Binary Research Group

Dr. Chen received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, USA in 1998. The BINARY lab (Biology, Information science and Nanotechnology Applications and Research laboratorY) was founded in Spring 2003. The mission is to provide a cross-disciplinary research environment for exploring new nanoscale device & circuit designs and nanotechnology for bio-medical applications. Our primary research focuses include:

  1. Developing a pulsed-wave technology platform to stimulate cell growth (with the applications in cell therapy, tissue engineering, mental health and antibody productions), and microorganism growth (with the applications in increasing renewable biofuel /algal oil, antibiotics, omega-3, and wine/beverage productions);
  2. Building functional nanomaterials for water filtration (removing microorganisms, organic chemicals and heavy metals), gene transformation of agricultural products, targeted cancer imaging and treatment, gene/peptide/microRNA delivery (especially across the blood-brain-barrier);
  3. Designing portable impedance-based point-of-care devices for detecting metabolic biomarkers, monitoring environmental toxins, sensing plant infections at an earlier stage, and screening pathogens for food safety.

The University of Alberta is home to cutting edge facilities such as the National Institute for Nanotechnology, as well as having the interdisciplinary expertise to be an epicentre for new waves of innovation in Biomedical Engineering. The University of Alberta was ranked 46th in the world for the impact of its engineering publications.


IEEE CASS Distinguished Lecturer talks at IEEE NEW YORK chapter and Tufts University    (27/04/2016)

As a part of IEEE CASS Distinguished lecturer series 2016, Dr. Jie Chen was invited to give a talk at IEEE New York Chapter and Tufts University, Boston, USA.  He was also invited to serve as a judge for the junior student project designs at Syracuse University, USA on April 21, 2016.

NSERC Discovery Grant Renewal in Ultra-low Power Circuit and System Design    (11/04/2016)

Grant Summary: Power consumption has become a key performance criterion for integrated circuit design, especially in battery-based portable systems. Decreasing supply voltage is one of the most efficient and universal techniques to reduce energy dissipation because power is proportional to the square of supply voltage. However, when CMOS devices are scaled down following Moore’s law, noise tolerance becomes the bottleneck for the viability of nanoscale circuits. Furthermore, the smaller noise margin in low-voltage CMOS systems renders them even more sensitive to noise. Soft faults (caused by inherent noise and signal coupling) and hard faults (caused by variability and defects of fabrication technologies) present an obvious problem in nanoscale circuits. Random and dynamic noise, however, do not decrease in the same proportion as supply voltage is scaled down, which becomes a major challenge for low-supply-voltage designs. This Discovery Grant will be used to support the applicant’s ongoing Markov Random Field (MRF) research. The longterm goal is to develop a game-changing probabilistic-based methodology, which can influence future CMOS design. MRF technology is commonly used in signal processing and communication systems. Its creative extension to hardware circuits (pioneered by the applicant) is both highly innovative and with the potential for great rewards in solving intrinsic soft faults and hard faults in nanoscale circuits. His co-authored milestone [ ... ]

Jie Chen was selected as an Associated Editor for IEEE Journal of Translation Engineering in Health and Medicine    (04/04/2016)

Jie Chen was selected as an Associated Editor for IEEE Journal of Translation Engineering in Health and Medicine. It has passed the National Library of Medicine's rigorous Sceintific Quality Review for inclusion in PubMed Central (PMC). For paper submission, please go to

Jie Chen received McCalla Professorship    (19/03/2016)

Announcing the 2016-2017 McCalla Professorships It is my pleasure to announce the recipients of the 2016-2017 McCalla Professorships: • JIE CHEN (Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering)
• GORDON GOW (Faculty of Extension)
• DEVEREAUX JENNINGS (Strategic Management and Organization, Alberta School of Business)
• WENDY HOGLUND (Psychology, Faculty of Arts)
• SIMON LANDHAUSSER (Renewable Resources, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences)
• KIM MISFELDT (Fine Arts and Humanities, Augustana Campus)
• RALF SCHIRRMACHER (Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry)
• JOHN WALDRON (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Faculty of Science) The abstract of each McCalla Professor has been posted at: The McCalla Professorship recognizes our colleagues' outstanding contributions to the university community and their commitment to integrate teaching, research and learning throughout their careers. This award allows the recipients to further explore and implement strategies integrating their teaching and research. The namesake for the award, Arthur Gilbert McCalla, combined his research in protein chemistry with his passion for teaching, and he was instrumental in developing and expanding graduate studies. He held many senior administrative roles at the University of Alberta, and he was the first Dean of the Faculty of Graduate St [ ... ]

