University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


IEEE Honors Chen for Electromagnetic Work


Toby Weber

Ji Chen, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering with the UH Cullen College of Engineering, has been honored with a 2011 Technical Achievement Award from the Electromagnetic Compatibility Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The Technical Achievement Award is given in recognition of “significant technical accomplishments in the field of electromagnetic compatibility.” In announcing the honor, the EMC Society cited Chen’s contributions to computational electromagnetics and biomedical applications of electromagnetics.

On the computational side, one of Chen’s most notable achievements involves the design of shielding materials for electronic devices. In the United States, all electronic devices must be designed in order to minimize the electromagnetic interference they can cause in other pieces of electronics. Chen developed an algorithm that shows how to reduce electromagnetic interference through the precise placement of particles at specific locations on the surface of a device that is made of composite materials.

In the biomedical realm, Chen has been studying ways to shield implantable medical devices such as pacemakers from electromagnetic fields generated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. Since the RF energy from MRI machines can significantly increase in temperature near metallic implants, individuals with medical devices with metal components are unable to undergo these scans. Chen has recently developed a formula that describes this heating process in depth and has proposed a filter that could literally block medical devices from electromagnetic waves.

Chen was nominated for the award by researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Chen collaborates with these researchers through the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Electromagnetic Compatibility. His nomination was also supported by individuals at IBM.

Chen will receive the award at the EMC Society’s annual symposium in Long Beach, Calif., next month. “The IEEE’s EMC Society is an outstanding organization,” he said. “I make sure to go to its symposium every year, and every year the trip is very productive. I’m honored that the group’s leadership sees my work as valuable.”




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