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Home | Tag Archives: Raymond C. Rumpf Ph.D

Tag Archives: Raymond C. Rumpf Ph.D

UTEP Professor awarded $100K grant to develop Fast Electromagnetic Simulation Algorithms

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Engineering has received a $100,000 grant from IERUS Technologies to develop numerical techniques that will be incorporated into a high-performance computing (HPC) platform suitable for simulating and optimizing advanced photonic devices.

Leading the research is Raymond C. Rumpf, Ph.D., the Schellenger Professor in Electrical Research and director of UTEP’s EM Lab, who says the overarching goal of the project is to develop a massively parallelized electromagnetic simulation code that runs very fast.

UTEP’s contribution to the project will be identifying and implementing the fastest and most efficient way of handling curved dielectric boundaries.

The project is supported through a yearlong subaward under IERUS Technologies of Huntsville, Alabama. The research will be performed in the MATLAB computing environment at UTEP.

Rumpf and his team are evaluating six separate approaches for handling curved dielectric boundaries and will compare them in terms of run-time, memory usage and ease of being implemented in a massive parallel computing environment.

“Research findings will give electrical and computer engineering new and powerful capabilities to simulate very large structures that would otherwise be impossible,” Rumpf said. “This will contribute greatly to our mission of pioneering revolutionary concepts in electromagnetics and photonics.”

Rumpf’s EM Lab has an extraordinary record of taking on high-risk research and delivering breakthrough technologies.

UTEP EM Lab’s Work on 3D/Volumetric Circuits recognized on cover of IEEE

For nearly a decade, Raymond C. Rumpf, Ph.D., and his EM Lab team have seen several revolutionary ideas to fruition. Their latest advancement received recent recognition from IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

The IEEE published two papers prepared by Rumpf in the May/June 2019 edition of the publication, IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology.

The complementary reports outline the EM Lab’s advancements in the burgeoning world of hybrid 3D printing and 3D/volumetric circuits.

A rendering of a 3D circuit prepared by Jesus Gutierrez, a graduate research assistant in the EM Lab, graces the cover of the publication to showcase the research.

“I think it definitely shows that we are on the world stage,” Rumpf said. “We have taken very significant steps in this field. Our work represents a huge new direction for circuits in general. 3D is where most everyone wants to go, and we are the first ones to get there.”

Research on 3D/volumetric circuit technology was borne out of the notion that a three-dimensional circuit offers more freedom to make circuits smaller, lighter, more efficient, and even enable functionality that is impossible using today’s flat circuits.

Furthermore, the algorithms and processes developed by the EM Lab allow the circuits to be manufactured into arbitrary shapes that can be integrated into any object or surface.

The concept offers many new opportunities for the manufacturing industry.

Rumpf said the EM Lab has made recent breakthroughs in software design and automation related to hybrid 3D printing, which allows his research team to print complicated parts composed of metal and plastic simultaneously.

The research team continues to refine and improve its capabilities to produce larger and more sophisticated 3D circuits.

Since 2010, Rumpf and his team of researchers have delivered an array of significant accomplishments, including the discovery of new electromagnetic phenomena, development of an ultra-high-power frequency selective surface, and the world’s thinnest dielectric antennas. In addition, the team has recorded the tightest bend of an optical beam ever reported.

However, the EM Lab’s advancements on the first true three-dimensional, volumetric circuit using a fully automated process is a feat that Rumpf said may change the paradigm of how products with electrical functionality are designed and manufactured.

He added that his team of student researchers have been instrumental throughout the process.

One of those students is Cesar Valle, a doctoral student in electrical engineering. He said the work the team has conducted in the EM Lab has provided real-world experience in the development of a technology that holds great promise to revolutionize manufacturing of circuits.

“It was us sitting in a hot room for an entire summer trying to crank out the world’s first 3D circuit,” Valle said. “We thought it wasn’t going to be possible. But now we have refined the process almost to the point of, literally, hitting ‘File/Print’ to build a part.”

Rumpf said the experience for the students is invaluable and reaffirms UTEP’s ability to prepare students for success in a highly competitive industry.

“I had to work my entire life to establish myself as a leader and pioneer in this area,” Rumpf said. “Students of the EM Lab are going to start of their careers at this level. They are decades ahead of me. The skills they have are very much in demand and I cannot wait to see the amazing things they will achieve.”

To view a digital version of the report, click here.

UTEP EM Lab Develops World’s First 3D Volumetric Circuit

Raymond C. Rumpf, Ph.D., and his EM Lab team are motivated by extreme challenges that others may consider to be impossible.

The Schellenger Professor in Electrical Research in The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Engineering leads the EM Lab, a space dedicated to pioneering high-risk, high-payoff concepts in electromagnetics and photonic technologies that are enabled by 3D printing.

“We keep a sign above our trash can that says, ‘Incremental thoughts’ on it with an arrow pointing down,” Rumpf said in jest. “If we think it can be done, we are probably not interested.”

But there’s nothing funny about the discoveries that have been made within the lab’s confines. Since 2010, Rumpf and his team of researchers have seen several revolutionary projects to fruition, including development of an ultra-high power frequency selective surface and one of the world’s thinnest dielectric antennas. In addition, the team has recorded what is likely the tightest bend of an optical beam. However, the EM Lab’s latest breakthrough is its most ambitious and far-reaching yet. Earlier this year, researchers completed the first true three-dimensional, volumetric circuit using a fully automated process. It is a feat that Rumpf said may change the paradigm of how products with electrical functionality are designed and manufactured.

