School of engineering and applied science

Clean water from sunlight

Working with researchers from Rice University, the lab of Menachem Elimelech, Roberto C. Goizueta Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, has developed a system that uses solar energy and nanoparticles to make saltwater drinkable. The system could potentially be used off-grid in remote areas or in domestic settings. It incorporates a porous membrane with carbon black nanoparticles. These particles use sunlight energy to heat water on one side of the membrane, which filters out salt and other contaminants while allowing water vapor to pass through it. The researchers worked on the project as part of the Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT), a multi-institutional engineering research center.

A more secure smart phone

Jakub Szefer, assistant professor of electrical engineering, has received a 2017 Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation for a project that aims to add an extra layer of security for computing devices. It’s based on the idea that, at the physical level, a device’s hardware is unique—even among identical models from the same manufacturer. Szefer is focusing on small variations in dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), a data-storage system found in nearly every device. These variations create a “fingerprint” for the device, which is a critical part of Szefer’s security system. 


Jay Humphrey, the John C. Malone Professor of Biomedical Engineering and chair of the department, received an honorary doctorate from Institut Mines Telecom (IMT), an engineering and digital technology institution in France, at a June 29 ceremony at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Etienne, a graduate engineering school affiliated with IMT. He was awarded the degree in recognition of both his scholarly achievements (including books and research articles that pave new directions in education and
research) and his commitment to promoting international cooperation within the field of biomechanics. 

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