research into how microwaves and pulsed electric fields interact with biological tissues. These projects are typically inspired by applications in diagnosis or treatment of human disease, improved agricultural practices, and other important 21st century societal challenges.