As we hurtle into a future dominated by the Internet of Things, in which countless devices streamline our lives while producing a prodigious amount of data every second, one thing is clear: our growing number of machines, gadgets, and appliances will need to become far more energy-efficient not just to perform their functions, but also to manipulate that deluge of data. In addition, our power grids will need to become smarter to respond to the variable needs of the expanding population even as the world works to reduce its reliance on greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels. Whereas speed — faster computers, high-speed data to your phone — continues to drive innovation, higher energy efficiency or reduced waste is now equally, if not more, important.
Fortunately, the world’s increasing energy needs have been anticipated by forward-looking thinkers, among them Umesh Mishra, UC Santa Barbara professor of electrical and computer engineering. Regarded by his peers in academia and in industry as a world expert in wide-bandgap materials, particularly gallium nitride (GaN), Mishra took what was a promising yet notoriously difficult material to work with and turned it into a cornerstone of energy-efficient power electronics, from efficient microwave power transmitters to energy conversion. He'll speak about progress and energy efficiency as UCSB’s 2018 Faculty Research Lecturer at a time and place to be announced.