People

Principal Investigator

Robert Pilawa-Podgurski, Assistant Professor

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
PhD 2012, Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.Eng 2007, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
B.S 2005, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
B.S 2005, Physics, MIT

Google Scholar Profile

CV

ECE Faculty Profile

Phone: (217) 244-0181, E-mail: pilawa@illinois.edu
Address: 4042 Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, 306 North Wright Street, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA

Robert Pilawa-Podgurski is currently an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and is affiliated with the Power and Energy Systems group. He performs research in the area of power electronics. His research interests include renewable energy applications, electric vehicles, energy harvesting, CMOS power management, high density and high efficiency power converters, and advanced control of power converters. Dr. Pilawa-Podgurski received the Chorafas Award for outstanding MIT EECS Master’s thesis, the Google Faculty Research Award in 2013, and the 2014 Richard M. Bass Outstanding Young Power Electronics Engineer Award of the IEEE Power Electronics Society, given annually to one individual for outstanding contributions to the field of power electronics before the age of 35. In 2015, he received the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, the UIUC Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2016, the UIUC Campus Distinguished Promotion Award in 2017, and the UIUC ECE Ronald W. Pratt Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award in 2017. Since 2014, he serves as Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, and for IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics. He is co-author of eight IEEE prize papers.


Post-doc Researchers

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Tomas Modeer, PhD

Dr. Modeer received MSc and PhD degrees in electrical machines and power electronics from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden in 2005 and 2015 respectively. In addition to extensive industry consulting experience in areas of inverters and motor drives, Dr. Modeer has served as an airplane mechanic in the Swedish Air Force. His current research is on high power density inverters for next generation electric aircrafts.

 

 

 

 


 

Graduate Students

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Pourya Assem

Pourya received his BS degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2012 , and is currently pursuing his MS degree. His research focus is on hybrid switched-capacitor power converters in advanced CMOS processes, and digital control techniques for power conversion.


 

 

 

 

Nathan Brooks

Nathan received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana in 2016. He is currently pursuing his MS degree in Electrical Engineering. His research focus is twice-line frequency buffering and active power factor correction in ac-dc and dc-ac converters.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christopher Barth

Chris received his BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2012 and 2014, respectively. For his BS and MS work, he performed research in solar photovoltaics and advanced digital control techniques for maximum power point tracking. He is currently pursuing his PhD degree, with a focus on high power density inverter, motor drives, and thermal management of power electronic systems.


 

 

 

 

 

Enver Candan

Enver received dual BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Control Engineering from Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey in 2012. He received is MS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign as a Fulbright Scholar in 2014. He is currently pursuing his PhD degree, and is performing research in high efficiency data center power delivery, and advanced digital control techniques of power converters.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Derek Chou

Derek received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, with a minor in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley in 2015. He is currently pursuing his MS degree in Electrical Engineering, with a focus on thermal management of 3D integrated power electronics.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Foulkes

Thomas received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana in 2015. He is currently pursuing his MS degree in Electrical Engineering. His research focus is advanced cooling techniques for high density power inverters for electric vehicle applications.


 

 

 

 

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Yutian Lei

Yutian received his BS and MEng degrees (with honors) in Engineering from University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK in 2012. He is currently pursuing his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering. His research focus is on analysis and modelling of hybrid switched-capacitor converters and multi-level converters.


 

 

 

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Zitao Liao

Zitao received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2015. He is currently pursuing his MS degree in Electrical Engineering, with a focus on highly efficient multi-level dc-dc step-up power converters using GaN transistors.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Wen-Chuen Joseph Liu

Joseph received his BS and MSc degrees in Electrical Engineering from National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Tainan, Taiwan, in 2010 and 2013 respectively. He is currently pursuing his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering. His research area is in integrated CMOS power management and capacitor based power converters.


 

 

 

 

Pei Han Ng

Pei received her BS degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2016. She is currently pursuing her MS degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus on power management IC.


 

 

 

 

 

Nathan Pallo


After completing his BSEE from MIT in 2011, Nathan remained in the Boston area to work in the innovation economy. After 5 years in industry – with work ranging from designing advanced wireless power systems for medical, automotive and consumer applications at WiTricity Corporation, to research and development on measurement and control systems in harsh environments at Loci Controls – Nathan joined Pilawa Group at ECE Illinois in 2016 for graduate studies. Current research includes extreme performance power converters, as well as their real-time emulation.

 

 

 

 

 

Shibin Qin

Shibin received his BS degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China in 2012. He received is MS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2014, having performed research in extreme efficiency power conversion for solar photovoltaic systems. He is currently pursuing his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering, with a focus on partial power processing converters, active filter compensation, and high power density ac-dc and dc-ac converters.


 

 

 

 

Andrew Stillwell

Andrew received dual BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering  from University of Missouri, Columbia, MO in 2005. He spent six years at National Instruments before arriving at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign to pursue his MS degree in Electrical Engineering, which he received in 2015 after performing research in resonant switched-capacitor based power conversion for CPU power delivery. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Electrical Engineering, with a focus on isolated multi-level converters and hybrid switched-capacitor converters for high voltage generation.


