Student Spotlight

Electromechanical Systems Group: Manuel Gutierrez


Hometown, Country:

Mexico City, Mexico

Academic History Prior to coming to MIT:

B.S., Electrical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

What brought you to MIT?

The Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems immediately stood out to me as a supportive and collaborative environment, both for research and graduate coursework. I became interested in joining Prof. Leeb’s group specifically for his diverse research interests within power electronics and electric machines.

What problem are you trying to solve with your current research and what are some possible applications?

We are currently investigating how the proliferation of modern lighting technologies might affect electric utility stability and performance. Lighting accounts for up to 20% of electrical energy consumption, and as we continue to transition from traditional lighting methods such as incandescent bulbs, to modern high-efficiency alternatives, their impact on the electrical utility will become more significant. Specifically, these modern bulbs are currently manufactured without much regard to their distortion power factors, or negative incremental resistances presented to the utility. We are working on new power converters that will address these concerns, and can be packaged in each individual bulb.

What interests you most about your research?

I am very excited that we are working on power converters that could potentially end up in widespread use. Getting to plan and design, simulate, and finally prototype and test is what research is all about. It’s important to me that my project has a significant hands-on aspect, in addition to the analytical and simulation components. It’s what makes my work here very rewarding.

What are your future plans?

I am looking forward to seeing how my research evolves in my time at MIT. As for what might come after, I have yet to decide how to best continue to be challenged with exciting projects, be it academics or industry.