2015 Teacher-Scholar Award
Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering
Sepúlveda is internationally recognized for his research on vanadium dioxide based microelectromechanical systems and smart materials, and is known as a highly enthusiastic teacher with an outstanding record of scholarship and collaboration. His research program is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Research Laboratory. His extensive committee work and community outreach includes Spartan Engineering for Teens and the recruitment of underrepresented students to the study of engineering.
His students call him “an innovative educator,” whose “courses are highly regarded.” Two of his students have won the Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Sepúlveda’s research has had an impact on the integration of novel smart materials in microelectromechanical systems. In particular, he is one of the leading researchers on the use of vanadium dioxide thin film in MEMS and has made a number of fundamental contributions to this field. V02 is a novel smart material capable of solid-to-solid phase transition close to room temperature that holds tremendous potential in actuation, optical and memory technologies. Sepulveda was the first to report the effects of the structural phase change in V02 on microstructures. This finding has initiated a transformation of the field of thermal micro- transducers by enabling a more efficient technology for micro-actuation with sensitivities beyond the theoretical limits imposed on existing technologies. Currently, Sepúlveda is building on this foundation to develop various novel devices including fully integrated V02-based MEMS actuators, infrared camera/projectors, voltage-controlled resistors, MEMS memories and thermal energy harvesters.
The Teacher-Scholar Award is given to faculty members who early in their careers have earned the respect of students and colleagues for their devotion to and skill in teaching, and whose instruction is linked to and informed by their research and creative activities.