P1 - Satellite front-end system for non-terrestrial 6G
The aim of this PhD project is to develop innovative phased arrays architectures for 6G satellites, that must radiate multiple beams in Rx/Tx with high gain over a wide angular sector in reconfigurable frequency bands, while complying with severe power consumption and accommodation constraints. New concepts based on deployable phased arrays must be explored with integrated radiating elements with wide angle scanning capability over multiple bands, with hybrid beamforming (RF, digital, photonic), distributed filtering and amplification, resulting in a low profile, integrated and deployable antenna. The expected outcome of this project is an assessment of several antenna architectures based on different approaches. The key building blocks must be designed and prototyped. Moreover, specifications of key building blocks for other PhD projects shall be derived.
P2 - Integrated Photonic-RF front-end
The objective of this PhD project is to explore and develop integrated photonic RF front-end solutions based on the latest integrated photonics platforms (incl. InP, Silicon, Ln/Si, IMOS) to squeeze the SWAP of these interfaces while maintaining the required level of RF performance. The PhD student is expected to study suitable modulator technologies for both phase and intensity modulation (with MZM or electro-absorption modulators) and to design an integrated photonic front-end for transmission of Ka-band RF signals with and without frequency conversion. The compatibility and potential for co-integration with optical beamforming shall be analyzed. The expected outcome includes a SWAP analysis for integrated photonic-RF front-ends considering the latest integrated photonics platforms and different modulator technologies as well as the design and prototype of a novel power-efficient integrated photonic-RF front-end.
P3 - Integrated HPA-antenna co-design at Ka-band
This project aims at the design of a high efficiency and compact front-end radiating module for Ka-band flat panel antennas. The thickness, the mass and the cost of the front-end radiating modules shall be significantly reduced while keeping a high level of performance. This shall be achieved through the co-design between the radiating elements and the amplifiers. Circular polarisation will be addressed.
P4 - Integrated HPA-antenna co-design at L/S-band
The research will address the integrated design of linearized and efficiency enhanced dual-band PA architectures with multi-functional on-antenna combining functionality for circularly dual-polarized active antenna array operation at C/L-bands. Multi-domain nonlinear analysis techniques, involving signals, circuits- and EM characteristics will be developed for prediction of the performance of array unit cells in large array satellite application scenarios. The expected outcomes of this project is a proof-of-concept demonstration of an energy efficient unit cell for C/L-band active antenna transceiver. Moreover, a detailed prediction of performance in terms of linearity, efficiency and radiated field pattern when used in 6G satellite link applications shall be a main outcome of the study.
P5 - On-antenna multi-functional power combining technologies for mm-wave frequencies
The PhD student is expected to develop a new method for on-antenna multi-functional power combining at mm-wave frequencies that can enable linearly dual-polarized, full duplex active antenna systems. The key enabler as presently considered is distributed active feeding of the radiating antenna element that provides tailored power combining and impedance matching with mm-wave power amplifiers. A proof-of-concept demonstration in simulations, joint electromagnetic-circuit simulation results, experimental prototype, and experimental validation results for the developed method for on-antenna multi-functional power combining for dual-polarized, full duplex active antenna systems are expected outcomes of this PhD project.
P6 - Integrated filtering antenna array solutions for SatCom
The main objective of this project is to develop innovative integrated filtering antenna array solutions for beyond-5G satellite communications. The project focus is on integration of pre-selection filtering and hybrid dielectric resonator antennas in multi-layered manufacturing and/or innovative packaging technology. Several filtering antenna architectures, manufacturing technologies and integration solutions with the IC shall be assessed and a novel filtering antenna topology shall be developed and extended to an array solution.
P7 - Generic phased array feed for ground station G/T optimisation and RFI resilience
In recent years phased array feeds have demonstrated significant improvement in the field-of-view of reflector antennas. This project aims to investigate the feasibility of applying the phased array feed technology in non-terrestrial communication networks. Towards this end, this work aims to demonstrate that such technology is able to optimize ground station antenna performance for maximum gain-to-noise ratio towards a single, or multiple, satellite(s) within a confined field-of-view, while at the same time spatially nulling local interfering radio frequency sources. In order to deploy a phased array receiver on various reflector systems, a generic phased array demonstrator is to be designed that would enable multi-beam coverage from different reflector antennas.
P8 - Advanced Manufacturing for high frequency feed systems
Additive manufacturing (AM) of high-frequency feed-systems is an emerging technological solution in the NTN communication domain since it can lead to a higher level of antenna-subsystems miniaturization and integration. AM of feed systems exhibit some criticalities in terms of dimensional accuracy and repeatability, surface roughness, and electrical conductivity. These criticalities will be addressed in this project by both improving the manufacturing processes and designing smart antenna-subsystem layouts that are customized to AM. Other advanced machining technologies, including e.g. silicon and metal micromachining, will be considered as viable solutions, also addressing future millimeter-wave and subTHz satellite payloads.
P9 - Dual-band mm-wave phased array for LEO SatCom broadband user terminal
P10 - 3D radiating elements integrated with RF/digital BFN on board
Nowadays, several 3D array elements are being developed in the millimetre wave bands. The development of a wide angle impedance matching (WAIM) layer in front of the array shall be evaluated in order to assure good matching at any scanning angle. Hybrid solutions of dual-polarized waveguide-based radiating elements will be developed to assure a high radiation efficiency. Besides optimizing the waveguide structures, a high aperture efficiency will be achieved by implementing proper director geometries in front of the waveguide apertures. In this way, sparse array solutions could be investigated to trade-off array complexity and scan angle capabilities (field-of-view). Both analog and digital beam forming strategies will be considered to achieve an integrated array building block with excellent RF, power, EMC, thermal and mechanical characteristics for future space applications.
P11 - Maximally sparse 3D antenna arrays
Recent research on multi-exponential analysis has demonstrated perfect signal recovery from sparsely sampled signals. This project aims to extend the application of this analysis to the spatial domain by applying the theory of multi-exponential analysis to the synthesis of a maximally sparse conformal antenna array enabling near-hemispherical field-of-view coverage. The theoretical framework developed through this research will be applied to the design of a demonstrator Low-Earth Orbit ground station 3D phased array antenna operating in K- (downlink) and Ka-band (uplink), with improved circular polarization purity and scan performance at near-horizon elevation angles.
P12 - Beam prediction for fast moving LEO
Both downlink and uplink beamforming will be necessary to overcome channel path loss. In the downlink, handovers between beams will occur frequently, while in the uplink the beams (which are narrow due to the link budget from power-limited ground terminals) must track the fast satellite accurately. We will utilize that satellite orbits are highly predictable, and design beam prediction algorithms to overcome the high speeds and rapid beam changes. The project aims at developing a novel beam prediction algorithm for non-terrestrial 6G communication.
P13 - Synchronisation under harsh Doppler
Frequency, phase and time synchronization will be necessary. Due to high speeds, the channel will occasionally be rapidly varying, and the Doppler effects are significantly larger than for conventional terrestrial-based networks. Here, we will develop techniques able to handle these harsh conditions. In particular, we intend to develop standalone synchronization solutions, not relying on external systems such as GNSS. As a starting point, we will study pilot-based solutions (frequency or time domain pilots), but also develop data-driven synchronization for more rapid updates. Pilot- and data-driven algorithms for synchronization in time, frequency and phase, under harsh Doppler and rapidly changing channel.
P14 - Dynamic high-pathloss doppler-enabled OtA emulator
System test solutions that include the antenna interface do not readily exist. Therefore, this project aims at developing a measurement solution to realistically emulate highly dynamic scenarios for communications. The outcome shall be a new concept, demonstrated in an anechoic chamber, which allows emulation characteristics (with a focus on doppler) currently implemented in costly and not-frequency-scalable electronics.