As the demand for wireless services increases and the usable spectrum becomes ever more crowded, wireless systems need to become more robust against interference from many other signals. Radio receivers form the last line of defense, protecting wireless systems from today’s increasingly dynamic and densely occupied spectral environments. This project will develop a novel radio receiver architecture capable of operating across a large portion of the wireless spectrum while simultaneously being capable of adaptively suppressing interferences as they arise. Since interference may change as a function of time and location, an algorithm will be developed to help the receiver adaptively adjust its response to one or more of these interferers so that the system can take advantage of the wireless spectrum whenever and wherever there is a need. Recent explosive growth in internet usage have brought to light humanity’s increasing dependence on wireless access and the significant role wireless radio receivers have in enabling the continued expansion of connectivity. This project has specific plans to educate and train rising engineers, at both the graduate and undergraduate level, to think holistically about the components and operation of wireless systems and establish robust receivers for the future. Specifically, PIs will pilot a new seminar course needed to succeed in a doctoral degree program, which will include managing advisor-advisee relationship, reading and writing research papers, giving effective research presentations, and pursuing a career after graduation. PIs also have plan to partner with Diversity Programs in Engineering at Cornell to recruit incoming doctoral underrepresented minority (URM) students from across all engineering disciplines for the one-hour seminar each week during the Fall semester.

The project will horizontally integrate signal processing and algorithm development, circuit design and optimization, and RF component design and tuning to create a new class of receivers able to identify, adapt to, and suppress interference effects while maintaining maximum frequency agility. Research will focus on three integrated and interdependent thrust areas. Design of receiver front-ends that use passive networks (of inductors, capacitors, and other electromagnetic elements) to diversify the inputs from one or more antennas into a larger number of output taps, which then feed into a bank of reduced-power sub-receivers. Such a radio will be able to receive signals from a wide range of frequencies, while providing enough measures of both signal and interference that the byproducts of that interference can be separated from the signals using digital signal processing. This will involve both developing the required circuit theory and optimization tools and designing working prototypes at the printed circuit board and integrated circuit level. Development of digital-domain algorithms to provide control feedback to the front-end to enhance the required diversity for proper suppression. Development of adaptive RF magnetic devices to provide real-time tunability of the passive network. This will involve magnetic material and device development, and require close interaction with the circuit and algorithm designs, to best understand the optimal balance between different component trade-offs, such as between tuning range, component quality factor, and frequency of operation. The proposed new receivers have the potential to enable significant enhancement in adaptive interference mitigation and improve the robustness of future wireless systems.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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Cornell University
United States
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