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    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  Oct 21, 2017
Rensselaer Catalog 2008-2009 [Archived Catalog]

Research Resources and Centers

Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.

Research plays an integral role in Rensselaer’s vision of the technological university. The discovery and application of new scientific concepts and technologies, especially in emerging interdisciplinary fields, are core goals for faculty, staff, and students. Our research programs reach across the campus, linking together departments, schools, and interdisciplinary centers, and creating opportunities for integration of research and education. Undergraduates work one-on-one with faculty members in real-world, hands-on research as part of Rensselaer’s Undergraduate Research Program (URP). In addition, research drives technological entrepreneurship and commercialization, interfacing closely with the Rensselaer Technology Park and Incubator Center.

The Office of the Vice President for Research provides infrastructure and resource support for the development of research programs and projects. Support services are offered for faculty seeking research opportunities, research proposal and budget preparation, and guidance on research management and intellectual property policies. The Office coordinates major research themes and programs through interdisciplinary research centers. Links from this Web site offer overviews of these centers, reviews of major research projects and recent accomplishments, as well as information on research policies, guidelines, and infrastructure.

Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS)


Director: John T. Wen, Professor of ECSE and MANE

CAT Home Page:

The Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute serves as a focal point for a broad range of industrially relevant research and development in both practical and theoretical aspects of automation. More than 40 faculty members in 13 departments at Rensselaer participate in the research and educational programs of the Center. With annual funding from the State of New York as a NYSTAR-designated Center for Advanced Technology, the CATS pursues a mission of both research excellence and service to industry, with a focus on applying the core technologies to a broad range of applications. The CATS works with industrial partners to pursue an integrated systems approach, advancing model-based methods and applying them to design, optimization, control, and monitoring for challenging and high impact real-world problems. Current focus areas include optomechatronic systems, fuel cell manufacturing, distributed systems, biomedical systems, micro- and nanosystems, and industrial automation.

Affiliated faculty: A. Abouzeid, K. Anderson, M. Amitay, M. Arcak, B.W. Bequette, T. Borca-Tasciuc, S. Bringsjord, J. Brunski, J. Chow, S. De, S. Derby, A. Desrochers, M. Hardwick, M. Hella, V. Isler, M. Jensen, Q. Ji, S. Kalyanaraman, J. Kanai, E. Ledet, C. J. Li, J. Lu, C. Malmborg, A. Maniatty, G. Nagy, L. Parsa, Y. Peles, R. Radke, K. Salama, S. Salon, A. Sanderson, L. Schadler, M. Shepherd, M. Steiner, J. Sun, J. Trinkle, D. Walczyk, J. Wen, M. Wozny, G. Xu, B. Yazici, T. Zhang

Staff: B. Gressick, H. Merrill, R. Puffer, S. Rock, G. Saunders, M. Shimazu, J. Young

Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies


Acting Director: Robert J. Linhardt

Associate Director: Glenn M. Monastersky

Web site:

The Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies is a 218,000-square-foot, $100 million facility on the Rensselaer campus. With its high-tech laboratories, it provides a platform for collaboration among many diverse academic and research disciplines to enhance discovery and encourage innovation. Research and office space is available for approximately 400 faculty, staff, and students, and the Bruggeman Conference Center and auditorium host world-class programs and symposia.

The Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies faculty and researchers are engaged in interdisciplinary research, focused on the application of engineering and the physical and information sciences to the life sciences.

The Center is home to a new $22.5 million Gen*NY*sis Center for Bioengineering and Medicine funded by New York State. New York State has also provided $750,000 to support the development of the Biocomputation and Bioinformatics Constellation. In addition, Rensselaer has received $750,000 in federal funding to support the creation of a new Center for Quantitative and Computational Bioscience to be housed in this facility.

Rensselaer has identified four focal areas that build on existing Rensselaer research strengths: biocatalysis and metabolic engineering; functional tissue engineering and regenerative medicine; integrated systems biology; and computational biology and bioinformatics. Rensselaer is actively recruiting world-class faculty to lead research in these areas. Each focal area will be supported by a constellation of “star” faculty, junior faculty, and others who are experts in their fields. These constellation groupings provide for communities of distinguished researchers and the programmatic resources to ensure their success.

Research takes place in a next-generation infrastructure with the advanced tools to study bioprocesses on every level, from atomic to systems. The core research facilities within the Center contain laboratories for molecular biology, analytical biochemistry, microbiology, microscopy, imaging, histology, tissue and cell culture, proteomics, and scientific computing and visualization. The Center contains 600 and 800 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometers and the computing and visualization infrastructure needed to model molecular structure at the atomic level.

