Group News

January 1, 2024: Professor Toor is invited to join the University of Iowa National Academy of Inventors local chapter and joins its advisory board to support organizing and planning for local activities and operational agenda for the chapter.

December 14, 2023: A photovoltaics technology status report co-edited by Professor Toor gets published in the SPIE Journal of Photonics for Energy: Status report on emerging photovoltaics ( Over 50 contributors provided content for the report from around the globe including an alumnus of our group and the University of Iowa Electrical and Computer Engineering department, Ella Wassweiler, now  at First Solar Inc. The report is also featured on the cover the journal: 

spie 2023 jpe cover

November 10, 2023: Daniel Keefe defends his comprehensive exam and passes with flying colors! Excellent work, Dan! 

keefe comp nov 2023

November 7, 2023: Rezwan Mohammad Sayeed wins People's Choice award for his 3MT presentation titled: "Nitrous Oxide (N20): Not a Laughing Matter" based on his research project in our lab. Congratulations, Rezwan! More on the news, follow this link: Winners announced in 3MT competition | College of Engineering - The University of Iowa (

November 2, 2023: Professor Toor receives a second medallion from the University of Iowa Provost's office recognizing her achievements in research mentoring and innovation on-campus. 

small medallion 2023
small letter

September 28, 2023: Professor Toor gives an invited talk (virtually) at the 10th International Conference on Materials Science and Nanotechnology for Next Generation, held at Erciyes University, Turkey, on the topic of scalable light management for solar photovoltaics.

September 2, 2023: Toor lab featured in Iowa Engineer magazine for our work in photonics technologies! Read the full article here: Guided by the light: Fatima Toor’s research shines in the College of Engineering

September 1, 2023: Toor lab, in collaboration with SRI International, wins a subcontract from Lawrence Livermore National Lab to develop quantum cascade lasers with new functionality, not demonstrated to-date.

April 20, 2023: Toor lab poster presenters win accolades at the 2023 College of Engineering Research Open House! Best Graduate Poster Award within ECE was won by Dan Keefe and Best Undergraduate Poster Award within ECE was won by Xavier Uhrmacher. Congratulations Dan and Xavier! Well done!

Daniel Keefe poses in front of his poster
Xavier Uhrmacher poses with his research poster







January 25, 2023: Professor Toor is a co-recipient of the UI OVPR Seeding Excellence Initiative's Interdisciplinary Scholars Grant titled: "Interactive Impacts of Farmers’ Mental Health Well-being and Climate Variability", in which the Toor lab will contribute developing N2O point sensors based on mid-IR optoelectronics. For more information on the award and the entire team, please visit this link: Faculty pursue interdisciplinary, community-engaged scholarship through Seeding Excellence Initiative | Office of the Vice President for Research - The University of Iowa (

January 11, 2023: Dan Keefe is among the 70 University of Iowa undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers and scholars whose work is being highlighted on banners in downtown Iowa City. 

Photo of banner honoring Dan Keefe

December 2, 2022: Team MRCL comprising of Electrical and Computer Engineering department's senior class students, Matthew J. Cavoto, Luke P. Kluesner, Christopher J. Mott, and Ralph Nahra, wrap up their capstone design project on developing a point-of-care silicon nanowire sensor data acquisition system, with this amazing video on their project work: SeniorDesignDemoVideo.mp4

November 21, 2022: Professors Toor and LeFevre's collaborative work on water quality sensors, just got accepted in the ACS Omega journal!

  • Wenqi Duan*, Hui Zhi*, Daniel Keefe, Bingtao Gao, Gregory LeFevre, Fatima Toor, "Sensitive and Specific Detection of Estrogens Featuring Doped Silicon Nanowire Arrays", ACS Omega (accepted 11/21/2022). *equal contributing authors

October 27, 2022: Professor Toor, in collaboration with Professors Gary Christensen and Joe Reinhardt, sets up a high-performance computing node at UI's Argon cluster, to simulate qubits and explore medical image processing via quantum algorithm development.  To learn more on the news, click here

September 14, 2022: Professor Toor's contribution in the SPIE Field Guide To Optics Education, A Tribute to [Professor] John Greivenkamp, is published in print!

cover of optics field guide
Toor chap of field guide

























September 9, 2022: Professor Toor along with Professor John Prineas of the Physics and Astronomy department were jointly awarded the Iowa Innovator of the Year award by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, for co-founding and establishing a successful semiconductor optoelectronics startup, Firefly Photonics LLC, in Iowa. 

innovator 2022 award

August 2, 2022: Professor Toor is elected as the Senior Member of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. She was one of 77 new Senior Members the professional organization announced this year and was profiled as one of the optics and photonics women leaders in the society's press release: SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, welcomes 77 new Senior Members, in a year when the society inducted the highest percentage of women as Senior Members in an year ever, at 27%. SPIE Senior Members are Society Members of distinction who are recognized for their professional experience and technical accomplishments, their active involvement with the optics community and with SPIE, and for significant performance that sets them apart from their peers.

July 13, 2022: Professor Toor has been appointed chair of the University of Iowa Research Council, a UI charter committee that meets regularly each semester to advise the vice president for research on matters pertaining to the University's research enterprise.

April 27, 2022: Ryan Edwall II receives the Best Undergraduate Research Poster award within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the 2022 College of Engineering Research Open House and the Outstanding Student Researcher award! Very well done, Ryan!

Ryan Edwall's best undergraduate poster certificate and outstanding student researcher trophy

April 15, 2022: Three researchers from the Toor Lab present their research posters at the 2022 College of Engineering Research Open House:

  1. Daniel Keefe, Hiroyuki Oya, Matthew Howard, Christopher I. Petkov, Fatima Toor, "Characterization of Optical Scattering and Absorption in Brain Phantoms for LITT Neurotherapeutics."
    Daniel Keefe standing next to poster

  1. Greyson Davis, Hiroyuki Oya, Chris Petkov, Matthew Howard, Fatima Toor, “Safety Modeling for Measuring Neural Activity During Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT)."
    Greyson Davis standing next to poster

  1. Ryan Edwall II, Daniel Phetmanysay, Caterina Lamuta, Yingjie Romans, Charles Roman, Sandeep Laroia, Fatima Toor, “Automation of Paracentesis Robot Prototype Using a Joint Raspberry Pi-Arduino System Controlled by a Graphical User Interface (GUI).” Received Best Undergraduate Research Poster award within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering!
    Ryan Edwall II standing next to poster

March 31, 2022:  Professor Toor in collaboration with Professor Mark Mba-Wright at Iowa State University are awarded the Decarb 2040 Community Feasibility Grant for the project titled: “Evaluation of Thermophotovoltaic Systems as a Clean Energy Generation and Storage Technology: Prototype Build and Techno-Economic Assessment.”

