The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical Engineering Alum Recognized for PhD Thesis Video

Electrical Engineering Alum Recognized for
PhD Thesis Video

Fei Yang

Fei Yang PhD’21

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power Electronics Society (PELS) recently named Fei Yang PhD’21 a Ph.D. Thesis Talk Award winner. Yang, who earned his doctorate in electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Texas at Dallas, is one of just five recent PhD graduates in the United States and Europe who won the award in 2021, and he received $1,000 as well as a certificate honoring his accomplishment.

Yang submitted a three-minute video of his doctoral research for a panel of three or more judges. He was required to condense complex research on high-voltage analog power systems, in part so his research could be shared easily among researchers in different time zones across the globe. Since winning the Ph.D. Thesis Talk Award, Yang has been scheduled to present a seminar and Q&A session at an upcoming Power Electronics Society conference. He also has accepted an engineering role at Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) since completing his PhD.

“Honestly, there are many materials to cover,” Yang said. “High-power, high-voltage power electronics applications are spurring new technology. We are working on testing reliability on these new generation devices.”

Dr. Bilal Akin

Dr. Bilal Akin

Yang studied under Dr. Bilal Akin, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Jonsson School at UT Dallas. His research has focused primarily on high voltage power applications for gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors, a material that provides properties exceeding the limits of silicon (Si) technology. GaN transistors are significantly faster and smaller than Si transistors, making them an attractive choice for applications with higher power demand such as autonomous cars, spacecraft and artificial intelligence in cyber physical systems. Researchers including Akin and Yang are studying the long-term reliability of applications using GaN technology.

“Fei has always been highly motivated for high impact outcomes,” Akin said. “His vision and hard work make him an exceptional scholar. IEEE PELS is the largest power electronics society, and I am not surprised with this international recognition. Other winners were from University of California, Berkeley; the University of Michigan, Virginia Tech and Aalborg University. It is a great pleasure to represent UT Dallas in such a premier league.”

TI as well as UT Dallas’ Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE) where Yang worked as a PhD student researcher have sponsored long-term projects related to GaN analog technology. Additionally, Yang’s PhD research was supported in part by Akin’s 2015 CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. That research focused on electric device monitoring to prevent failure.

“The way Dr. Akin worked with me is really critical,” Yang said. “He encouraged me to explore independently. He shared his research with me while encouraging me to think more boldly, more broadly and more confidently. This makes me very excited to continue the research from my PhD into my career at TI. I believe close collaboration with industry helps us to focus on real problems.”

As a system and application engineer at TI, Yang is continuing research on GaN and power electronics that he began during his PhD program at UT Dallas.