Engineering

Q. Jane Gu Named Co-PI on NASA/JPL Project

UC Davis Prof. Q. Jane Gu

UC Davis Prof. Q. Jane Gu (left) in her lab, with graduate researcher.

Q. Jane Gu, an assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named co-PI on a project to be led by Brian Drouin, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The three-year project, titled “Spectrometer on a Chip,” will be funded by a $941,000 grant from NASA. Erich Schlect and Adrian Tang, both of JPL, also are co-investigators.

The various scientific goals outlined by the National Academy of Sciences’ “Planetary Decadal Survey” — exploratory expectations for the decade 2013-2022 — include the enhanced detection of small molecular tracers and their interactions with millimeter and sub-millimeter radiation. Until now, such research has been limited by the large equipment traditionally required for the generation and detection of this radiation. To address this challenge, Gu’s lab and the JPL scientists have proposed a “spectrometer on a chip” by leveraging recent advancements in complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technologies.

The goal is to enable an entirely new class of high-resolution spectroscopy without massive increases in the required spacecraft resources. Gu’s research group will lead the development of CMOS millimeter wave transmitters and receivers, building on her lab’s extensive experience with RF/mm-wave/THz integrated circuits. The group hopes to develop a highly compact, highly sensitive in-situ molecule detection system to meet the Decadal Survey objectives.

Gu earned her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 1997, at China’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology; she followed this with a master’s degree in the same field, also at Huazhong University, in 2000. She came to the United States and in 2002 obtained a second master’s degree, in electrical and computer engineering, from the University of Iowa. She completed her doctorate, again in electrical engineering, at UCLA in 2007. She began her faculty career in 2010 at the University of Florida, and then joined the UC Davis College of Engineering in 2012.

Her research interests include RF/MMIC/THz and mixed-signal integrated circuits and systems; imaging, radar and communication circuits and systems; and bio-sensing and bio-imaging circuits and systems. In December 2013, the National Science Foundation’s Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems awarded a five-year grant of $400,000 for her project titled “Terahertz Interconnect, the Last Centimeter Data Link.