March 23, 2022: Professor Toor in collaboration with Professors Aliasger Salem and Hillel Haim publish a paper on a silicon nanowire-based COVID-19 sensor: 

January 11, 2022: Jacob is featured as one of the rising stars at the University of Iowa via the Dare to Discover campaign poster downtown Iowa City! For more info about his Dare to Discover profile, read here: Congratulations, Jacob! Nicely done!

Dare to Discover banner featuring Jacob Sindt
Photo of Jacob Sindt's banner hanging downtown


December 6, 2021: Professor Toor presented an invited talk at the 2021 MRS Fall Virtual Meeting EN04.05: Light Management and New Absorbers Session, titled: Scalable Nano and Macro Light Management Approaches for Silicon Photovoltaics. Stay tuned for a paper resulting from the talk content in the MRS Energy & Sustainability journal!

November 10, 2021: Jacob Sindt presented his research poster at the 2021 Fall Undergraduate Research Festival, co-authored and titled: Jacob Sindt, Lorena Castro Garcia, Andrea Dodd, Alex Walhof, Peter Thorne, Jun Wang, Fatima Toor, "Development of Next Generation Mid-Infrared Sensors for Monitoring Emissions of Greenhouse Gases and Volatile Organic Compounds." He scored a perfect score on the poster by the research festival judges! Well done, Jacob! 

Photo of Jacob Sindt and his poster at the Undergraduate Research Festival


September 23, 2021: Professor Toor receives the medallion for her Endowed Chair Professorship by the University of Iowa administration! For more on this news, follow this link: Toor honored with Lowell G. Battershell Endowed Chair in Laser Engineering

Photos of the front and back of the Lowell C. Battershell medallion


July 28, 2021:  Professor Toor gave an invited talk at the The Optical Society (OSA) Applied Industrial Optics (Virtual) Conference's Light and the Material Industrial Complex session on our mid-IR LED and laser research efforts. 

July 19,  2021: Professor Toor is appointed as Lowell G. Battershell Endowed Chair by the College of Engineering and the University of IowaProvost!!

July 2, 2021: Summer 2021 Toor group pizza party! Glad to be back in person post pandemic. 

Photo of Toor Lab summer pizza party


May 12, 2021: Bingtao successfully defends his Ph.D. dissertation via a Zoom meeting! Congratulations, Bingtao! Very well done! Bingtao will be starting an academic postdoctoral position in Professor Deren Yang's group at Zhejiang University starting Fall 2021. 

Photo of Zoom meeting participants


April 23, 2021: Prof. Toor discusses her work with a team of physicians at the UIHC, on photodynamic therapy of sarcoma during the WHO Radio's (Des Moines, IA) Need to Know with Jeff Angelo show. Click to hear her interview: (starting at 30 mins)

April 21, 2021: Prof. Toor and Eric Larson publish a paper on characterization of cancer tissue in the mid-infrared (MIR) and cancer cell ablation using MIR lasers: 
Eric Larson, Madeline Hines, Munir Tanas, Benjamin Miller, Mitchell Coleman, Fatima Toor, "Mid-infrared absorption by soft tissue sarcoma and cell ablation utilizing a mid-infrared interband cascade laser," J. Biomed. Opt. 26(4), 043012 (2021) as part of the Special Issue on Advances in Terahertz Biomedical Science and Applications.

February 10, 2021: Two papers co-authored by Prof. Toor are published! 

  1. Rytlewski, Jeffrey D.; Scalora, Nicholas; Garcia, Keith; Tanas, Munir; Toor, Fatima; Miller, Benjamin; Allen, Bryan; Milhem, Mohammed; Monga, Varun. 2021. "Photodynamic Therapy Using Hippo Pathway Inhibitor Verteporfin: A Potential Dual Mechanistic Approach in Treatment of Soft Tissue Sarcomas" Cancers 13, no. 4: 675 (2021).
  2. Xinxin Li, Alexander C. Walhof, Weitao Dai, Ilke Arslan, Yuzi Liu, Fatima Toor, and John P. Prineas, "Enhanced radiative and thermal properties from surface encapsulation of InAs nanowires," Opt. Mater. Express 11, 719-728 (2021).

September 22, 2020: Wenqi Duan successfully defends her Ph.D. dissertation via Zoom! Congratulations Wenqi!

photo of Wenqi Duan


September 15, 2020: Professor Toor is recognized as a "community champion" by SPIE, the international society of optics and photonics. This recognition is given to around 10% of the SPIE membership every year. Iowa Technology Institute published an article covering this news: Fatima Toor recognized as 'Community Champion' by optics and photonics society

Photo of community champion award


July 31, 2020: Tori Eng successfully defends her M.S. thesis presentation via Zoom! Congratulations Tori! 

Photo of Tori Eng


July 21, 2020: Professor Toor's interview with OSA is published in Optics and Photonics News magazine: Fatima Toor on Mutual Respect

April 27, 2020: Our lab's collaboration with the Iowa City Mercy hospital featured on the UI College of Engineering website: UI Engineering sensors assisting Mercy Hospital to decontaminate masks

March 27, 2020: Wenqi Duan is awarded the Graduate College Summer Fellowship for Summer 2020! Congratulations Wenqi!

March 25, 2020: Professor Toor is featured in the Technically Iowa podcast that highlights tech leaders and their businesses in the state of Iowa:

February 4, 2020: Professor Toor will be giving an invited oral presentation at the OSA Applied Industrial Optics Topical Meeting, which will be held at the OSA Headquarters, Washington, DC, USA, 20-22 July 2020. 

January 31, 2020: Professor Toor's editorial published in the Biophotonics magazine on our biosensor development: Biosensor could personalize cancer care.

December 30, 2019: Professor Toor is heading to the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing conference to be held in April 2020, to give an invited talk on our work on nanostructures enabled light management approaches in silicon solar cells!

December 20, 2019:  Very proud of Dr. Amir Asgharzadeh Shishavan! Officially hooded as a PhD graduate of the Toor research group!

Photo of Fatima Toor and Amir Asgharzadeh Shishavan


December 16, 2019: Eric Larson is selected to attend the highly competitive National Renewable Energy Lab's winter 2020 school! Congrats Eric!

August 15, 2019: Two of Toor group's manuscripts are accepted for publication! 

  1. Bingtao Gao, Wenqi Duan, Aaron D. Silva, Alexander C. Walhof, Weitao Dai, and Fatima Toor, "Light Management on Silicon utilizing Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance of Electroless Plated Silver Nanoparticles", in press at OSA Optical Materials Express. 
  2. Qinghua Wang, Bingtao Gao, Michaella Raglione, Huixin Wang, Baojia Li, Fatima Toor, Mark A. Arnold, and Hongtao Ding, "Review of THz Bandpass Metamaterials: Design, Fabrication, and Modulation", in press at Laser & Photonics Reviews.

August 5, 2019: Our team member Alex Walhof successfully defends his M.S. thesis! Congratulations Alex!

