college of engineering

OSU to help lead $20 million disaster resilience center

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of Oregon State University researchers will help lead the Community Resilience Center of Excellence, a five-year, $20 million initiative to help communities improve resilience to natural disasters.

The center will be based at Colorado State University, and is a partnership of 10 institutions, funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

It will develop computer tools to help local governments create resiliency in buildings and critical infrastructure, lessen the impact of extreme weather and other hazards, and recover rapidly in their aftermath.

“Engineering plays a big role in how resilient the built environment is in response to a variety of hazards,” said Daniel Cox, professor in the OSU School of Civil and Construction Engineering and associate director for the center. “The research at the center will help communities engineer and improve critical systems by providing them with the tools to make well-informed decisions.”

The primary goal of the center will be creation of the NIST-Community Resilience Modeling Environment. Built on an open-source platform and encompassing all forms of natural disasters, this computer model will incorporate a risk-based approach to decision-making and enable quantitative comparisons of different resilience strategies.

OSU civil and construction engineering associate professor Michael Scott and assistant professor Andre Barbosa will assist with the project, providing expertise in structural engineering and computer modeling.

Scott has helped create OpenSees, a software framework for developing models to simulate the performance of structural and geotechnical systems in earthquakes; Barbosa has conducted extensive research on reliability and risk-based analysis of civil infrastructure systems.

“In civil engineering, we learn a lot from past disasters and mistakes,” Cox said. “So it’s really important that we go out and collect uniform data. OpenSees and other predictive programs will provide a strong framework for us to build a comprehensive data collection and computer modeling tool.”

The center also includes experts from the University of Illinois, University of Oklahoma, Rice University, Texas A&M University, the University of Washington, the University of South Alabama, California Polytechnic University in Pomona and Texas A&M-Kingsville.

This project continues OSU’s dedication to improve resiliency in the built environment.

Recent OSU efforts include leading the Cascadia Lifeline Program, a research initiative with government and private industry to help improve critical infrastructure performance during an anticipated major earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone; and involvement with the Oregon Resilience Plan, an initiative to mitigate damage from that earthquake and the resulting tsunami.

Media Contact: 

Michael Collins, 541-737-1207


Dan Cox, 541-737-3631

Multimedia Downloads

Sinking structures
Liquefaction damage

OSU research pushing the limits of Moore’s Law

CORVALLIS, Ore. - In 1965, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel Corp., observed that the number of transistors on a circuit board doubles about every two years. Fifty years and dozens of doublings later, semiconductor technology may be approaching the limits of how small microcircuits can be.

To pack ever more data storage and processing power onto a chip, researchers at Oregon State University are experimenting with novel materials and new techniques for nano-scale lithography – the microscopic stenciling process used to trace and etch nano circuits onto a chip. The works uses an electron stimulated desorption research system in the OSU materials synthesis and characterization facility.

This and many other topics will be explored on March 4 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, when OSU doctoral student Ryan Frederick will join hundreds of other engineering graduate students at the Engineering Research Expo.

The expo will provide insights on how OSU researchers are working to solve Oregon's and the nation’s most pressing challenges. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. More information and registration is available online at http://gradexpo.engineering.oregonstate.edu.

Traditionally, microcircuits have been created with processes that use thin films of organic compounds. However, Frederick is using an inorganic solution of hafnium oxide hydroxide sulfate, abbreviated as HafSOx. Another key ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, better known for bleaching hair and sanitizing cuts.

“HafSOx has been studied for about a decade here at OSU,” Frederick explained. “It is an aqueous solution-based process, so there are fewer nasty chemicals. We are trying to find the right solutions that give the best resolution and sensitivity. The hydrogen peroxide is important because it works so well for inducing radiation chemistry in this inorganic system.”

When HafSOx films incorporate hydrogen peroxide and are then exposed to an electron beam, researchers can define patterns just 9 nanometers wide. For comparison, a human hair is about 80,000 nm wide, and most state-of-the-art circuits are 20 nm wide.

Semiconductor fabrication uses a tremendous amount of energy. Frederick has upgraded the ESD system to better characterize the electron gun on his device and uses this gun to understand how the HafSOx reacts to streams of electrons.

“What’s promising in our current research is that we can study the effects of low-energy electrons on HafSOx – an entirely new area of investigation which is relevant to future generations of nano-lithography. We are also able to use the ESD system on our center’s newer films to better understand radiation induced chemistries.”

Frederick’s research is guided by Gregory S. Herman, an associate professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, and is funded by the National Science Foundation Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, which brings OSU together with the University of Oregon, Washington University at St Louis, Rutgers University, University of California Davis, and University of California Berkeley. The work is pushing the limits of materials chemistry.

“Semiconductor companies in the Portland area really do care about getting the latest technology into their fabrication,” Frederick said.

Media Contact: 
Multimedia Downloads

Electron gun
Electron gun

OSU class addresses need for cybersecurity professionals

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A growing need for computer scientists and engineers trained in cybersecurity has led to collaboration between Oregon State University and Intel Security to offer an experiential course in that field, taught by field experts from around the world.

McAfee Labs, part of Intel Security, reported that in 2014 they detected 307 new cyber threats every minute, and the number of malware exploits increased by 76 percent compared to the prior year. In 2015, company officials said they expect an increase in cyber warfare, espionage attacks and new vulnerabilities for mobile devices and cloud computing.

The “Defense Against the Dark Arts” course, designed by Intel Security, was welcomed by OSU as part of its efforts to build a program in computer security. Intel Security previously delivered the course at California Polytechnic State University, and plans to work with OSU to expand the program to other universities in the future through video recordings.

“We are passionate about this field of work and study, and believe that one of the best avenues for combating cybercrime is to educate the next wave of university graduates with the skills necessary to make the cyber world a safer place,” said Candace Worley, senior vice president and general manager for Endpoint Security at Intel Security.

The course offers practical, hands-on experience on topics such as malware and defenses against them; software vulnerabilities; network, web and mobile security tools and techniques.

The class filled to capacity when it opened with 45 computer science majors and 15 electrical and computer engineering majors.

“It’s a remarkable opportunity for our students to have such cutting-edge knowledge, and a workforce development benefit to the industry,” said Ron Adams, interim vice president for research. “It’s a win for everyone.”

Media Contact: 

Rachel Robertson, 541-737-7098


Terri Fiez, 541-737-3118

Expert to discuss startup business issues, patents

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A national expert on patents and startup businesses will speak in Corvallis on Wednesday, Dec. 3.

John Cabeca, director of the Silicon Valley United States Patent and Trademark Office, will hold an interactive discussion on several topics related to startup businesses, including micro-entity filings, pro bono assistance, law school clinics and other topics.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in the Metolius Room of the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute in Corvallis. It is located at 1110 N.E. Circle Blvd., and directions to the building can be found online at http://mbi-online.org/directions

The program is sponsored by the Oregon State University Advantage program and the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or RAIN-Corvallis.

Story By: 

Tracy Elmshaeuser, 541-737-3888

OSU partnership forms new center for software development

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two organizations at Oregon State University have joined forces to create a new center offering expanded services in product testing, software development and hosting.

The Center for Applied Systems and Software in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was formed by the partnership of the Open Source Lab and the Business Solutions Group. For several years, both groups have been delivering products and services to clients while providing training opportunities for students on real-world projects.

“It’s a partnership that made sense and it was the right time to make the move,” said Carlos Jensen, director of the new center and associate professor of computer science at OSU. “We have an assertive, aggressive, optimistic view of the future that will drive innovation.”

Although the Open Source Lab and Business Solutions Group will retain their identity and function, their combined skills can provide clients with complete software solutions, including design, development, testing and hosting. They can take on a larger variety of projects that would have been beyond the scope of either one alone.

For instance, although neither group had previously created a mobile application, the first project undertaken by the new organization includes two iOS and Android apps for Oregon Sea Grant. “Oregon Catch” will be an app to help visitors buy fresh fish directly from ocean fishermen, and “Working Waterfronts” will provide educational information about industrial sites on the coast to tourists.

Beyond software services, the new center will provide clients an opportunity to develop working relationships with students for potential future employment. Industry representatives can gain quick and cost-effective access to students who will assist with projects, without the need to directly supervise them, as they would with a conventional internship.

Media Contact: 

Rachel Robertson, 541-737-7098

Multimedia Downloads

New OSU center

Center leaders

Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator accepting applications

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator program is seeking participants for its next cohort, which begins in January 2015 and runs for five months.

Applications from innovative and high-growth traded sector companies that produce goods and services used outside the region are encouraged. Eligibility information can be found on the website.

The program offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to expand their businesses, connect with industry professionals, gain access to OSU venture development funds, and work with an advisory team to accelerate company development.

“We are taking advantage of the many resources available for clients, and thanks to the accelerator our business is now ready to take off,” said client Stan Baker, with Baker Seed Technologies. “The accelerator is a proven springboard to success.”

The five-month curriculum uses a proven methodology to guide emerging enterprises from infancy to independence, officials say. More information and an application is available on the website, at www.oregonstate.edu/accelerator, and applications will be followed by an interview with the co-directors and a formal presentation to the entrance committee.


Betty Nickerson, 541-368-5205

Lomónaco to direct Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Pedro Lomónaco, an expert in coastal and maritime engineering, has been named the director of the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at Oregon State University.

Lomónaco, previously the director of a marine research facility at the University of Cantabria in Spain, has co-authored more than 60 publications on wave generation and propagation, the stability of coastal and submarine structures, the behavior of floating structures and other topics.

The Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, a part of the OSU College of Engineering, is a key research facility for coastal and ocean engineering research, including its internationally recognized programs of tsunami research and coastal hazard mitigation.

“The laboratory is immersed in a new and challenging era where the academic community, industry and the general public demands outstanding solutions and testing of multi-hazard events on our coasts, the development of marine renewable energy devices and education of our future researchers and engineers,” Lomónaco said.

Lomónaco earned his doctorate at the University of Cantabria, and for seven years directed its Hydraulics, Coast and Ocean Laboratory. He has also worked and executed experiments at several other leading coastal engineering laboratories in North America and Europe.

With a wide range of K-12 outreach programs and community open houses, the OSU laboratory plays an important role in helping the general public understand and prepare for coastal hazards; study the impacts of waves, storm, erosion and tsunami events; and provides science to help inform public policy, both regionally and nationally. It also operates a Mini Tsunami Wave Flume traveling exhibit that was featured at the National Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

Scientists and engineers from many nations travel to Oregon to make use of the facility, which is one of the largest and most technically advanced laboratories for coastal research in the world.

Story By: 

Pedro Lomónaco, 541-737-2875

Multimedia Downloads

Pedro Lomonaco
Pedro Lomónaco

Wave laboratory
Tsunami wave basin

Grant to enhance minority participation in STEM disciplines

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A collaboration of five universities in the Pacific Northwest has received a five-year, $3.44 million grant renewal from the National Science Foundation to increase the number of minority students who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Participants in the program include Oregon State University, Portland State University, Boise State University, the University of Washington and Washington State University. Karen Thompson, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Education, helped develop this collaboration. Called the Pacific Northwest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM, the initiative has been quite successful in recruiting more minority students and assisting them in completing their degrees, officials say.

In the first five-year grant at OSU, the goal was to double the number of under-represented minority students who graduated in a STEM discipline – which would have been 154 graduates in June, 2014. They significantly exceeded that, with 196 degrees awarded. This program provides financial, academic, social and professional support to help students achieve their academic and professional goals.

“Changing demographics in Oregon make it critical to graduate a greater number of minority students in STEM disciplines to fill positions in industry and academia,” said Ellen Momsen, co-principal investigator of this program at OSU, and director of its Women and Minorities in Engineering program.

“Our industry partners are enthusiastic about the increase in the diversity of our College of Engineering graduates,” Momsen said. “This is essential to improve the lives of all the people in our state.”

