Monday, September 15, 2008

Make Solar Energy Economical

Electrical engineers at the Jacobs School are working on very high efficiency photovoltaic devices that may lead to more economical solar energy. In November 2007, UC San Diego received $885,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – part of a recent $21 million DOE investment in next generation photovoltaic technology that aims at accelerating the widespread use of advanced solar power.

The UCSD engineers are working on high-efficiency photovoltaics based on semiconductor nanostructures. Electrical engineering professor Edward Yu is the principal investigator on the project. Yu and his team – which includes electrical engineering faculty members and co-PIs Deli Wang and Paul K. Y. Yu – aim to exploit a variety of semiconductor nanostructures, specifically semiconductor quantum wells and nanowires, to achieve high photovoltaic power conversion efficiency. Media contact: Daniel Kane (858) 534-3262

Develop carbon sequestration methods

Biologists at UC San Diego working with colleagues in Europe reported in Nature that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may not lead to greater photosynthetic activity and carbon sequestration by plants as atmospheric ozone pollutants increase.
Media Contact: Kim McDonald, 858-534-7572,

California researchers plan to make alcohol fuel in a novel way that doesn't involve food crops or microbial fermentation. Three University of California campuses (San Diego, Davis, and Berkeley) and West Biofuels LLC, are developing a prototype research reactor that will use steam, sand and catalysts to efficiently convert forest, urban, and agricultural "cellulosic" wastes that would otherwise go to landfills into alcohol that can be used as a gasoline additive.
Media contact: Daniel Kane, 858-534-3262,

Friday, September 12, 2008

Reverse Engineer the Brain

A UC San Diego bioengineer reveals some of the secrets behind understanding the new analytical tools and models of neuronal functions now being developed via a new book called Databasing the Brain: From Data to Knowledge. The book, co-authored by Shankar Subramaniam, chair of the Jacobs School Department of Bioengineering; and neurinformatics expert Stephen H. Koslow, is the first comprehensive book on neuroinformatics, and covers everything from relevant computational science and modeling issues to their diverse applications.
Media Contact: Daniel Kane, 858-534-3262,