Photos of Alex presenting and members of his MS committee


July 24, 2019: Eric Larson presents his research on MIR laser interaction with cancer cells at the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Conference. 

Eric Larson standing by his poster


July 17, 2019:  Our team's research on bifacial photovoltaics is featured in New Energy Update:

Photo from bifacial photovoltaics article


July 8, 2019: Our team's research on biosensors is featured in SPIE news! Some fun snippets from the article

"Some may see Fatima Toor's diverse research interests as eclectic: photovoltaics, biosensors, lasers, and semiconductor optoelectronics may not seem to have much in common at first blush. But Toor, who is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Iowa, doesn't see it that way. From her perspective, her work on laser therapy is a close cousin to her research into photovoltaics. "It's pretty synergistic," she says. "Photovoltaics are light detectors. You basically detect light to generate power, whereas lasers, you inject power and get light out. A lot of these things are very interrelated when it comes to devices.""...

"My favorite part of being in academia is that you have so much intellectual freedom," she says. "As long as you're getting funded, you can work on what you want." Lucky for us, she wants nothing less than a better, healthier world."

Illustration of biosensor


July  1, 2019: Our team member, Amir Asgharzadeh successfully defends his Ph.D. dissertation! Congratulations Amir!

Photo of Amir defending his dissertation


July  1, 2019: Professor Toor's article on affordable solar photovoltaic (PV) technology at the nexus of energy and water is published in SPIE Professional's 2019 July issue.

Photo of article


June 24, 2019: Professor Toor has been approved for Senior Member of The Optical Society by the professional society's Board of Directors.  Senior members need to have demonstrated significant intellectual and service contributions to the optics and photonics community.

Triangle with words "OSA Senior Member"


May 20, 2019: Two of our star graduate students move on to new endeavors: Amir Asgharzadeh, Ph.D. student from our team, is now at NEXTracker, Fremont, CA, as a PV Systems Engineer and Alex Walhof, MS with thesis student from our team, is now at Firefly Photonics LLC (Prof. Toor's startup) as an Engineer! Great job both of you and congratulations! 

April 30, 2019:  Professor Toor (co-founder and Vice President) along with Professor John Prineas (co-founder and President) and Mr. Mike Jones (CEO) receive the 2019 Faculty Startup of the Year Award by the Office of the Vice President of Research at the University of Iowa for Firefly Photonics LLC

Photo of Faculty Startup of the Year award


April 23, 2019:  April 2019 issue of SPIE Professional magazine published article on black silicon's 23 year past, present, and future. Professor Eric Mazur at Harvard/SiOnyx, Professor David Dickensheets of Montana State University, and our team's work including the recent publication on our black silicon work is quoted in the article.

March 14, 2019:  (pi day!) Both submitted papers by the Toor group are accepted at the 46th IEEE PVSC conference to be held from June 16th to 21stin Chicago, IL.

  • Amir Asgharzadeh's paper titled: "A Benchmark and Validation of Bifacial PV Irradiance Models" is accepted for an oral presentation in the session entitled "System Performance and Models" which will be on Thursday, June 20, 2019. Finalist for the Best Student Paper Award
  • Bingtao Gao's paper titled: "Efficiency Improvement of Planar Silicon Solar Cells Utilizing Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance of Silver Nanoparticles" is accepted for a poster presentation in the session titled: "Surface Passivation & Light Management" which will be on Wednesday, June 19, 2019.

January 15, 2019: Amir's banner gets featured on the front of the UIowa OVPR's office advocating solar energy! He was selected out of 170+ nominations for the banner campaign that seeks to put a face to the countless groundbreaking discoveries, innovations, and creative works generated by researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa. His perfect academic performance and exceptional research work led to this recognition by the university's Vice President of Research office. Very well done, Amir! His profile linked to the banner, can be found here: 

Photo of Amir's banner


January 15, 2019: Our collaborative paper, "High Throughput Laser Process of Transparent Conducting Surfaces for Terahertz Bandpass Ultrathin Metamaterials", Qinghua Wang, Baojia Li, Xin Jin, Michaella Raglione, Fatima Toor, Mark A. Arnold, Hongtao Ding, is accepted for publication in Nature Scientific Reports.

January 8, 2019: Our collaborative paper, "Contactless Optical Characterization of Carrier Dynamics in Free-Standing InAs-InAlAs Core-Shell Nanowires on Silicon", Li, Xinxin; Zhang, Kailing; Treu, Julian; Stampfer, Lukas; Koblmueller, Gregor; Toor, Fatima; Prineas, John, is accepted for publication in Nanoletters.

January 4, 2019: Professor Toor presented at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Grand Rounds that were held on Friday, January 4, 2019: Surface modified doped silicon nanowire based solar cells for applications in cancer antigen detection. Seminar Presented by Experimental Therapeutics ET Program! On to disruptive innovation for low-cost and reliable cancer detection. 

November 25, 2018: Toor group's winning images for the OSA 2018 After Image photo contestBingtao Gao's image was a tie for third place and Alex Walhof's image was an honorable mention!

Image showing a chunk of dust on a silicon substrate
SEM image of the center of a resolution test for optical lithography


November 1, 2018: Professor Toor presents our research group's work on biosensors at the UI Mechanical Engineering graduate seminar, invited by Prof. Hongtao Ding, one of our research collaborators!

October 22, 2018: Amir's research on bifacial photovoltaic system performance modeling is selected to be featured in a downtown Iowa City banner campaign featuring outstanding undergraduate and graduate student researchers sponsored by the UI Office of the Vice President for Research. He was selected among 170+ nominations. Congratulations, Amir! Well deserved!

October 1, 2018: Our manuscript: "Surface modifying doped silicon nanowire based solar cells for applications in biosensing", is accepted to be published in the Advanced Materials Technologies journal! Congratulations Wenqi and the Salem team!

September 26, 2018: Professor Toor will be speaking at the Sarcoma Symposium to present an update on our research on utilizing mid-infrared (IR) lasers for cancer treatment. This project is a collaboration among Professor Rebecca DoddProfessor Mitch ColemanDr. Munir TanasDr. Ben Miller, and our lab.

September 26, 2018: Professor Toor will be speaking at the 2018 Iowa Microscopy Society meeting and presenting our team's work as it pertains to various sample imaging modalities.

September 24, 2018: Wenqi publishes her first first-author paper: Wenqi Duan, Bingtao Gao, K A S M Ehteshamul Haque, and Fatima Toor, "Performance optimization techniques for the front and back of nanostructured ‘black silicon’ solar cells", J. of Photonics for Energy, 8(3), 034001 (2018)! Congratulations Wenqi! Well done!

September 17, 2018: Suram Liyanage joins Schneider Electric as an Electronics Engineering Intern! Congratulations Suram!

September 10, 2018: Professor Toor featured in UI Communications Ideas Workshop discussing our biosensor work. Click on the image to watch the video. 