“This is a very significant step and potentially disruptive achievement,” Rumpf said. “There are many other large research groups that have been chasing this. It’s what everybody in this field is working toward and talking about, yet nobody has yet achieved it. It’s sort of the holy grail for 3D printed circuits, and it was accomplished here at UTEP.”

Research on the 3D/volumetric circuit technology was borne out of the notion that a three-dimensional circuit offers more freedom to make circuits smaller, lighter and more efficient. 3D printing allows them to be manufactured into arbitrary form factors that can be integrated into any object or surface. The concept offers many opportunities for the manufacturing industry. Rumpf said this recent breakthrough came as a result of years of research and assembling all of the tools and processes it would take to accomplish.

“The last three years were spent developing futuristic CAD (computer-aided design) tools, to produce 3D/volumetric circuits. These tools do not exist anywhere else,” Rumpf said.

Accomplishing these achievements took the work of a team of EM Lab researchers — Gilbert Carranza, Ubaldo Robles, Cesar Valle and Rumpf himself.

Carranza, a doctoral student, began his research in the EM Lab as an undergraduate senior two years ago. When Rumpf presented the challenge of finding a way to design circuits in three dimensions, Carranza jumped at the opportunity. He used an open-sourced CAD software to integrate his custom functions that allowed the EM Lab to design true 3D circuits.

“I built a custom tool that allows us to place electric components in any position and in any orientation,” Carranza said. “We can route the electrical interconnects throughout all three dimensions following smooth paths.”

Carranza worked for a year on the software to produce the first version.

“We couldn’t go anywhere beyond that,” Carranza said. “We didn’t have the necessary tool to actually translate my design into something that could be read by our 3D printer.”

This animation offers a 360-degree view of the exterior and interior of the three-dimensional, volumetric circuit produced by UTEP’s Electromagnetics (EM) Lab. Video: Courtesy of EM Lab

Enter Robles and Valle. The pair are also doctoral students and EM Lab researchers who spend many hours in the 3D printing room. Much of the last year was spent trying to bridge the gap between Carranza’s software and the printing process. At the beginning of summer, Robles successfully completed an interface that could convert the circuit design into code that the printer can read to build the circuit in one seamless step. From there, Valle and Carranza fine-tuned the process and produced the world’s first 3D/volumetric circuit using their automated process.

“Getting the CAD, code generator, and 3D printer to play along well together proved the most difficult step,” Valle said. “Typically, when you make a circuit, it’s two steps. You start with a thin sheet of plastic. On top of that, you form metal traces, then put electrical components onto that. What our tool does that is unique is it combines these processes, and it does it in three dimensions with complete design freedom. We are now able to load 3D files, hit ‘run’ and out comes the part. Literally ‘File,’ ‘Print.’”

Rumpf said there is a huge array of applications for this technology, which was developed using funding from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. With the ability to build circuits into any shape or surface, electronics can be built into anything with virtually no added size or weight.

“We can make circuits in any form or fashion,” Rumpf said. “You could put circuits in munitions, in eyeglasses, in shoes, and even in coffee mugs. You can be at a restaurant drinking coffee and, when the liquid gets down to a certain level the server gets notified before you have to say anything. It’s about making electronics ubiquitous in many different things.”

He added that another aspect of this innovation will be the ability for small businesses that can buy a 3D printer to become electronics manufacturers with the ability to produce products where each is customized.

“In the future, I don’t think you will see places, such as major electronics manufacturing companies, churning out billions of things and dominating the market nearly as often,” Rumpf said. “Instead, you may have thousands of small businesses in the U.S. churning out thousands of products, both mass-produced and customized. Our 3D circuit technology may be the first step to change the paradigm of circuit manufacturing. And it may enable us to exploit and incorporate new physics in traditional planar (2D) circuitry.

For the EM Lab graduate researchers, the effort provided real-world experience in the development of a technology that holds great promise to revolutionize manufacturing of circuits. It is something they credit with spurring them to continue their academic careers past their undergraduate journeys. Their breakthrough also offers the opportunity that a business could be incubated in El Paso to commercialize the EM Lab’s multiple achievements, something that would keep them closer to home.

“I want to stay here in El Paso,” Carranza said. “My whole life is here. I didn’t think UTEP had anything like this. I expected to graduate then go somewhere else. I never thought I was going to be doing research that could literally change the world until I stumbled upon the EM Lab.”

Valle echoed those views.

“Four years ago, if you asked me if I wanted to get a Ph.D., I would have said, ‘no,’” Valle said. “Now, I’m close to getting it. I never considered that UTEP had such incredible opportunities for research like what is happening in the EM Lab.”

Rumpf said there is something about his student researchers that elevates the level of work that can be conducted at the EM Lab.

“What we do is extremely difficult and high-risk,” Rumpf said. “EM Lab students spend years just developing the tools they need to do their research. They know when they start their research, they’re probably going to fail many times, because we are pushing ourselves that far. The type of person willing to take on this daunting level of risk and challenge is what UTEP and El Paso have to offer. It’s a personal philosophy, and I don’t think we could have accomplished this any other place but here.”

Author:  Pablo Villa – UTEP Communications

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