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Electrical & Computer Engineering Research

Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) leverages fundamental principles to advance technologies ranging from semiconductor devices to advanced communication networks, from self-powered sensors to electric cars, from wearable devices to cognitive medical imaging, and from autonomous vehicles to smart cities. 

Electrical icon

Numerous subfields are found within this broad discipline, all of which are built on the foundations of mathematics and computer science, physical and life sciences, electromagnetics, electronics, and systems. Graduate engineering students are expected to propose a plan of study that supports their interests, potentially including distinctive intellectual paths unconstrained by disciplinary boundaries and enriched by interdisciplinary synergies.

ECE research addresses key challenges in the following sub-areas supported by leading faculty in their fields.

Computing Systems & Controls

Systems and controls engineering utilizes mathematical and computational techniques for modeling, estimation, and process management. Applications of these techniques advance our understanding of complex systems, including human cognition and learning, toward the greater goal of service to society.

Silver micronanoparticles

Research Subfields

Artificial intelligence

Cloud computing and embedded systems

Computational social systems

High-throughput computing

Machine learning

Signal Processing

Soft computing


Electronic Materials & Devices

Materials and devices with unique electrical properties and functionality are advancing innovation in the areas of sensing, photonics, and biomedicine.

Cardiac energy harvesting device

Research Subfields

Analog integrated circuits

Biological circuit design

Computational materials design

Electronic assembly

High-performance printed and flexible devices

Micromechanical and electromechanical systems (MEMS)

Optoelectronic materials and devices


Photonics & Optics

Harnessing the fundamental properties of light across the entire electromagnetic spectrum continues to uncover new applications for medicine, sensing methodologies, and security systems.

Electron Beam Lithography

Research Subfields

Advanced imaging systems

Integrated nanophotonics

Molecular imaging

Near field optics

Solid-state image sensors


Power Electronics

The capability of power electronics to control and convert electrical energy is essential to the use of many modern high-efficiency components such as LED lighting and brushless motors as well as interfacing renewable energy sources to the power grid.

Microfabricated inductors

Research Subfields

Integrated circuit design for power electronics

Resonant switched capacitor (ReSC) and other advanced power converter topologies

Applications in battery management, photovoltaics, and digital systems

Magnetics and passive component modeling, design and optimization

Wireless power transfer

Microfabrication of power magnetics for integrated power conversion


Space Science and Engineering

To investigate the influence of the Sun on the near-Earth space environment and the flow of energy through the geospace system, researchers use ground-based radar measurements of the motion of plasma in the ionosphere made by the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN). Dartmouth engineers are responsible for two radars in the network, located in central Oregon, and are constructing two additional radars in Iceland.

Northern Lights

Research Subfields

Ionospheric remote sensing

Global-scale magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling

Convection climatology

Radiowave propagation

Data assimilation and synthesis