Select Page

Bertoni working at the frontier of solar energy engineering

Bertoni working at the frontier of solar energy engineering

Above: The 2017 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium hosted by the National Academy of Engineering brought together 100 young engineers from varied backgrounds to share their expertise and perspectives with colleagues from around the country. The goal was to help them develop research collaboration across engineering disciplines. Photograph courtesy of the National Academy of Engineering


UPDATE: On March 15, 2018, the National Academy of Engineering announced that a Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grant of $30,000 was awarded to Mariana Bertoni and Jenny Sabin of Cornell University for a project entitled “Sustainable Architecture and Aesthetics: Emergent Design for High Performance Solar Panels.” Through their combined expertise, Bertoni and Sabin plan to innovate the design and engineering of building integrated photovoltaic cells used in the generation of solar power. They will work on advancements in computation and 3D printing in order to create highly-customized filters and panel assemblies that enhance both performance of light absorption for energy generation and architectural beauty. The work is partly aimed at exciting the general public about the importance of using sustainable building practices in homes, offices and public domains.


A select group of 100 young engineers met in Hartford, Connecticut from September 25 to 27 for the 2017 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering, hosted by the National Academy of Engineering.

Portrait of Mariana Bertoni

Mariana Bertoni

The gathering brought together young engineers between the ages of 35 and 45 whose expertise spans a range of engineering-related technical areas, perspectives and experiences in industry, academia and government.

The participants were nominated by fellow engineers to attend the conference. Among them was Mariana Bertoni, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

Bertoni was one of four early-career research leaders to give a presentation as part the event’s session entitled “Energy Strategies to Power Our Future.” Each presented an overview and a roadmap of different aspects of the energy sphere — the future of the power grid, wind and solar energy, and wireless charging of electric devices.

“My talk in particular covered the progress of solar energy in the last decade, and where photovoltaics is going in terms of widespread implementation and integration,” Bertoni says.

She highlighted the use of data analytics and machine learning in the design of next next-generation solar materials.

Her talk detailed how solar materials research will be advanced through image analysis tools targeted to high-performance computing platforms have shown the ability to analyze high-resolution scanning and electron microscopy data in 2D in real time.

Such advances in high-resolution experimental imaging and high-performance computing will undoubtedly propel materials discovery and ultimately enable “materials by design.”

The first step toward full information recovery from high-resolution multifunctional imaging data is the adoption of big-data analytics, Bertoni says. This means implementation of dimensionality reduction, clustering techniques and statistical unsupervised learning.

“The meeting was an incredible experience, I got to share the frontiers of my work with incredibly smart engineers across disciplines,” It was a pleasure and an honor to be selected to speak at this venue,” she says.

“I have a broader view of other fields, like brain science or mega-tall buildings” Bertoni says. “I also acquired a different perspective on my own field. Many of the participants are eager to collaborate across disciplines and I’m sure great things will come out of this.”


About The Author

Erik Wirtanen

Erik Wirtanen graduated from Arizona State in 2001 with a BS in Recreation Management and Tourism. He got his start in the communications field as an undergrad with the ASU Athletics Media Relations office. He worked at UC Irvine from 2002 until 2014 in the Department of Athletics and then The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. In August of 2014, Wirtanen joined the communications office at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Media Contact: [email protected] | 480-727-1957 | Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Communications

ASU Engineering on Facebook