IEEE CAS Distinguished Lecturer 2016-2017    (03/03/2016)

Dear Jie, I am writing to you on behalf of the CAS President, Franco Maloberti and the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society. We are pleased to notify you that you have been selected as an IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Distinguished Lecturer for 2016-2017. The mission of the CAS Distinguished Lecturer Program (DLP) is to serve the needs of the members of the CAS Society to enhance their professional knowledge and vitality by keeping them informed of the latest research results and their practical applications. We are honored to have you serve in this prestigious position in CAS. All information regarding the DLP process is listed here: Please let me know if you have any questions. Congratulations! Kind regards, Brittian Gimbel IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Administrator Phone +1 (352) 872-5544, ext. 302 Fax +1 (352) 872-5545

A conference paper has been accepted by 2016 IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting    (11/02/2016)

"Stochastic Modelling of Community Energy Storage System based on Diffusion Approximation" by Weiran Wang, Hao Liang and Jie Chen has been accepted by IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting, July 16-21, 2016 Boston.  Abstract:  With the high demand for renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, the future distribution systems and/or microgrids will face more challenges in energy management, due to the intermittency of renewable power generation. By buffering such uncertain power supplies, community energy storage (CES) systems can provide dispatchable capacities and are effective tools to harness renewable power in a community. However, the dispatch of a CES system is complicated due to the randomness in its state-of-charge (SoC) and thus, the randomness in dispatchable capacities. In order to address this problem, a stochastic model of CES system with wind power generation is reported in this paper. The power generation of each wind turbine is modelled using a Markov modulated rate process (MMRP), while the CES system is modelled as a queueing system with heterogeneous sources and constant output. Based on a diffusion approximation of the queue length, a closed-form representation of the cumulative distribution function (CDF) of the SoC of CES system can be derived. The analytical model is validated by a case study based on the wind power generation data obtained from Changling Wind Farm in Jilin Province of Northeast China.

An Impedance Detection Circuit for Applications in a Portable Biosensor System    (01/02/2016)

An Impedance Detection Circuit for Applications in a Portable Biosensor System (Accepted for the coming International Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2016 ( Abstract— As the world’s population ages, healthcare costs become heavy burdens worldwide. Portable point-of-care diagnostic devices, such as glucose meters, can significantly reduce the costs associated with patient care. There are many of small biological molecules present in biological samples which are of interest in healthcare applications. In this paper, a simple low-cost impedance detection circuit has been designed to detect different biomolecules such as DNA, proteins and other metabolites. In particular, the impedance across an electrode will change due to the binding of target biomolecules and gold nanoparticles.  Experimental results show that the device can measure impedance changes with accuracy in the range of ±3%. (Full Paper)

Implementation of Efficient Parallel Discrete Cosine Transform Using Stochastic Logic    (22/01/2016)

Implementation of Efficient Parallel Discrete Cosine Transform Using Stochastic Logic
This paper is accepted for the coming International Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2016 (
 Abstract—This paper provides a new scheme for the VLSI implementation of a parallel Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) using stochastic logic. Stochastic computation is a number representation, which can carry out complex computations with very low hardware cost. However, the delay of data output is proportional to the length of serial sequence. We provide a new area-saving parallel DCT design to improve the system throughput by using our proposed stochastic OR-adder and OR-AND-adder. Results show the proposed parallel stochastic DCT can meet the requirement of image processing while maintaining a 5% performance difference compared to the traditional DCT implementation. Our synthesized chip design using the TSMC CMOS 130nm technology also shows that the proposed parallel stochastic DCT is at least 10 times more efficient in area and delay than that of the traditional DCT and the serial stochastic DCT. (Full paper).

Area-Efficient Partial-Clique-Energy MRF Pair Design with Ultra-Low Supply Voltage    (22/01/2016)

Area-Efficient Partial-Clique-Energy MRF Pair Design with Ultra-Low Supply Voltage
This paper is accepted for the coming International Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2016 (
 Abstract—As the size of CMOS devices continues to scale down, the reliability of circuits becomes one of main challenges in low supply voltage designs. Markov Random Field (MRF) circuits, a probabilistic-based approach, can achieve higher noise immunity compared to traditional designs under conditions of ultra-low supply voltage and low threshold voltage. However, the basic MRF elements have complex structures and become a stringent factor that limits MRF-based VLSI design. In this paper, we provide a partial-clique-energy MRF (PMRF) design method, trading off the noise immunity for area efficiency. We then propose an Enhanced PMRF (EPMRF)-pair for multi-level and multi-function joint PMRF designs. The main idea is to use the joint clique energy of two complementary partial clique energies to make up performance losses. The measurement results show that, the proposed EPMRF pair can operate at 0.25 V with 10-4 dB output noise power with 5.6 dB input signal-noise ratio (SNR). With the 130 nm CMOS technology, the chip of our EPMRF based carrylook-ahead adder achieves 29% area-saving and 55% energysaving compared to existing ultra-low supply voltage fault tolerant designs.   (Full paper).  

Letter of Congratulation from the President of the Fudan University    (14/01/2016)


IEEE Fellow    (07/12/2015)

ECE alumnus Jie Chen was elevated to Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The highest grade of membership, IEEE Fellow, is attained through nomination by peers and approval by the IEEE Board of Directors for distinction in the profession. Chen was recognized for contributions to low-power and biomedical ultrasound circuits and devices. He was advised by Christine Kim Eminent Professor K. J. Ray Liu at the University of Maryland. Chen graduated with both his M.S. and Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, completing his studies in 1998. IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. There are more than 425,000 IEEE members in over 160 countries around the world. IEEE members are engineers, scientists, and allied professionals whose technical interests are rooted in electrical and computer sciences, engineering, and related disciplines. Chen is professor of Electrical Engineering and an adjunct professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB, Canada. He is also a research officer at the National Research Council/National Institute for Nanotechnology, Canada. Dr. Chen is a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of [ ... ]

Dr. Jie Chen was invited to give a Feature Presentation at "Engineering Expo 2015”     (02/10/2015)

(pleases refer to Bringing Star Trek medical technology to your basic home firstaid kit Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Jie Chen shows off a working model of a medical sensor that will conduct a suite of medical tests from your own home. Chen is speaking during Engineering Expo running 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 26, at the Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex. (Edmonton) Imagine the time, money, and lives that could be saved if we could use handheld technology that would quickly analyse our health and alert us to illnesses and disease. With the rise of sensors and new electronic devices to measure personal health, more advanced home health technology is on the horizon. You can learn more about what’s going on at the leading edge of research into this technology at Engineering Expo Sept. 26. Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Jie Chen is delivering a free talk on the subject. Entitled Turning your smart phone into a tricorder, the talk will focus on Chen’s research. He is developing a device that will be on par with the tricorder device made popular in Star Trek. Chen is developing a noninvasive handheld biosensor with a touchscreen that can be used by patients or physicians at home, on the go, or in the clinic to, in a matter of minutes, diagnose, monitor, and predict various health conditions including 50 plus common diseases that afflict more than 30 per cent of [ ... ]

Design of a Thermoacoustic Sensor for Low Intensity Ultrasound Measurements Based on an Artificial Neural Network    (19/08/2015)

By Jida Xing and Jie Chen  Was published in Sensors, 2015  "A novel two-layer thermoacoustic sensor based on an artificial neural network is described and investigated in this paper. The structure design improvement enables the sensor to reduce its measurement time from 20 s to 12 s. The artificial neural network algorithm is integrated in order to compensate for the influence of the temperature drifts, adapting the sensor for a range of ambient temperatures, and providing an accurate and consistent measurement of the ultrasound intensities. The experimental result show that the compensation provided by the artificial neural network reduced the temperature drift errors from more than 15% to 1%. The final results show that the new sensor achieves an average error of 1.31mW/cm2 over 18 measurement samples. The new sensor design is a low-cost alternative method that can provide rapid ultrasound intensity measurements without any complex set-up procedure. Although the radiation force balance is the golden standard method with minimal measurement error, the application of the technique is limited by the requirements of experience in regards to equipment set-up and operation. In addition, measurement accuracy is affected by background vibrations, which in turn limits its application in biology laboratories. The new thermoacoustic sensor design is an easy-to-operate alternative method for rapidly measuring low ultrasound intens [ ... ]

Killam Professorship    (22/06/2015)

(Edmonton) Jie Chen was thrilled to be named one of five University of Alberta recipients of a 2015 Killam Annual Professorship—less because of the personal recognition, and more because of the opportunities it opens up. “This recognition can bring me to the next level of excellence,” he said. A Killam can help open doors to further research collaborations, international awards, and funding opportunities, observed Chen. He takes particular pride in the fact that the Killam reflects all aspects of professorship. “The Killam Professorship is like a triathlon,” he said, “because it looks at your teaching, your research, and your community service.” The award represents a validation of Chen’s decision a decade ago to leave an Ivy League posting at Brown University for a fresh start at the U of A. “At the time, I was looking to work in a more multi-disciplinary area—more towards biomedical,” he said. “The National Research Council and its National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT—a world-class research facility operated jointly by the U of A and the NRC) were recruiting people worldwide.” The opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration began virtually the moment Chen arrived on campus. At an introductory workshop, Chen and other new faculty members were exploring ways to motivate students to study subjects they don’t like. “One of the other professors said, ‘I hate circuit design.’ So I stood up in front of my peers, an [ ... ]

Jie Chen will host a minisympsia and an invited session in coming EMBC'2015    (10/06/2015)

Jie Chen has proposed a minisympsia and an invited session in coming    37TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society MiCo - Milano Conference Center - Milan, Italy, August 25-29 2015  *The proposed sessions have been approved.
 TITLE: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Circuits and Systems (invited session) 1. Nitish V. Thakor from John Hopkins University will present the state of the art, novel technology and early experimental results to demonstrate progress towards peripheral nerve/muscle interface to the upper limb to achieve control of a dexterous prosthetic hand. 2. Mohamad Sawan from Polytechnique Montreal will present their finding in the interactions between parameters of the constant-current, biphasic square waveform with the intention of developing a stimulation efficient strategy. 3. Jie Chen from Univeristy of Alberta will present a pulsed wave device to increase hepatitis B vaccine production. The novelty is in its frequency (1.5MHz) and duty cycle (20%) of the pulsed wave design.  4. Wei Tang from New Mexico State University will present a 3Dprinted wearable backpack that allows chronic electrical stimulation of aquatic teleost fish. 5. Pedram Mohseni from Case Western Reserve University will present their current progress towards developing a miniaturized brain-machine-spinal cord interface that converts in real time the neural command signals recorded from the brain to electrical [ ... ]

"Low-intensity Pulsed Ultrasound for Stimulating Algal Oil Production" was accetped    (15/03/2015)

"Low-intensity Pulsed Ultrasound for Stimulating Algal Oil Production" was accetped by 5th International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts, San Diego, USA, June 7-10, 2015

Appointed as an Associate Editor    (15/03/2015)

Appointed as an Associate Editor of Springer Journal of Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing in January 2015

US patent issued    (15/03/2015)

"Enhanced Animal Cell Growth Using Ultrasound", US patent, 8962290 B2 was issued Feb. 24, 2015

Treating Cancer Stem Cells and Cancer Metastasis Using Glucose-coated Gold Nanoparticles    (24/01/2015)

 "Treating Cancer Stem Cells and Cancer Metastasis Using Glucose-coated Gold Nanoparticles", to be for published in International Journal of Nanomedicine. Abstract:  Cancer ranks among the leading causes of human mortality. Cancer becomes intractable when it spreads from the primary tumor site to various organs (such as bone, lung, liver, and brain). Unlike solid tumor cells, cancer stem cells and metastatic cancer cells grow in a non-attached (suspension) form when moving from their source to other locations in the body. Due to the nature of non-attached growth, metastasis is often first detected in the circulatory systems, for instance in a lymph node near the primary tumor. Cancer research over the past several decades has primarily focused on treating solid tumors, but targeted therapy to treat cancer stem cells and cancer metastasis has yet to be developed. Because cancers undergo faster metabolism and consume more glucose than normal cells, glucose was chosen in this study as a reagent to target cancer cells. In particular, by covalently binding gold nanoparticles (GNPs) with thio-PEG (Polyethylene glycol) and thio-glucose, the resulting functionalized GNPs (Glu-GNPs) were created for targeted treatment of cancer metastasis and cancer stem cells. Suspension cancer cell THP-1 (human monocytic cell line derived from acute monocytic leukemia patients) was selected because it has properties similar to cancer stem cells and has been used as a metastatic cance [ ... ]

invited talk at Cambridge Healthtech Institute's 14th Annual PEPTALK     (24/01/2015)

Invited to give a talk "Increase Monoclonal Antibody Production Using Low-Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound" in 14th Annual PEPTALK, January 19-23, 2015 in San Diego. The conference was organized by Cambridge Healthtech Institute.   Asked to chair the session "CHO cells -- Improving Production and Product Quality"

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Dr. Jie Chen