  • Biotechnology is an inherently multidisciplinary pursuit. Students interested in studying biotechnology at Rensselaer may apply for degrees through several existing departments and programs and create a truly interdisciplinary program with consultation and approval from faculty advisers who represent twelve different university departments.

Center for Future Energy Systems


Home Page:

Director: Nag Patibandla

Associate Director: Rick Robertson

The Center for Future Energy Systems (CFES) is one of 15 New York State centers for Advanced Technology (CATs) funded by the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR). In partnership with Cornell University, CFES focuses on energy and environmental research with a focus on solid state lighting, organic light emitting diode (LED) displays, fuel cells, high-temperature superconductivity, renewable energy (solar cells, wind power, biomass and biofuels), distributed generation, and electricity distribution grid etc. CFES faculty and research staff strives to connect energy research, knowledge, and technology in academia to the needs of industry through technology transfer and/or collaborations with an emphasis on:

  1. performing cutting edge research on fuel cell membranes and electrode materials, nano-phase/particulate materials, hydrogen storage options, thermal photovoltaic coatings, processing of higher band gap materials and 2G high temperature superconducting materials, fabrication of solid state lighting (LED) devices;
  2. developing emerging energy technologies such as processing of biodiesel, modeling and simulation of distribution grid, evaluation and testing of fuel cell and other distributed energy packaged CHP systems, energy-efficiency options, and renewable-fuel based electricity generation;
  3. demonstrating advanced energy systems such as renewable (wind, photovoltaic, biomass), distributed energy (fuel cells, packaged building CHP systems, etc.) options in highly replicable applications; and
  4. integrating research programs and initiatives with other engineering and science programs to develop collaborative RD&D projects.

CFES thrives to transform scientific knowledge into economically competitive, pragmatic applications of emerging energy technologies. CFES believes that the use of energy-efficient and renewable technologies will enhance the states’ and the nation’s energy security by reducing vulnerability to energy price volatility and supply interruption, improve environmental quality, and foster economic growth. Within the last year, CFES has broadened its research focus to study, “The Future Electricity Distribution Grid of New York State” by establishing a DG-Test Bed to understand the operational characteristics of the distribution grid under a high degree of DG penetration.

Affiliated Faculty: M. Amitay, B. W. Bequette, I. Bhat, P. Chow, P. Dutra, A. Dyson, G. Eisman, M. Jensen, R. Leslie, D. Lewis, S. Lin, T. Lu, L. Martin, N. Narendran, G. Ramanath, E. F. Schubert, M. Shur, J. Sun, C. Wetzel

Staff: A. M. Strack, G. Pethuraja, L. Valenti

Center for Integrated Electronics


Acting Director: Michael S. Shur

Associate Director: Toh-Ming Lu

Associate Director: Morris Washington

CIE Home Page:

The Center for Integrated Electronics (CIE) was created to carry out fundamental research that is industry-oriented in electronics design and manufacturing including Semiconductor interconnect technology. The center’s mission is to build integrated top-down and bottom-up nanostructures, devices, and systems for information, biological, and broadband communication applications. Major activities at the CIE include pioneering research into gigascale interconnects, 3-D hyper-integration, materials properties and process modeling, wideband gap semiconductors and devices, terahertz devices and imaging systems, power electronic devices and systems, and biochips.

The Center’s activities range from basic and applied research and education to commercialization through partnerships with industry. A complement of about 50 faculty, 100 students, and 15 full-time research post doctoral fellows and staff conduct research activities incorporating projects for specific companies, as well as longer-range programmatic efforts in fundamental areas of materials processes, design, fabrication, and characterization related to integrated electronics, electronics manufacturing, nano device and structures and microelectromechanical systems(MEM).

State-of-the-art facilities enhance research opportunities and include a Class 100 nanofabrication clean room with processing capabilities both for compound semiconductor base devices/circuits, and microsystems, extensive computer resources from such companies as Apple, AT&T, DIGITAL, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Sun, and numerous state-of-the-art processing design, testing, and characterization facilities in individual laboratories. Located on the Rensselaer campus, the CIE has immediate access to expertise in a broad range of disciplines. Participants include nationally recognized faculty from Rensselaer’s Schools of Engineering, Management, Science, and Humanities and Social Sciences. In addition, over 100 undergraduate and graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and visiting scholars are supported annually through the CIE’s programs.

