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Electrical and Computer Engineering

Aydin Babakhani wins innovation award (February 2014)

Aydin Babakhani, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the Rice Integrated Systems and Circuits Laboratory at Rice University, has won the Northrop Grumman Innovation Award for his research into miniaturized THz radars using silicon technology. He was the only recipient of Northrop Grumman’s challenge on Future Radar Waveforms.

“They want to push the boundaries of advanced radar systems. We’re talking about radar on a tiny silicon chip, less than a millimeter square, operating at THz frequencies,” said Babakhani, who is receiving the one-year, $100,000 award from Northrop Grumman, the American global aerospace and defense technology company.

Babakhani received his master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Caltech in 2005 and 2008, respectively. In 2010-2011, he worked as a research scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, and joined the Rice faculty in 2011. In 2012, Dr. Babakhani received a Young Faculty Award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development agency for the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Among the other applications for the sensor technology Babakhani is investigating, which incorporates 3D imaging, are security, consumer electronics (gesture-capturing devices like Microsoft’s Xbox, for instance), oil and gas exploration, and medical imaging (including hand-held devices).

--Patrick Kurp, Engineering Communications