 

 

 

 

 

Zichao Ye

Zichao received his BS degree and MS degree in Electrical Engineering, all from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, in 2014 and 2016 respectively. He is currently pursuing his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering. His research interest is on flying capacitor multi-level power converters with extreme power densities, with a focus on integrated gate drivers and single-stage buck PFC.


 

 

 

 

 

 

zhang-300x304Yizhe Zhang

Yizhe received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China in 2015. He is currently pursuing his MS degree in Electrical Engineering, with a focus on differential power processing systems for high efficiency data center power delivery.


 

 

 

 

 

 


 Undergraduate Students and Laboratory Assistants

Oscar Azofeifa Castillo

Oscar received his BS in Mechatronics Engineering at Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (Costa Rican Institute of Technology) in 2015. He is currently enrolled in the NPRE department’s Master of Engineering in Energy Systems: Primary Field in Electrical Energy Conversion, Transmission and Distribution. Special interest in Renewables Integration into the Electrical Grid. Oscar is helping with evaluation of magnetic components as a volunteer laboratory assistant.


 

 

Won Ho Chung

Won Ho received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016. He finds the field of power electronics very rewarding and intellectually appealing and plans to pursue graduate study. His research interests include miniaturized power electronics, energy-harvesting, and renewable energy application.  He is currently assisting with thermal evaluation of power converters, GaN integration, and power converter assembly as an laboratory assistant.

Adwaita Dani

Adwaita Dani is a Senior studying Electrical Engineering. He has experience in consumer electronics, construction management and business consulting. He currently works on differential power processing for DC systems.


Jihyun Lee

Jihyun is a freshman studying electrical engineering. She is working on GaN assembly and integration.


 

 

 

 

Anika Manzo

Anika is currently a junior in Electrical Engineering looking to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois in the spring of 2018. She is primarily interested in power electronics and energy systems, and is performing research in the area of embedded sensing and control for distributed grid analytics.


 

 

 

Michelle Rentauskas

Michelle Rentauskas is a freshman currently pursuing a BS in Electrical Engineering. Her research interests include increasing efficiency of photovoltaic power conversion and other forms of renewable energy, differential power processing systems, and thermal management of power converters. Michelle currently plans to attend graduate school and hopes to pursue a career in academia in the future.


 

 

 

Eric Saathoff

Erik is currently pursuing his BS degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign with plans to begin graduate studies in 2018.  His research focus is on implementation of GaN transistors in resonant converters for high power density.


 

 

 

Sunyu Wang

Sunyu Wang is a sophomore in the department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. He is interested in electric vehicles and power electronics. He is currently working on embedded control for power applications.

 


Alumni

Visiting Researchers

Juan Colmenares, PhD exchange 2016 from KTH – Royal Institute of Technology

Master’s Research

Derek Heeger, MS 2016 – now at Sandia National Laboratories

Felix Hsiao, MS 2016

Joshua Garcia-Sheridan, MS studies – now at Virginia Tech PhD program in Engineering Education

Aaron Ho, MS 2015

Ben Macy, MS 2015 – now at Microsoft

Yuqi Li, MS 2015 – now at Texas Instrumets

Roy Bell, MS 2014 – now at University of Minnesota PhD program

Josiah McClurg, MS 2014 – now at University of Iowa PhD program

Marcel Schuck, MS 2013 – now at ETH PhD program

Ryan May, MS 2013 – now at Texas Instruments


Undergraduate Thesis Research

Intae Moon, BS 2016 – now at MIT PhD program

Thomas Navidi, BS 2016 – now at Stanford PhD program

Benedict Foo, BS 2015 – now at Dartmouth College PhD program

Rodrigo Serna, BS 2014 – now at Citibank Investments

Jingyi Ma, BS 2014 – now at University of Southern California MS program

Yujia Zhang, BS 2014 – now at Stanford MS program

Felix Hsiao, BS 2014 – now at UIUC MS program

Ziming Chen, BS 2013

Sutchaya Lertburapa, BS 2013 – now at Foxconn

Sartaj Grewal, BS 2013 – now at UIUC MS program

Christopher Barth, BS 2012 – now at UIUC PhD program


Undergraduate Research

Carl Haken, undergraduate research (2015-2016) – now at SpaceX

Mark Hirsbrunner, undergraduate research (2014-15)

Corinne Cannavale, undergraduate research (2013-15)

Brady Salz, undergraduate research (2014) – now at UIUC MS program

Emma He, undergraduate research (2014)

Chenyang Xu, undergraduate research (2013) – now at UC Berkeley MS program

Andrew Morrison, undergraduate research (2013-2014) – now at ETH MS program

Ruichen Zhao, undergraduate research (2013) – now at UNSW PhD program

Jeff Wheeler (2012-2013) now at Stanford MS program

Charles Wu (2012-2013) – now at MISO Energy