Major Programs

Center for Advanced Interconnect Systems Technologies The research plan in CIE’s Center for Advanced Interconnect Systems Technologies (CAIST) focuses on finding innovative, creative, and competitive ways to maximize interconnection performance. The CAIST program at Rensselaer is sponsored jointly by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and New York State, administered by the State University of New York at Albany. The technical direction of the program is shared between the Institute and SUNY-Albany. The research involves the development of new materials, processes, simulation, modeling, and fabrication techniques for high-performance and reliable interconnections. The goal of CAIST is to investigate, test, and prototype new concepts, from the device-to-system approach, that provide attractive options for significantly upgrading the performance of interconnections into the 21st century.

Center for Power Electronics Systems The Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES), sponsored by the National Science Foundation and established in 1998, is a national Engineering Research Center (ERC), which envisions enhancing the competitiveness and growth of the power electronics industry by developing an integrated system approach with Integrated Power Electronics Modules (IPEMs). The goal of CPES is to improve the quality, reliability, and cost effectiveness of power electronics systems by tenfold at the end of the expected 10-year life span. Virginia Institute of Technology administers this Center, and the five-university consortium consists of Rensselaer, Virginia Tech, University of Wisconsin-Madison, North Carolina A & T, and University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

Focus Center-New York, Rensselaer: Interconnects for Hyperintegration This program investigates radical alternatives and new concepts leading to new solutions that will enable the U.S. semiconductor industry to transcend known limits on interconnections that would otherwise decelerate or halt the historical rate of progress toward gigascale integration (GSI). This program is part of the nationally distributed Interconnect Focus Center (IFC) administered from Georgia Institute of Technology. The university consortium includes Rensselaer, SUNY-Albany, Georgia Tech, MIT, and Stanford. Rensselaer’s efforts focus on nanowire and molecular technologies, multiple layers of active devices (“3-D Chips”), optical interconnects, and fundamental materials and process characterization and modeling.

Center for Broadband Data Transport and Technology IBM Corporation endows this interdisciplinary Rensselaer center, which involves faculty from the Schools of Engineering and Science, SUNY Albany, Cornell University, City College of New York, and affiliated IBM researchers. The center’s primary mission is to conduct research in optical and electrical data transport, switching, and processing to enable future generations of information technology systems. The center is also involved in educating a new generation of students and postdocs for broadband data transport science and technology. The center operates the Internet Accessible Remote Laboratory (visit

Connection One This is a Rensselaer NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center involved in basic and applied interdisciplinary research in secure optical and electrical data transport switching, processing, materials, devices, systems, and information technology, enabling the massive scaling required by these systems. The research at RPI also addresses terahertz device design and characterization for VLSI testing and for wireless interconnects. This research is based on using plasma waves in semiconductors to carry information rather than relying on the electron drift, since the velocity of plasma waves is 10 to 20 times higher than the maximum electron drift velocity (visit

Affiliated Faculty: I. Bhat, D. Borca-Tasciuc, T. Borca-Tasciuc, P. Chow, J. Dordick, D. Duquette, P. Dutta, S.K. Eah, G. Eisman, D. Gall, H. Huang, Z. Huang, M. Hella, L. Interrante, Q. Ji, R. Kane, P. Keblinski, N. Koratkar, Y. Le Coz, D. Lewis, K. Lewis, S.Y. Lin, J. Lu, T.M. Lu, J. McDonald, D. Millard, S. Nayak, Y. Peles, P. Persans, J. Plawsky, G. Ramanath, K. Rose (Emeritus), C. Ryu, A. Sanderson, E.F. Schubert, M. Shima, C. Steinbruchel, J. Sun, G.C. Wang, M. Washington, J. Wen, C. Wetzel, I. Wilke, M. Yamaguchi, T. Zhang, S. Zhang, X.C. Zhang

Technical Staff and Support: J. Barthel, B. Colwill, V. Chaisson, M.D. Frey, D. King, R. Kraft, L. Maynard, J. McMahon, S. Nicholas, J. Tedesco, A. Tyson, K. Way

Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI)


Web site:

The Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, the CCNI, is a $100 million joint investment by the State of New York, IBM Corporation, and Rensselaer. Located in the Rensselaer Technology Park, the CCNI is home to several internationally-ranked supercomputer systems focused towards the problems of reducing the time and costs associated with designing and manufacturing nanoscale materials, devices, and systems. The Center will help to continue the impressive advances in shrinking device dimensions seen by electronics manufacturers and to extend this model to a wide array of industries that could benefit from nanotechnology.