Still shot of Fatima Toor from the video


July 30, 2018: Professor Toor is invited by the Director, Professor Karim Abdel-Malek, and has accepted to join the Center for Computer Aided Design at the University of Iowa as a faculty researcher!

July 25, 2018: Clarissa DietzOlivia Haider, and Suram Liyanage present their research at the 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research Conference to be held on July 25th, 2018 at IMU: 

  • Clarissa Dietz, Wenqi  Duan, Fatima Toor, "Sol-gel films for biosensors: Process Development and Characterization of Morphology and Optical Properties".
  • Olivia Haider, Wenqi Duan, Fatima Toor, "Plasmon resonance due to copper nanoparticles to increase nanowire-based biosensor sensitivity".
  • Suram Liyanage, Mitchell Coleman, Fatima Toor, "Mid-Infrared Interband Cascade Laser based System for Preferential Tissue Ablation of Residual Soft Tissue Sarcoma".

July 16, 2018: Professor Toor's interview is posted on the OSA Stories YouTube page. Key messages: okay to fail, value your colleagues, and find time to figure out time travel! :-)

Images from Prof. Toor's OSA interview


July 2, 2018: Professor Toor's editorial on the needs for the commercialization of Si-based tandem photovoltaic (PV) modules is published in the SPIE Professional July 2018 issue: 

Photo of editorial page


June 26, 2018: Toor group summer movie outing...the fearless group members, nothing deters them - not even an Indoraptor, a genetically engineered marvel!

Photo of Toor group on movie outing


June 21, 2018: Belin Blank Center-WiSE Junior Science Institute Camp run by Prof. Toor, Wenqi, Tori, in collaboration with Prof. Rebecca Dodd and team, and Ms. Chelle Lehman to demonstrate 7th-9th grade female students the amazing properties of optics and microscopes to inspire the next generation of female photonics researchers!

Photos from WISE camp


June 16, 2018: Professor Toor speaks at the 2018 Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) 97th National Meeting hosted by the University of Iowa from June 15-16, 2018. The title of the talk was: Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. Here is the news coverage of the event: A weekend of Growing Wiser & In Strength at GWIS National Meeting 2018

June 14, 2018: The Toor group rocks the show at the 2018 World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC-7) that was held at Waikoloa, HI (the 50th state of the US). Amir's talk: "A Comparison Study of the Performance of South/North-facing vs East/West-facing Bifacial Modules under Diffuse Shading Conditions" was the Finalist for the Best Student Paper Award and Wenqi's poster: "Performance optimization techniques for the front and back of nanostructured ‘black silicon’ solar cells" was the Finalist for the Best Student Poster Award. Good job both of you!

Amir presenting
Audience during Amir's presentation
Wenqi discussing poster
Wenqi and Amir with their poster

Some photos of Hawaii fun including the historic volcano eruption:

Wenqi in Hawaii
Amir in Hawaii
Prof. Toor in helicopter
Aerial photo of volcano
Aerial photo of lava running into ocean


June 8, 2018: Xin Jin successfully interviews and offered a job at a tech startup in Albuquerque, NM: Armonica Technologies ( to develop a microfluidics platform for accurate genomic analysis. Really proud of Xin! Congratulations!

May 10, 2018: Amir Asgharzadeh does indeed land the amazing internship at SunPower for summer 2018 to work on bifacial PV system performance modeling! Congratulations Amir! Well done!

May 8, 2018:  Bingtao Gao and Wenqi Duan pass the ECE Ph.D. qualifying exam with flying colors! Congratulations three of you! Well done!

May 2, 2018Amir gives an excellent talk at the 10th PVPMC Workshop workshop in Albuquerque, NM, on our work on bifacial PV system performance modeling. Possibly landing an amazing summer internship! Stay tuned!

Photo of poster
Photo of Amir presenting


April 18, 2018: Congratulations to Aaron Silva for receiving the Outstanding Student Researcher Award! Professor Toor also won the Outstanding Research Mentor award! 

Photo of Prof. Toor and Aaron Silva


April 13, 2018: Fun photos from the 2018 College of Engineering Research Open House (courtesy: Wenqi Duan, thanks Wenqi!)

Alex, Amir, Wenqi, and Bingtao with their posters
Xin by his poster
Aaron, Joshua, Suram, and Clarissa with their posters
Seth and his poster



April 13, 2018: Abby Venable successfully defends her MS thesis! Congratulations! Well done!

Photos of Abby's defense and the party following


April 13, 2018: Toor lab members present 10 research posters at the 2018 College of Engineering Research Open House and three wins!

  1. Wenqi Duan, Bingtao Gao, Hui Zhi, Gregory LeFevre, Fatima Toor, "High Sensitivity Silicon Nanowire Biosensor for Estrogen Detection in Water Streams" - Winner of the Best Graduate Poster Award!
  2. Joshua Deutsch*, Aaron Silva, Fatima Toor, "Mie Scattering based Analytical Model to Compute Plasmon Resonances of Metal Nanoparticles" - Winner of the Best Undergraduate Poster Award!
  3. Amir Asgharzadeh Shishavan, Chris Deline, Joshua Stein, Fatima Toor, "Impact of Diffuse Shading Conditions on the Performance of Bifacial PV Modules" - Winner of the People's Choice Poster Award (3rd place out of 111 posters)
  4. Aaron Silva*, Wenqi Duan, Fatima Toor, "Enhanced Absorption of Nano-Textured Silicon through Silver Nanoparticle Decoration"
  5. Alex Walhof, Kailing Zhang, John Prineas, Fatima Toor, "InAs Nanowires for Infrared Optics: Selective Area Epitaxy Growth and Capacitance-Voltage Devices"
  6. Bingtao Gao, Wenqi Duan, Fatima Toor, "Electrical and Optical Performance Optimization of Nanostructured “Black Silicon” Solar Cells"
  7. Clarissa Dietz*, Wenqi Duan, Fatima Toor, "Sol-gel films for biosensors: Process Development and Characterization of Morphology and Optical Properties"
  8. Seth Lopez,* Jianchao Xu*, Bingtao Gao, Scott Shaw, Fatima Toor, "Exploring Electronic Properties of Ionic Liquids to Improve Components in Solar Cells, Organic Light Emitting Diodes, and Optical Sensors"
  9. Suram Liyanage*, Constance Erickson*, Rebecca Dodd, Munir Tanas, Ben Miller, Fatima Toor, "Analysis of Human and Animal Soft Tissue Sarcoma in the Mid-infrared utilizing an FTIR Spectrometer"
  10. Xin Jin, Fatima Toor, "Development of a broadband visible spectrum metal-dielectric metamaterial film for solar window coating applications"

* indicates undergraduate researchers

April 5, 2018Daniel Kelly, our lab alum, will be heading to the 2018 Summer REU in Big Data Analytics at Washington University in St. Louis! Congratulations Daniel! Well done!

April 4, 2018Clarissa Dietz and Suram Liyanage have been selected as 2018 Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) Research Fellows to work in our lab during the summer. Congratulations both of you!

