Architecture's Jenny Sabin Awarded Grant to Pursue Emergent Design of Solar Panels

Rendering of child silhouette in window looking out at New York City view
Rendering of photo-sensitive adaptive eSkin material within a building facade. rendering / © Sabin Design Lab, Cornell University
colorful squares arranged in a grid pattern on a white background
Detail of a prototype study with Indium tin oxide (ITO)–treated glass cells with voltage-controlled nanoparticle solution, housed on a custom-built PCB substrate and controlled locally via ambient sensing nodes. image / © Sabin Design Lab, Cornell University; Shu Yang Group, University of Pennsylvania; Jan Van der Spiegel and Nader Engheta, University of Pennsylvania.
Rendering of photo-sensitive adaptive eSkin material within a building facade. rendering / © Sabin Design Lab, Cornell University Detail of a prototype study with Indium tin oxide (ITO)–treated glass cells with voltage-controlled nanoparticle solution, housed on a custom-built PCB substrate and controlled locally via ambient sensing nodes. image / © Sabin Design Lab, Cornell University; Shu Yang Group, University of Pennsylvania; Jan Van der Spiegel and Nader Engheta, University of Pennsylvania.
News
March 23, 2018

Jenny Sabin, Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Associate Professor of Architecture, has been awarded a $30,000 Frontiers of Engineering grant for the advancement of interdisciplinary research from the Grainger Foundation. Sabin and her collaborator on the grant, Mariana Bertoni, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at Arizona State University, will use the grant to pursue ­­their project titled "Sustainable Architecture and Aesthetics: Emergent Design for High-Performance Solar Panels."

Sabin and Bertoni were introduced at the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) highly selective 2017 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium in September. "The proposal grew out of a lively lunch discussion between Bertoni and me at the symposium, where one of the intents of the event is for emerging engineers and designers from different disciplines to meet in hopes that their interaction will inspire collaborative work — and that is exactly what happened," commented Sabin. "The work we aim to develop with the grant will also address an ongoing debate among colleagues about the role of design and aesthetics in the context of sustainable architecture, high performance engineering systems, and the potential for widespread adoption of alternative energy — especially active power systems such as solar panels in residential and industrial sectors."

Sabin and Bertoni will begin actively developing their project this summer. They will use their combined expertise in computation, material science, and 3D printing to innovate the design and engineering of photovoltaic cells used in the generation of solar power.

A second grant was awarded to Katherine Davis of Texas A&M University and Marcus Holzinger of Georgia Institute of Technology to develop an "online resilience support system for cyber-physical situational awareness."

"Whenever we hold a Frontiers of Engineering program, the interactions of talented minds of the engineers spark original ideas," said NAE President C. D. Mote Jr. "These are two beautiful examples of how this works. Talents come together and spark innovations to advance our society that they would not come up with individually. This demonstrates why programs like this are so important."

By Edith Fikes