The technical program encompasses several key areas of research critical to the success and growth of the nanotechnology, semiconductor, and information technology industries. Example activities include:

  • First-principle investigation of the fundamental processes and device concepts underlying the extension of CMOS technology to its ultimate physical limit.
  • Generation of process/device models and computational systems that will lead to a full virtual fabrication simulation of nanoelectronics devices and other nano-based systems.
  • Computational exploration of new, non-CMOS nanotechnologies which can extend the semiconductor performance/productivity curve beyond the limits of CMOS.
  • Definition of a new engineering design paradigm based on multi-scale modeling and simulation.

The CCNI operates heterogeneous supercomputing systems consisting of massively-parallel Blue Gene supercomputers, Power-based Linux clusters, and AMD Opteron processor-based clusters. This diverse set of systems enables large-scale leading-edge computational research in both the scientific and technical arenas. This hardware and software configuration provide upwards of 100 TeraFLOPS of aggregate computational power with associated high-speed networking and storage.

Affiliated faculty: C. Bystroff, C.D. Carothers, Z. Chen, A. Garcia, S.S. Garde, J.T. Giedt, M.K. Goldberg, H. Huang, K. Jansen, J. E. Kolb, W.W. von Maltzahn, A. Maniatty, S. Nayak, C.R. Picu, M.Z. Podowski, A. Oberai, K. Rose, M.S. Shephard, K.L. Simons, S. Zhang, T. Zhang

Staff: D. LaBrie-Belser

Postdoctoral Associates: M.O. Bloomfield, F.J. Delalondre, X.Luo, O. Sahni

Technical Staff: J. Fisher, A. Todorski

Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center


Director: Richard W. Siegel

Home Page:

The Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center provides a major resource to advance the scientific promise represented by the nanotechnology chair and provides interdisciplinary research programs to educate new generations of students. Research areas of the Center include advanced materials and coatings, biosciences and biotechnology, nanoelectronics, and nanosystems. Nanotechnology uses clusters of molecules and atoms to make nanometer (billionth of a meter) size building blocks for new materials. These blocks have different properties than larger sizes of the same materials, such as electrical conductivity, optical properties, and mechanical strength. These materials can therefore be used for many new applications. The Center focuses on creating novel materials and devices that could create more effective drug delivery systems in the human body, result in stronger and more durable plastics, enable high capacity energy and information storage devices, and produce flame-retardant plastics for planes and automobiles, as well as other important applications.

Affiliated Faculty:Y.A. Akpalu, B.C. Benicewicz, T. Borca-Tasciuc, J.S. Dordick, A.E. Garcia, S.S. Garde, R. Kane, P.J. Keblinski, S.K. Kumar, R. Linhardt, L. Montoya, S.K. Nayak, R. Ozisik, L.S. Peters, G. Ramanath, C.Y. Ryu, L.S. Schadler, E.F. Schubert, M. Shima, R.W. Siegel, J. Stegemann,

Administrative Staff: D. Huising, N.D. Rivera, J. Quinones

Postdoctoral Associates: L. Coulombel, C. Dine

Research Staff: S. Brooks, J. Bult, M. Hu, J.J. Kwon, S. Shenogin, R. Vajtai, H. Yang, G. Zhu

Scientific Computation Research Center


Director: Mark S. Shephard

Associate Director: Kenneth E. Jansen

The Scientific Computation Research Center (SCOREC) is focused on the development of reliable simulation technologies for engineers, scientists, medical professionals, and other practitioners. These advancements enable experts in their fields to employ, appraise, and evaluate the behavior of physical, chemical, and biological systems of interest.

SCOREC research is focused on the development of the technologies necessary to enable simulation-based engineering. Simulation-based engineering will introduce a new paradigm in which all interacting scales important to the behavior of materials, devices, and systems will be accurately modeled and accounted for in the design of optimized products and processes. SCOREC research includes the development of adaptive methods for reliable simulations, methods to do all computation on massively parallel computers, multiscale computational methods and interoperable technologies that will speed simulation system development. As part of this research SCOREC partners with universities, national laboratories and industry groups on the construction of simulation systems for specific applications in multiple areas. SCOREC also actively transitions the simulation technologies developed to industrial practice and commercialization by software companies.

Affiliated Faculty: K. Anderson, C.D. Carothers, S. De, A. Garcia, S. Garde, H. Huang, K. Jansen, D. Kaminski, P. Keblinski, A. Maniatty, D.R. Musser, S. Nayak, A. Oberai, R. Ozisik, C. Picu, L. Schadler, M.S. Shephard, R.L. Spilker, B.K. Szymanski, M. Zeghal

Research Associates: D. Littlewood, X. Luo

Postdoctoral Research Associates: P. Baskar, M. Bloomfield, F. Delalondre, T. Ray, J. Wong, D. Zhang

Technical and Administrative Staff: M. Verville, T. Wickbery