The Michigan Engineer News Center

Students in EECS 418 rewarded for optimizing stop/start technology for auto applications

Stop/start is a new system being introduced into the North American automobile market to improve fuel economy while cutting down on pollution.| Short Read

Students in EECS 418, Prof. Heath Hofmann’s Power Electronics course, competed to build the most efficient DC to DC converter as part of the course’s final project. The competition was sponsored by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; company representatives Ben Dicicco and Nazmi Sabi attended the class as guest judges. The students recently received their cash awards.

Power Electronics covers the use of electronics in energy conversion, covering power components, semiconductor devices, auxiliary circuits, and different types of power conversion. The objective of the year-end project was to design and build a DC to DC converter that mimicked a voltage stabilizer module used in vehicle stop/start technology.

Stop/start is a new system being introduced into the North American automobile market to improve fuel economy while cutting down on pollution. When the vehicle comes to a stop, the engine will turn off automatically rather than idling. When the driver is ready to move, the engine restarts, which can cause lights to flicker or interrupt sound systems – unless there is a voltage stabilization module. Students attempted to optimize this module. The first place team’s circuit had an efficiency of over 95%, which Prof. Hofmann said was quite impressive.

The judges were excited to see electrical engineering students working on projects directly related to their industry.

“We’re interested in getting the students interested in automotive engineering,” says judge Ben DiCicco. “This project gave them an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned on relevant technology.”

First Place Team

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L-R: Ben Dicicco (judge), Nua Nicaj, Nazmi Sabi (judge), Matthew Schwendeman, Samuel Friedman, and Youngbae Son.

Second Place Team

Enlargesecond place team

L-R: Ben Dicicco (judge), Yuanying Wang, Maxime Lawton, and Siqi Chen, and Nazmi Sabi (judge).

Third Place Team

Enlarge3rd place

L-R: Ben Dicicco (judge), Yang Yang, Nazmi Sabi (judge), Pradeep Kodali, and Akshay Sarin.

first place students
second place team
3rd place
Portrait of Catharine June


Catharine June
ECE Communications and Marketing Manager

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

(734) 936-2965

3301 EECS

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read