April 4, 2018: Professor Toor has been selected to serve as the Associate Editor of the SPIE Journal of Photonics for Energy for a renewable term of three years. 

April 2, 2018: Professor Gregory LeFevre (PI) and Professor Toor (Co-PI) have been awarded the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center pilot grant to develop water quality detection biosensors. Congrats team!

March 29, 2018: Our startup, Firefly Photonics LLC, and UI, with Professor John Prineas, Professor Toor and team, have been awarded the Navy SBIR Phase I to develop high power VCSEL arrays. We were the only Iowa startup along with two Massachusetts-based startups that were selected! Very exciting!

March 19, 2018Joshua Deutsch, a sophomore Electrical and Computer Engineering student, has been accepted to a 2018 summer internship as an Incoming Product Engineering Intern with John Deere's Ag and Turf Division! Congratulations Joshua! Well done!

March 19, 2018: Professor Toor quoted in the Daily Iowan article: "Solar energy lights up on campus" which cites that as of 2016, the UI campus is at about 17.2% renewable energy generation!

March 16, 2018: Our manuscript: "A Sensitivity Study of the Impact of Installation Parameters and System Configuration on the Performance of Bifacial PV Arrays, Amir Asgharzadeh, Bill Marion, Chris Deline, Clifford Hansen, Joshua S. Stein, Fatima Toor", is accepted by IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics journal. Congratulations Amir and the U.S. DOE SuNLaMP teams at Sandia and NREL!

March 16, 2018: Both submitted papers by the Toor group are accepted at the 45th IEEE PVSC/World Conference on PV Energy Conversion (WCPEC-7) conference to be held from June 10th to 15th in Waikoloa, Hawaii.

  • Amir Asgharzadeh's paper titled: "A Comparison Study of the Performance of South/North-facing vs East/West-facing Bifacial Modules under Diffuse Shading Conditions"  is accepted for an oral presentation in the session titled: "Bifacial PV Modules" which will be on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Selected as a Finalist for the Best Student Paper Award Competition. Congratulations Amir! Well done!
  • Wenqi Duan's paper titled: "Performance optimization techniques for the front and back of nanostructured ‘black silicon’ solar cells" is accepted for a poster presentation in the session titled: "Surface Passivation, Optical Coating and Light Management" which will be on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

March 13, 2018: Professor Toor is nominated by the College of Engineering to serve as a committee member of the Advancement thrust of the Collegiate Strategic Plan committee at the University of Iowa. 

February 28, 2018Aaron Silva wins the DAAD RISE fellowship to conduct research at the IMTEK lab, University of Freiburg, Germany, during summer 2018! Congratulations Aaron!

February 24, 2018: Professor Toor's professional achievements and career advice for young professionals featured in the February 2018 IEEE Photonics Society newsletter (pages 13-14).

Photo of spotlight article


February 13, 2018Josh Larson, one of the Toor group alumni, traveled to Norway earlier this month as one of two first UI students—and one of the two first Americans — to participate in an intensive, four-and-a-half-day international program to design, build, and fly a sounding rocket toward the atmosphere’s outer boundaries. Congratulations Josh! News coverage is available here.

February 7, 2018: Professor Toor receives a letter of recognition from John C. Keller, University of Iowa Interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development! Thank you to the team at the Office of Vice President of Research for all its support to our team in submitting high quality grants that enables us to win them and conduct world class research on-campus! 

Photo of letter from John Keller

November 22, 2017: Professor Toor receives a letter of recognition from the University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld! Thank you to the university for the recognition! UI's colleagues and students provide the necessary support to achieve excellence, not much would be possible without them, so thank you to the lab's collaborators and students.

Photo of letter from Bruce Harreld


November 15, 2017Aaron Silva and Daniel Kelly present their research at the 2017 Fall Undergraduate Research Festival! Excellent work both of you!

Photo of Aaron discussing his poster
Photo of Daniel discussing his poster


October 22, 2017: Our Applied Optics special feature on "Near- to mid-IR (1–13 μm) III-V semiconductor lasers" has been published! Congratulations to Dr. Shamsul Arafin of UCSB, Dr. Pengda Hong of Onyx Optics, CA and Prof. Kaikai Xu of University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, the co-editors for this successful effort! Includes review articles by world leaders: Prof. Manijeh Razeghi of Northwestern University and Prof. Arkadiy Lyakh of University of Central Florida.

October 12, 2017: On behalf of the President of the Optical Society of America, Professor Toor is selected to serve as one of the two Technical Group Development Chairs on the Board of Meetings for a three-year term beginning January 1st, 2018 and ending December 31st, 2020.  

October 10, 2017: Professor Toor is selected as a finalist in the Research Innovation and Leadership category for the prestigious 2017 Iowa Women of Innovation Awards, hosted by the Technology Association of Iowa. This is a result of the exceptional Toor group team members who continue to work hard in a collaborative environment! Thank you, team! And also due to the amazingly generous, patient, and brilliant collaborators our team works with on-campus!  Thank you, Toor group collaborators!

July 26, 2017: Aaron Silva presents his research work at the 2017 Summer Undergraduate Research Conference. His graduate student mentor was Wenqi Duan. Good work both of you!

Photo of Wenqi and Aaron


June 30, 2017: Logan Nichols receives the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates funding to work in our lab during summer 2017.

June 28, 2017: Our biosensor research work is featured in the Iowa Engineer magazine's 2017 no. 2 issueWenqi Duan and Logan Nichols are center stage! Congratulations to both of them!

Photo of Aaron, Wenqi, and Prof. Toor


June 15, 2017: Amir Asgharzadeh and K A S M Ehteshamul Haque are awarded the 2017 Graduate Student Senate (GSS) travel award to present their respective presentations at the 44th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in Washington DC.

May 15, 2017Abby Venable wins the Department of Defense scholarship under the Science, Mathematics, And Research for Transformation (SMART) Defense Education Program! Congratulations Abby! This news is featured on the University of Iowa College of Engineering website:

May 10, 2017Amir Asgharzadeh presents an excellent talk on bifacial PV system performance analysis utilizing ray tracing at the 8th PVPMC workshop!

Photo of Amir


May 7, 2017:  Professor Toor receives the University of Iowa International Programs and the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization's international travel award to attend and present an invited talk at the 2017 Photonics North conference!

April 27, 2017: Amir Asgharzadeh rocks it on the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination and passes it with flying colors! Congratulations Amir!

April 24, 2017: David Wu wins the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies grant to spend summer 2017 in Hong Kong! Congratulations David!

April 20, 2017: Our manuscript: "Analytical model for simulating thin-film/wafer-based tandem junction solar cells, Lauren Davidson, K A S M Ehteshamul Haque, and Fatima Toor", is accepted by Solar Energy journal. Congratulations Lauren and Ehteshamul!

April 19, 2017: K A S M Ehteshamul Haque is selected to receive funding by the conference organizers to attend the 44th IEEE PVSC conference this year in Washington, DC, as a Graduate Student Assistant (GSA). Congratulations Ehteshamul!

April 18, 2017: Professor Toor will be presenting the talk titled: "Performance enhancement of solar cells utilizing nanoscale structures and films", at the 2017 OSTC Annual Symposium.

April 18, 2017: Both abstracts submitted to the 2017 EU PVSEC to be held in Amsterdam from September 25-29, 2017, get accepted: 

  • Joshua S. Stein, Daniel Riley, Matthew Lave, Chris Deline, Fatima Toor, Clifford Hansen, "Outdoor Field Performance from Bifacial Photovoltaic Modules and Systems", is accepted for an oral presentation on Wednesday, September 27, 2017.
  • Clifford Hansen, Daniel Riley, Matthew Lave, Chris Deline, Amir Asgharzadeh, Fatima Toor, Joshua Stein, "A Detailed Performance Model for Bifacial PV Modules", is accepted for a poster presentation on Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

April 14, 2017: Lauren Davidson passed her Masters of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering thesis defense! During her tenure at UIowa as a BS/MS student, she received several accolades for exceptional academic performance as well as two best poster awards. She presented her research at the 2016 SPIE Photonics West conference, and is a lead author on one in review journal publication and a co-author on two published journal publications. This summer she will start as a Power Electronics Control Software Engineer at John Deere Electronics Solutions, Fargo, ND. Congratulations Lauren!

Collage of photos from Lauren's defense party


April 7, 2017: We are proud of Josh Larson for getting accepted to the 2017 SULI program to conduct research at the DIII-D facility and attend a workshop at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab this summer. Congratulations Josh!

April 6, 2017: The group presented six high quality research posters at the 2017 University of Iowa College of Engineering Research Open House! Poster presenters and their poster titles are as follows:

  1. Amir Asgharzadeh Shishavan, The Effect of PV System Size and Installation Parameters on the Performance of Bifacial Arrays
  2. Lauren Davidson, Improved Efficiency of Silicon Solar Cells utilizing Sputtered Silicon Nitride Films (Best graduate student poster winner!)
  3. Wenqi Duan,  A Novel Approach to the Development of a Highly Sensitive Silicon Nanowire Biosensor
  4. K A S M Ehteshamul Haque, Copper Catalyzed Etched Nanoporous Black Silicon for Efficient Solar Cells
  5. Xin Jin, Spectrally-selective solar window coatings to improve energy efficiency
  6. Joseph Sink,  E-beam lithography: Nanohole patterning and InAs nanowire-based device fabrication

April 2, 2017: Professor Toor's research is featured on the 2017 Dare to Discover campaign organized by the OVPR's office to highlight the inspiring work that profoundly benefits the public good by University of Iowa faculty and alumni.

March 27, 2017: Both submitted papers from the Toor group are accepted at the 44th IEEE PVSC conference to be held from June 25th to 30th in Washington, DC.

  • Amir Asgharzadeh's paper titled: "Analysis of the Impact of Installation Parameters and System Size on Bifacial Gain and Energy Yield of PV Systems"  is accepted for an oral presentation for the session titled: "Simulation and Optimization of Systems" to be held on Friday, June 30th, 2017 at 8:30 am.
  • K A S M Ehteshamul Haque's paper titled: "Extremely Low Reflectivity Nanoporous Black Silicon by Copper Catalyzed Etching for Efficient Solar Cells" is accepted for a poster presentation for the session titled: "Modeling, Light Management and Passivation" to be held on Monday, June 26th, 2017 at 3:30 pm.

March 24, 2017: Professors LeFevre and Toor are awarded the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination (CHEEC) grant to develop a biosensor that enables monitoring of water quality in Iowa streams. 

March 24, 2017: Professor Toor will be giving an invited talk at the 2017 Photonics North conference on our bifacial PV project in collaboration with Sandia and NREL. The conference will be held from June 6th to 8th, 2017 in Ottawa, Canada.

March 24, 2017: Professor Toor will be attending the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery annual conference in San Diego, CA from April 7th to 9th, 2017.

March 17, 2017: Wenqi Duan is accorded an Honorable Mention for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which is considered a significant national academic achievement. Congratulations Wenqi!

March 14, 2017: Amir Asgharzadeh's research on bifacial PV modeling is accepted for an oral presentation at the 8th PVPMC workshop to be held on May 9th-10th, 2017 at Tamaya Resort, Santa Anna Pueblo, New Mexico, USA.

January 23, 2017: Professor Toor, along with Dr. Shamsul Arafin of UCSB and Kaikai Xu of UESTC, is a co-editor for OSA's Applied Optics feature on Near- to mid-IR (1-13 µm) III-V Semiconductor Lasers. More information on the feature is available here.

January 18, 2017: Professor Toor is awarded seed funding from the Sarcoma Multidisciplinary Oncology Group to develop a laser-based differential ablation system.

October 26, 2016:  CBJ's 40 under Forty article gets published online and features Professor Toor's profile.  Thank you to the University of Iowa colleagues for this recognition! 

40 under forty illustration


October 20, 2016: Professor Toor attends the CBJ's 40 under Forty award ceremony joined by family and colleagues from the University of Iowa: Vice President of Research Daniel Reed, Assistant Vice President of Research Ann Ricketts, Dean of College of Engineering Alec Scranton, Department Chair of ECE Department ErWei Bai, Associate Director of Licensing Jane Garrity, and Professor of Physics John Prineas.

Group photo of 40 under Forty awardees


October 19, 2016: Professor Toor is the finalist in the Rising Star category for the prestigious 2016 Iowa Women of Innovation Awards!  She was nominated by the Office of the Vice President of Research at the University of Iowa.

October 8, 2016: Professor Toor's editorial on the perovskite solar cell fever gets published in the SPIE Professional Magazine!

September 12, 2016: Professor Toor presents on bifacial photovoltaic technology at a workshop on PV performance modeling organized by the National Renewable Energy Lab at the 2016 Solar Power International conference.

September 12, 2016: Professor Toor is selected as one of the Forty Under 40 award honorees for 2016 in Iowa by the University of Iowa! She was nominated by the Office of the Vice President of Research at the University of Iowa. More info at:

August 31, 2016: AmirWenqi, and Logan present their research at the 2016 SPIE Optics and Photonics Conference, San Diego, CA.

Wenqi presenting


July 12, 2016: The Toor Lab wins National Science Foundation funding (~$375,000!) to develop next generation III-V photonics. This project is in collaboration with Professors John Prineas and Tom Boggess.

June 8th, 2016: Amir presents his poster at the IEEE PVSC conference on the performance analysis of PV systems installed at the University of Iowa:

Amir and his poster


June 2nd, 2016: Toor Group wins Iowa Energy Center's Opportunity Grant (~$100K!) for developing tandem solar cells based on silicon. Super exciting!

May 9th, 2016: Professor Toor, along with Arthur Onno of University College London, are guest editors for the Special Section of the Journal of Photonics for Energy (JPE) on Tandem Junction Solar Cells. If you are interested in submitting an invited paper, please contact me via email. Details below:

Photo of call for papers


May 5th, 2016: Professor Toor makes it to the news again and quoted in Boston Globe: Solar silicon company gets $10m to help build new factory

April 25th, 2016: Wenqi Duan,  Logan Nichols, and Leland Nordin  get accepted for oral presentations at the 2016 SPIE Optics + Photonics conference. 

  • "Surface characterization of nanostructured silicon using impedance spectroscopy", Wenqi Duan and Fatima Toor
  • "Thermal characterization of nanoporous 'black silicon' surfaces", Logan Nichols, Wenqi Duan, and Fatima Toor 
  • "PMMA-based ophthalmic contact lens for vision correction of strabismus", Leland Nordin, Paul Tjossem, Michael Abramoff, and Fatima Toor

April 21st, 2016: Professor Toor is awarded the Targeted Industries Internship Program Award by the Iowa Economic Development Authority to fund Logan Nichols's research work during summer 2016.

April 11th, 2016: Joshua Larson, one of our star students, wins the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Excellence Award! 

April 11th, 2016: Lauren Davidson wins the 2016 Best Undergraduate Poster Award at the University of Iowa College of Engineering Research Open House. She is also the recipient of the Kertz Senior Merit Award. Congratulations to our super star! :-)

April 11th, 2016: Professor Toor, along with Dr. Frederic Roux of CEA, France and Dr. Mark Spratt of G24 Power Limited, UK, are guest editors for the Special Section of the Journal of Photonics for Energy (JPE) on Solar and Photovoltaic Window Films. If you are interested in submitting an invited paper, please contact me via email. Details below:

Photo of call for papers


April 9th, 2016: Professor Toor featured in a video on female students' recruitment and retention in engineering at the University of Iowa:

April 1st, 2016: Joshua Larson and Matthew Thommana win the 2016 Summer ICRU Fellowship to continue work on developing the multiwavelength and multispecies gas sensor.

March 16th, 2016: Professor Toor, in collaboration with Professors Aliasger SalemAl Klingelhutz, and James Ankrum, wins the Internal Funding Initiative grant to fund research on studying fat cells.

March 11th, 2016: Amir's paper gets accepted for a poster presentation at the 43rd IEEE PVSC conference. We are co-authors on two other papers via the SuNLaMP project with Sandia and NREL:

  1. Amir Asgharzadeh, Eric Foreseman, and Fatima Toor, "Performance Analysis of Photovoltaic Systems Installed at The University of Iowa Humid Continental Climate Zone: Modeling and Measurements from 2011 to 2014."
  2. Clifford W. Hansen, Chris Deline, Sara MacAlpine, Bill Marion, Amir Asgharzadeh, Fatima Toor, Joshua S. Stein, "Analysis of Irradiance Models for Bifacial PV Modules."
  3. Chris Deline, Sara MacAlpine, Bill Marion, Fatima Toor, Amir Shishavan, and Joshua S. Stein, "Evaluation and Field Assessment of Bifacial Photovoltaic Module Power Rating Methodologies."

March 9th, 2016: Wenqi and Professor Toor get profiled in the "Celebrating Women in Engineering" IowaNow article. 

March 6th, 2016: Professor Toor is appointed as a reviewer for the SPIE Journal of Photonics Energy. Invited to plan a special issue on solar/PV window coatings.

February 25th, 2016: Wenqi Duan and Professor Toor get interviewed for their work on solar cells for cancer detection by the local news channel: 

Still shot from video


February 25th, 2016: The Toor group is hosting Dr. Joshua Stephenson Stein of Sandia National Labs. Details below:

Modeling the Performance of Photovoltaic Systems using the Open Source PVLIB Toolbox in Matlab and Python
Dr. Joshua Stephenson Stein
Distinguished Member of Technical Staff
Sandia National Laboratories
Thursday February 25th 2016 3:30 PM to 4:20 PM
Room 2229 SC

PVLIB is a set of open source modeling functions that allow users to simulate most aspects of photovoltaic (PV) system performance. The functions, in both Matlab and Python, provide users the ability to track the energy of the Sun as it interacts with a PV system and is eventually transformed into usable electric energy that is fed to the grid.  This talk will combine an overview of the mathematical and conceptual models used to describe PV system performance as well as demonstrate how these models can easily be run using the PVLIB suite of high level functions.  Come learn how to predict the output of a solar PV system!

Joshua Stein PhD. is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque New Mexico, and works in the area of photovoltaic performance and grid integration. He currently is the technical program lead for a  network of five PV Regional Test Centers in diverse climates across the US.  He develops and validates models of solar irradiance, PV system performance, reliability, and PV interactions with the grid.  Joshua is also the principle investigator on a  joint project with the University of Iowa and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that aims to better understand the performance advantages of bifacial photovoltaic technologies.  Joshua leads the PV Performance Modeling Collaborative  ( and is a member of the International Energy Agency PVPS Task 13 Working Group on PV performance and reliability.  He holds a PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Earth Sciences and spent more than a  decade modeling the flow and transport in seafloor hydrothermal systems and underground nuclear waste repositories before transitioning into photovoltaics in 2009.  


February 15th, 2016: Professor Toor, in collaboration with Professors Michael Flatt​e' and Markus Wohlegennant, wins the Internal Funding Initiative grant to fund research on tandem junction solar cells.

February 12th, 2016: Professor Toor is elected to lead the Laser Systems Technical Group within the Optical Society of America. 

February 3rd, 2016: Professor Toor, Wenqi, and Logan get featured for their work on black silicon solar cells and the cells' use in cancer biomarker detection.

IowaNOW coverage: Solar cells show promise for cancer testing

College of Engineering news weblink: Solar Cells Show Promise for Cancer Testing

Photo of Logan, Wenqi, and Prof. Toor in the lab
Gloved hand holding sensor chip


January 23rd, 2016: Professor Toor, Wenqi, Ehteshamul, Ella, and Jason ran the Photonics Camp with some amazing female role models, Michelle Evans and Chelle Lehman today! The camp received more enrollment than we had planned indicating there is not shortage of smart little girls in Eastern Iowa! We had 100% attendance! Smile-filled snapshots below:

Photonics camp participants
Photo collage of photonics camp participants


January 6th, 2016: Research abstracts submitted by Ella and Josh get accepted for oral presentations at the 2016 APS March Meeting! Their talk titles are:

See you at the meeting in March!

December 21st, 2015: In a landmark legislation today, lawmakers in the House and Senate passed a spending package that includes multi-year extensions of solar and wind tax credits, plus one-year extensions for a range of other renewable energy technologies. Under the legislation, the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar will be extended for another three years. It will then ramp down incrementally through 2021, and remain at 10 percent permanently beginning in 2022. This is great news for the U.S. and for the research that the Toor Lab and Advanced Silicon Group are conducting! Cheers! 

December 19th, 2015: Ella graduates with outstanding performance from the University of Iowa with a BSEE degree and a minor in Mathematics! She gets promoted within the Toor Lab from an Undergraduate Researcher during Fall 2015 to a full-time Research Staff Member starting January 2016 through June 2016. So proud of our Ella! 

Light Blox
Light Blox


December 15th, 2015: WenqiElla, and Professor Toor run a photonics camp using the Light Blox Education Kits awarded by the IEEE Photonics Society to the Toor Group. The event was held at the Linn County Community Center in Hiawatha, Iowa. Everyone had lots of fun! Plus we were featured on the Project Lead the Way Twitter Feed: and 

November 19th, 2015: Toor group in UIowa College of Engineering news:

(1) Mubeen, Ankrum, Toor Receive UI Research Foundation Funding to Help Faculty Turn Inventions into Businesses 

(2) Peeples, Toor Are Finalists for Technology Association of Iowa Awards

(3) Engineering Faculty Members Help Drive Informatics Initiative

November 17th, 2015: Professor Toor, Wenqi, and Ella will be running a photonics camp at the Young Women in STEM event on December 15th at the Linn County Regional Center in Hiawatha. We know how to have fun! 

Photonics camp flyer


November 17th, 2015: Toor Group is hosting an all girls Photonics STEM Camp for 4th and 6th graders! The camp is funded by the IEEE Photonics Society. Details are below.

November 16th, 2015: Professors Toor and Prineas win the Office of Vice President of Research and Economic Development (OVPRED) and Central Microscopy Research Facility (CMRF) Pilot Grant for TEM imaging of III-V nanowires that we are developing for a range of photonic applications.

November 10th, 2015: Professor Toor attends the Iowa Women of Innovation event sponsored by the Technology Association of Iowa. The plaque says it all. I value diversity as most people value religion. Now back to work!

Rising Star award


November 6th, 2015: Toor lab prints its first 3D printed prototype:

3D printed prototype

We plan to use the 3D printer for developing biomedical and environmental sensors as well as novel optical components.

October 30th, 2015: Wenqi wins forth place in the Iowa Art in Science competition hosted by the Iowa Microscopy Society and the Central Microscopy Research Facility. The winning image was that of pyramid-textured silicon. Congrats Wenqi!

Image of pyramid-textured silicon
Art in Science prize certificate


October 23rd, 2015: Professor Toor is one of the finalists for the 2015 Iowa Women of Innovation Awards in the "Rising Star" category by the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).

October 15th, 2015: Toor Group hosts Dr. Chris Deline and we do some photo-ops next to IATL building designed by Frank Gehry while at it. May be this will become a tradition for scientists the group hosts! 

Chris Deline and Fatima Toor
Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories


October 12th, 2015: Three of the Toor Group abstracts get accepted for oral presentations at the Photonics West 2016 conference! See you there!

October 12th, 2015: Professor Toor is nominated for the 2015 Iowa Women of Innovation Awards in the "Rising Star" category by the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).

October 9th, 2015: Professor Toor receives the Gap Funding from University of Iowa Ventures group in collaboration with Professor Aliasger Salem and Dr. Marcie Black for developing sensors to enable high sensitivity cancer biomarker detection. Gap funding is targeted at very early stage proof of concept to prototyping, through generation of data.

October 8th, 2015: Dr. Chris Deline of NREL PV Reliabilty and Performance Group will be visiting the University of Iowa and will be hosted by the Toor research group. The details of his talk are as follows:

Presentation Title:  “Mining PV system data to identify performance trends”
Dr. Chris Deline
PV Engineer
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO
Thursday October 15th 2015
Seamans Center 3505 at 3:30 PM – 4:20 PM

Abstract:  The rapid reduction in photovoltaic (PV) system cost has led to an exponential increase in the number of PV systems installed.  Questions have been raised about whether this rapid cost reduction has also resulted in a corresponding reduction in quality and performance for these PV systems.  We have also seen an increase in the adoption of distributed power electronics (micro inverters, power optimizers) in PV installations.  This provides us an unprecedented level of performance monitoring granularity within the PV system.  This talk will describe recent analysis of 50,000 PV systems in the US 1603 Treasury program, and will also discuss the impact of distributed electronics on the design and performance of residential PV systems.

Christopher Deline  received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2003, 2005, and 2008, respectively, all in electrical engineering.  His Ph.D. work involved experimental investigation of the magnetic nozzle region of electric propulsion thrusters at NASA MSFC and JSC.  Since 2008 he has been a research engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO in the photovoltaic performance and reliability group.  He has co-authored several reports on the performance impact of microinverters and DC-DC converters in PV systems under mismatched and shaded conditions.  His research includes PV field performance including thin-film PV performance and stabilization, mismatch and partial shading in PV systems and distributed power electronics for PV.  Chris manages the DOE Regional Test Center program at NREL for field assessment of novel PV technologies, and is principal investigator for multiple projects on PV field performance including degradation rate assessment and bifacial module power rating and energy production modeling.


October 1st, 2015: Professor Toor receives three-year U.S. Department of Energy funding as a sub-recipient to Sandia and NREL’s proposal to SunShot National Laboratory Multiyear Partnership (SuNLaMP) to study and contribute to establishing international standards for the bifacial PV technology.

August 6th, 2015:  Professor Toor receives funding from IEEE Photonics Society to run a "Introduce a Girl to Photonics" camp during the Fall 2015 semester! Please follow the #iLookLikeAnEngineer #iLookLikeAPhysicist #WomenInPhotonics campaign

#ILookLikeAnEngineer photo and quote


July 28th, 2015: Lauren Davidson and Ananda Guneratne present their research at the 2015 Iowa EPSCoR Annual Meeting.

Lauren Davidson and Ananda Guneratne by their posters


July 24th, 2015: Leland NordinLauren Davidson, and Ananda Guneratne along with Professsor Fatima Toor run a Solar Camp for Iowa First Nations College of Engineering visitors. Everyone had lots of fun! 

Girls at solar camp
Kid at solar camp
Kids at solar camp
Solar camp participants


June 15th, 2015: Professor Fatima Toor will be attending the 42nd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference and chairing the session on Module Materials, Manufacturing and Production (Area  9 - Orals) which will be held on Monday, June 15th 2015 from 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM. See you there!

May 1st, 2015: Professor Fatima Toor will be speaking at the University of Iowa 2015 Optical Science & Technology Center (OSTC) Annual Symposium on "High Performance Solar Cells and Coatings using Optical Metamaterials."

April 1st, 2015: Jason Ryan, a freshman undergraduate researcher in our group has accepted a six month co-op position at Rockwell Collins starting summer 2015! Congratulations Jason!