MIE’s Emmanuel Branlard and ECE’s Rajveer Nehra Join Talented Faculty in College of Engineering
Two talented and accomplished new faculty members – Emmanuel Branlard of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department and Rajveer Nehra of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department – have joined the College of Engineering (CoE), beginning in January of 2024.
Branlard comes to the CoE from the prestigious National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL in Boulder, Colorado), which specializes in the research and development of renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy-systems integration, and sustainable transportation. He joined the NREL in 2018 and has been working on multi-physics modelling of wind turbines, especially aerodynamics and structural dynamics, with a focus on low-to-mid-fidelity models.
Branlard says he has been “immersed in the field of wind energy since 2008, with a strong drive for theory and analytical methods…and applying multi-physics approaches in topics such as system dynamics, controls, aerodynamics, and structural dynamics.” In that context, he was the winner of the Excellent Young Wind Doctor Award of 2015 by the European Academy of Wind Energy.
At the NREL, Branlard worked on the research and development of multi-physics wind-turbine models, with applications in blade aerodynamics, blade design, aero-elastic-stability analyses, digital twins, floating turbines, and wind-farm flows. He also contributed to the development of NREL tools such as OpenFAST and FAST.Farm.
Branlard earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Wind Energy at the Technical University of Denmark after securing another M.S. in Aerospace at the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace and a B.S. in Mathematics at the Lycee du Parc.
Branlard also published a well-received book titled Wind Turbine Aerodynamics and Vorticity-based Methods: Fundamentals and Recent Applications, put out by Springer International Publishing in 2017. In addition, he contributed to the chapters on control, aerodynamics, and dynamics books in wind-energy’s bestselling textbook, Wind Energy Explained, Third Edition, authored by renowned MIE researchers James Manwell and Jon McGowan. It is due for publication by Wiley.
Nehra's research focuses on developing scalable and ultrafast nanophotonic systems for quantum information processing. These systems have applications in fault-tolerant quantum computing, all-optical quantum networks, and quantum-enhanced sensing and metrology techniques, offering significant advantages over their classical counterparts. His research uses tools from quantum optics, quantum information science, and nanophotonic materials and engineering.
Nehra received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Virginia, working on efficiently generating and characterizing quantum resources for photonic quantum technology. His dissertation earned the Allan Talbott Gwathmey Memorial and Outstanding Graduate Research awards. He got an integrated BS-MS degree from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, India, with a thesis in physics. Before UMass-Amherst, he held a visiting research scientist position at the University of Tokyo and a postdoctoral position at Caltech. He serves as a review editor for Frontiers in Physics - Quantum Engineering and Technology section and has published in top journals, including Science and Nature. In addition to serving as an Assistant Professor of ECE, he holds adjunct positions in the Department of Physics and the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst.
Nehra holds four patents for developing nanophotonic parametric quantum information information processors at room temperature with co-inventors from CalTech, Stanford, MIT, and NTT Research. He says, "he is excited to set up his lab and looks forward to synergistic collaborations with the growing quantum community at UMass to explore new research directions and advance the field of quantum technologies."
Nehra enjoys climbing mountains, long-distance running and biking, and listening to Indian classical music when not doing physics. (January 2024)