There is a wide range of research carried out within the Department. Links to the research groups are given below. Please contact staff involved to learn more about their research.
Research Groups within the ECE Department
The acoustics research group's primary research is in Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS), a technique for high-resolution undersea imaging. They design and build their own sonars for collecting field data; so far they have collected data in Lyttelton, Auckland and Sydney. Their research concentrates on fast-reconstruction, interferometry, positioning, simulation, and autofocus.
Academic staff : Emeritus Professor Peter Gough and Dr Michael Hayes
The communications research group is engaged in an active programme of research primarily in wireless communications. Projects under way include work on advanced coding and modulation, adaptive receivers and equalisers, space-time channel models, space-time and MIMO processing and coding, smart antenna systems, radio frequency filtering structures, cooperative and relay communications and cognitive radio. In addition to the theoretical projects undertaken, the communications research group works closely with the Wireless Research Centre on a number of applied projects.
Academic staff : Dr Philippa Martin, Assoc Prof Peter Smith and Professor Desmond Taylor
Adjunct staff : Professor Jim Cavers and Professor Mansoor Shafi
The computational imaging group conducts research and provides postgraduate training in a variety of practical imaging applications. Much of the research is concerned with image reconstruction or image recovery: computing images of objects, scenes, internal structures, etc., from a variety of data. Although the strength of the group is in the theoretical and computational aspects of imaging, the focus is on practical applications, including the design of instrumentation (particularly acoustic and optical), data collection and computational implementation. The application areas are primarily in acoustic, astronomical, biophysical and biomedical imaging, and remote sensing.
Academic staff : Dr Andrew Bainbridge-Smith, Professor Philip Bones, Emeritus Professor Peter Gough, Dr Michael Hayes, Professor Rick Millane and Dr Steve Weddell
Adjunct staff : Dr Richard Lane
Microwave and RF Research Group
Research in microwaves and RF is focused on active and passive components for wireless communications. Current investigations include: RF and microwave circuit miniaturisation, microwave metamaterials, RF and microwave power amplifiers, and integrated microwave power combining. Microwave laboratory equipment includes a 20 GHz vector network analyser, RF signal generators, microwave power meter, and RF spectrum analyser.
Academic staff : Dr Kim Eccleston
The Nanostructure Engineering Science and Technology (NEST) group performs advanced research in the areas that span across the spectrum of applied engineering and fundamental science of nano-meter scale structures and devices. These include nanolithography, electronic and optical device fabrication, nanobiotechnology, materials growth and characterisations. A summary of the group's equipment and research interests is available for download. The NEST group has recently secured considerable research funding and hosts state of art research facilities; these include electron beam lithography, nanoimprint lithography, optical lithography, laser mask writer, atomic force microscopy, reactive ion etching, and various physical deposition equipments. The group is part of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, a National Centre of Research Excellence. A number of scholarships are regularly available, please contact relevant staff.
Academic staff : Assoc Prof Maan Alkaisi, Dr Martin Allen, Dr Paul Gaynor and Dr Volker Nock
The research of the networking group covers many different aspects of networking. We have projects on resiliency of next generation networks, handover management in Mobile WiMAX, fast mobility mechanisms in cellular IP networks, enhancing TCP performance on both wireline and wireless networks, visualisation and analysis of traffic in cellular networks, intrusion prevention systems based on multicore processors, overlay networks, modelling of peer-to-peer networks, sensor network modelling and analysis, sensor network power-profiling, and time-triggered protocols.
Academic staff : Emeritus Professor Harsha Sirisena
Most power electronics research involves the use of electronic devices in their switch mode. Switching power supplies and amplifiers are far more efficient than their linear counterparts. This becomes very important when the power levels are large (as in renewable power source grid-connection), if the power supply is limited (as in a battery powered device), or both (as in an electric car).
Academic staff : Dr Paul Gaynor, Professor Neville Watson, Dr Alan Wood and Dr Keliang Zhou
Electric Power Engineering Group
The power systems group is involved in research into renewable energy, energy efficiency & technology, power quality, transformers, power system dynamics, generation & distribution networks, power electronic control, high voltage engineering and energy markets. They are associated with the Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre), which is New Zealand 's Centre of Excellence for electric power engineering. Industry funded scholarships are available through the EPECentre.
Renewable Energies: Design and evaluation of solar, wind and micro-hydro systems
Transformers: Design and analysis of superconducting and resonant partial core transformers High Voltage: Investigation of insulator flashovers due to volcanic ash contamination
Neural Engineering Research Group
The Neural Engineering Research Group provides the primary engineering thrust in the Christchurch Neurotechnology Research Programme (NeuroTech) - a collaboration between Canterbury District Health Board (Medical Physics and Bioengineering), University of Canterbury (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Psychology, Communication Disorders), University of Otago (Medicine), and the New Zealand Brain Research Institute (in which NeuroTech is based). Its primary focus is on:
Lapses of responsiveness
Brief complete lapses of responsiveness (~0.5–15s) include microsleeps, sustained-attention lapses, and diverted-attention lapses. All of these can be very serious, not only disrupting performance but leading to accidents and, in some cases, multiple fatalities, particularly in transport and military sectors. We are a world leader in lapse research, particularly in terms of behavioural and EEG-based detection and characterization of microsleeps and investigation of the underlying mechanisms of microsleeps in the brain via simultaneous-fMRI+EEG. A major aim is the development of head-mounted multi-modality (EEG, eye-video, head position) devices able to detect – and potentially predict – lapses and provide early ‘wake-up’ warnings, for implementation in real-world environments.
Swallowing dysfunction (dysphagia) is often a serious sequela of several neurological disorders (e.g., stroke, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury). UC’s Department of Communication Disorders Swallowing Rehabilitation Research Laboratory is based in the NZBRI and has a close collaboration with NeuroTech and ECE on several key projects. These are focused on biofeedback of muscle activity and of bioelectric impedance across the throat for rehabilitation of dysphagia, particularly as an alternative to invasive and uncomfortable manometry (pressure catheter through nose).
- Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre)
- The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology