College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ECpE graduate students compete in thesis event

Graduate students from Iowa State University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) department competed in the Graduate College’s Three-Minute Thesis  (3MT) event on Nov. 6, 2017. These students volunteered to share their research in a compelling way in language understandable to those from outside of their disciplines, and they were restricted to three minutes and one static slide. Faculty and students joined the audience to listen to the competitors. Participants were judged by a panel from outside the university, and top performers were awarded prizes. Listed below are the students who participated and a brief overview of their theses and experiences at the event

Graduate students Gorji, Prabhu Gaunkar and Kaudal competed in the Three Minute Thesis Competition last semester.

Rajiv Kaudal: “OLED: Next Frontier for Solid State Lighting”

Faculty advisor: Joseph Shinar and Ruth Shinar

Kaudal highlights the benefits and uses of Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED) lights in his research. Unlike point source light, as in Light-Emitting Diodes (LED), OLED lights are diffuse and soothing. OLEDs also use organic materials for a light source instead of inorganic crystals, as in LED, and produce more white light than LED. This is important for solid-state lighting purposes. The immediate challenge that OLED faces from commercialization is its high manufacturing cost per unit in comparison to LED. His research project focuses on addressing the issue of cost. Kaudal demonstrated from his experiment that with fewer organic layers, the manufacturing cost can be reduced. With plastic OLED, there is a possibility of having a light source that can be rolled like a paper in future.


Neelam Prabhu Gaunkar: “Evaluating and Tuning Non-Uniform Magnetic Fields to Develop Portable Magnetic Resonance Imaging Sensors “

Faculty advisor: David Jiles

Prabhu Gaunkar has received recognition for her research in creating sensor systems in the past from the IBM Fellowship award, which she has won two times.

“It was a fun challenge,” Prabhu Gaunkar said of the event. “We had to explain the big picture idea of our research and highlight its importance for society. It’s a great opportunity for graduate students to rethink about their work and explain it to a general audience.”


Amin Gorji: “Water Quality: Together We Can Do So Much”

Faculty advisor: Nicola Bowler

In his research, Gorji focuses on preventing high levels of nitrates in drinking water. He is designing a sensor to detect nitrate concentration in agricultural water and to provide necessary information for farmers on how much fertilizer they can apply in their fields at a safe level. The sensor will be portable (about a size of a pen), low cost (so the farmers are willing to buy) and fast (so it gives real-time information and avoids samples being sent to lab analysis).

As an ESL speaker, Gorji said the event gave him confidence that he can be well prepared and communicate with his audience in competitions.

“3MT was a very good opportunity for me to both represent and advertise my department and talk about real-life challenges we are attempting to solve in the College of Engineering,” Gorji said.