Quantum Leaps and Technological Breakthroughs: Inside CCNY’s Electrical Engineering Department — Dr. Roger Dorsinville

by Malina Seenarine

Dr. Roger Dorsinville, head of the Electrical Engineering Department at the Grove School of Engineering at City College, has been with the school for over 40 years. 

In that time, he has seen an increase in research activity in the department as well as a rise in students enrolling in electrical engineering programs. 

“Because of the research activities in the department that many students are involved in, I think this is one of the positive things that has been happening for many years,” Dorsinville said in an interview with The RICC.

Dr.Roger Dorsinville

CCNY recently received a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a quantum institute. Dr. Alexander Khanikaev, the principal investigator on the project, is a physicist with the electrical department who conceived the institute to advance quantum research and to make CCNY one of the leading institutions in the field.

Dorsinville, who has been the department chair since 2003, is a co-PI on the project as well as physicists Carlos Meriles and Vinod Menon.

The new institute will explore different types of quantum research, including quantum computing and quantum imaging.

One of Dorsinville’s current research interests is using quantum techniques for imaging. 

Dorsinville is also researching nonlinear optics. In linear optics, a material’s response to light is proportional to the intensity of light, with reflections serving as a typical example. In nonlinear optics, materials interact with light differently and the response is not directly proportional to light intensity.

In Dorsinville’s research, he studies the nonlinear optical responses to different materials by using powerful beams on materials to study what the outcomes will be. This allows him to figure out the structure of the material as well as the reason for the nonlinear response. 

By studying the fundamentals of nonlinear effects, these results can be used in communications applications and to construct switches, according to Dorsinville. 

Other researchers in the electrical engineering department, Drs. Ümit Uyar, Tarek Saadawi and Tushar Jois are focused on artificial intelligence in cybersecurity. 

The remote sensing group in the department is led by Dr. Fred Moshary. They are funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Assistant Professor Dr. Samah Saeed, a co-recipient of a $4.6 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to advance quantum computing in 2023, focuses on resolving issues surrounding quantum computers to reduce external noise. She also explores security threats at the hardware level and develops defense mechanisms to fight off these attacks.

One of Distinguished Professor Dr. Yingli Tian’s research interests include signaling processes in relation to computer vision and pattern recognition.  

Drs. Sang-Woo Seo and Aidong Shen are researching nanomaterials and semiconductor materials and semiconductors.

The robotics group, headed by Dr. Jizhong Xiao, is building climbing robots that can climb vertically along walls and check for construction issues on bridges and tall buildings. 

With the increase of research activity in the electrical engineering department, Dorsinville hopes to attract more students to the programs. 

“Until about three or four years ago, before the pandemic, the actual number of students coming into the department was growing to the point where we didn’t know what to do,” Dorsinville said. 

Although numbers have gone down, Dorsinville notes that there is a resurgence due to the Grove School of Engineering becoming more proactive in recruiting students, calling them directly to assess their qualifications and interest in the programs. 

CCNY will notify the students as early as possible when they are accepted and offer stipends and fellowships to encourage attendance.

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