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Circuit Design and Implementation for Communications Systems


Research in this area covers a range of applications to communications systems. Examples include high-speed circuits for next generation optical systems, to system demonstrations and validation test-beds for wireless sensor networks.

1. Ultra-fast amplifier circuits:

A collaboration between UCL and Chalmers University of Technology has led to a world breakthrough in wide band amplifier circuit design. The work, led by Professor Herbert Zirath,  at Chalmers and Professor Izzat Darwazeh, at UCL is aiming to design circuits suited for communication at frequencies approaching the terahertz (THz) region. The first set of amplifier circuits were designed by PhD-student Klas Eriksson, manufactured by Teledyne in the USA and have recently been measured at Chalmers.The new amplifiers have achieved results close to design predictions, demonstrating exceptionally wide broad band operation; from low GHz frequencies to frequencies exceeding 235 GHz and provided a gain exceeding 15dB, translating to a gain bandwidth product of approximately 1.5 THz. The design team believes this amplifier is at least twice as fast (in terms of bandwidth) as the fastest amplifier reported to-date. Details of the work will be reported at the forthcoming IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IEEE-IMS) to be held in Florida in June 2014.

2. Wireless Sensor Network Demonstrations:

Early work in this area mainly focused on the development of hardware platforms to demonstrate network capabilities, included collaborations with the National Orthopaedic Hospital, a company developing compressor valve monitoring systems and colleagues in Civil Engineering. More recently the work has developed to consider techniques to improve the throughput and energy consumption in wireless sensor network, considering physical layer techniques such as adaptive spreading codes and network techniques such as situational awareness. For example we have considered as part of a recently completed project (EPSRC/TSB funded) with Rolls-Royce and SELEX ES, the development of an experimentally validated model of the deployment of wireless sensors within gas turbine engines [Dai 2012], [Dai 2013]. Work in the area of situational awareness has being funded by SELEX ES to consider sensor systems that adapt based on knowledge of the information they are gaining and carrying [Ghataoura 2011a], [Ghataoura 2011b].

The most recent work has used the UCL Wireless Sensor node test bed to demonstrate the significant performance gains can be achieve by adapting transmission rate based on channel conditions while still using standard 802.15.4 hardware [Qin 2014].

Academics involved in the theme:

Representative projects:

  • Widagate: Wireless Data Acquisition In Gas Turbine Engine Testing, Technology Strategy Board, TS/G002614/1 (P6677), £281,508, 03/2009 to 03/2012
  • Development Of Wireless Sensor Network Nodes, Electronic Enabled Products KTN, 01/2008 to 12/2008
  • Sensor Network Coverage And Technology Management, £45,000, 12/2007 to 11/2011, SELEX ES

Representative publications: