Xin Zan awarded Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship to advance research in wireless power transfer

Zan’s research on high frequency power converters for wireless power transfer has a wide range of applications

Xin Zan Enlarge

Xin Zan, doctoral candidate in electrical and computer engineering (ECE), has been awarded a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship to support his research in the area of high frequency wireless power transfer.

His proposed dissertation title is “Scalable Architectures for High Frequency and Very High Frequency Wireless Power Transfer.” He is advised by Prof. Al Avestruz.

Current wireless power transfer (WPT) systems, such as those used for cell phones, operate at most a few hundred kilohertz, and the phones often need to be precisely placed on the charging pad.

However, these systems are not scalable to different applications at high frequency (HF) and very high frequency (VHF) levels. Xin is developing a new scalable architecture for HF and VHF WPT with applications ranging from watts, for biomedical and consumer electronics, to hundreds of watts, for robots and drones. As you move to HF and VHF, it is also possible to charge devices with a few centimeters gap with miniature coils.

“In my mind,” stated Zan, “the future of wireless power transfer is to provide energy anytime and everywhere and support peer-to-peer charging of not only consumer electronics, but also for industrial, scientific and medical applications.”

Zan has already published eleven journal and conference publications, both as a graduate student at Michigan and an undergraduate student at Tsinghua University, China. More papers are being reviewed and prepared. He is also co-inventor on three provisional patents. One of those patents is related to an ultrafast gate driver he developed that significantly outperforms the best devices in today’s market.

He has served as graduate student instructor for four different undergraduate/graduate courses: Introduction to Electronic Circuits, Monolithic Amplifier Circuits, Power Electronics,, and Electric Machinery and Drives. He has also mentored seven undergraduate and graduate students on specific research projects.

Zan was the first author on a paper that received the IEEE PELS Best ECCE Paper on Emerging Technology Award Oral Presentation [read more]. He won IEEE PELS Best Student Project Demonstration on Emerging Technology 2nd Prize Award. He has also received the IEEE PELS WoW Student Paper Competition Certification of Merit [read more], the College of Engineering Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement [read more], and the Best Scientific Visualization Award at the College of Engineering Graduate Symposium.