About 47 percent of the 3,043 under-represented minority students at OSU are now majoring in STEM disciplines at OSU, Momsen said. Many of them are taking advantage of programs such as a two-week “bridge” program for freshmen and a two-day leadership academy. A significant number also later become involved as undergraduates in original scientific research.

Story By: 

Ellen Momsen, 541-737-9699

OSU to celebrate Johnson Hall construction on Sept. 15

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will celebrate the construction launch of its newest engineering building on Monday, Sept. 15, and the public is invited.

A ceremony and reception will begin at 1:30 p.m. to honor the donors who made this facility project possible and celebrate the impact it will make on OSU’s education and research programs, especially in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. The events will take place at the building site at S.W. Park Terrace Place and Monroe Avenue, just north of Kelley Engineering Center.

Speakers include Julia Brim-Edwards, an OSU alumna and senior director for Global Strategy & Operations for Nike Corporation’s Government and Public Affairs team. She serves on the Oregon Education Investment Board.

The state-of-the-art, 58,000-square-foot engineering building is designed to be a place of collaboration and innovation in education and research for faculty, students and industry professionals. It will include labs for interdisciplinary research and a center focused on improving recruitment and retention of engineering students.

The building bears the name, and will continue the innovative legacy, of Peter and Rosalie Johnson. A 1955 Oregon State chemical engineering graduate, Peter Johnson revolutionized battery manufacturing equipment with his trademarked invention for making battery separator envelopes.

The Johnsons committed $7 million to begin construction on the new facility, leveraging an earlier gift of $10 million from an anonymous donor and $3 million in additional private funds, matched by $20 million in state funds.

In addition to being the lead donors for the facility initiative, the Johnsons previously created the Pete and Rosalie Johnson Internship program, which provides opportunities to at least two dozen Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering students annually. They also established the Linus Pauling Chair in chemical engineering to support a faculty member with industry experience who mentors students. The position currently is held by Philip Harding.

“We are so pleased that this new facility will honor the Johnsons and be a place dedicated to supporting the same areas they have always emphasized: collaborative research and hands-on learning for students,” said Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering and Kearney Professor.

“Their investment, and that of our other generous donors, will have a powerful impact on Oregon and our world,” added Ashford, a 1983 OSU alumnus.

Johnson Hall follows two other major facility projects for the College of Engineering during The Campaign for OSU: construction of the $45 million, 153,000-square-foot Kelley Engineering Center, completed in 2005; and the $12 million complete renovation of historic Kearney Hall, completed in 2009. The university will celebrate donors to The Campaign for OSU during Homecoming Week on Friday, Oct. 31, at a public showcase and reception.


Molly Brown, 541-737-3602

NSF grant gives OSU unique materials characterization capability

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has received a $648,000 “major research instrumentation” grant from the National Science Foundation, part of a $1.4 million package to allow the university to acquire a near-ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, or XPS system.

The grant will be matched by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, and Oregon BEST.

“There will be no other XPS system in the world that has all the same capabilities,” said Greg Herman, an associate professor of chemical engineering at OSU and the grant’s principal investigator. “This laboratory will enhance interdisciplinary research and education programs throughout the scientific and engineering communities.”

Conventional XPS technology is a surface analysis technique, which provides the composition, chemical and electronic states of surfaces and interfaces from materials or thin-film structures — information needed in many applications such as catalysis, corrosion, adhesion, semiconductor and dielectric materials, and magnetic media. XPS is used in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, healthcare, and petrochemical industries, and samples under study must be kept under ultra-high vacuum conditions during the analysis.

“A unique aspect of this XPS system is that it allows us to study reactions at pressures close to those on the Earth’s surface, while typical XPS systems operate near lunar surface pressures,” said Herman. “These pressure extremes can significantly change the chemistries that can take place.”

The near-ambient XPS system will be the foundation of the surface characterization laboratory in Johnson Hall, a state-of-the-art engineering building and the future home of the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. It will be available to researchers from OSU, the Oregon University System, and national and international collaborators from academia, government laboratories, and industry.

Media Contact: 

Thuy Tran, 541-737-0787


Greg Herman, 541-737-2496