Ghassan E. Jabbour is a University of Arizona professor developing an inkjet printing process that produces photovoltaic devices such as solar cells. He uses digitized images on a computer and sends them to a printer that sprays an organic solution onto an electrically conductive surface. He describes the printed product as a self-illuminated photograph. "The new process uses inkjet to vary the conductivity of the conductors," says Jabbour. "Basically, we design an electronic circuit, scan it to a computer, then send it to the printer." He programmed the printer to interpret colors and convert them to particular chemicals that produce predetermined reactions. "We do some chemistry that allows us to control where we want a lot of electrons and where we don't want electrons." His self-illuminated photographs print in visible colors, but he can also print in colors in the infrared wavelength range that are invisible to the naked eye. For more information, go to www.ua.edu.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.