Adaptive Technologies for Next Generation Wireless Systems

Rony Amaya
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Mackenzie Building 4124


With the emergence of new wireless standards such as 5G, come new technological challenges requiring revolutionary approaches to help deal with the forecasted spectrum crunch as well as to deal with the future explosion in the number of new wireless devices and applications. An overview of adaptive and reconfigurable technologies capable of addressing these challenges will be presented.

The adoption of millimeter-wave spectrum for 5G architectures unlocks a new dimension by selectively finding users in space and future systems will feature large-scale deployment of antennas for massive MIMO or hybrid beamforming to enable “spatial selectivity”. While many have proposed adding hundreds if not thousands of antenna elements to a wireless radio, little has been said with respect to the power consumption and clock distribution of such systems. The research presented here is currently looking to implement highly scalable, adaptive low power clock distribution millimeter-wave systems based on injection-locked clock buffers capable of providing precise clock distribution to highly scalable antenna arrays while consuming as little power as possible in state-of-the-art deep submicron silicon-on-insulator CMOS technologies.

One of the key requirements for upcoming 5G systems is the need to bring the antenna closer to the radio front-end. This research proposes the use of active metamaterials with composite left-hand, right-hand transmission lines for the implementation of robust, high-performance adaptive and reconfigurable active antennas capable of scanning the surrounding environment in real-time and suitable for applications in autonomous Vehicle to Anything (V2X) technologies and 5G base stations. The use of engineered materials to convert the vehicle surface into the antenna.

The emergence of disruptive active technologies such as Gallium Nitride (GaN) has opened up new horizons by providing unprecedented high power densities, high linearity, lower noise and frequency capabilities in the microwave and millimeter-wave bands in support of next-generation 5G adaptive and reconfigurable base station and radar technology. This presentation will address research conducted in reconfigurable, adaptive solid-state front-end-modules operating at millimeter-wave frequencies in an attempt to “reinvent microwave engineering through GaN” by replacing obsolete Travelling Wave Tube (TWT) technology. In addition, the electrical properties of Gallium Nitride make it a “poster technology” for high power switched mode converters and this work will show how adaptive Wireless Power Transmission (WPT) can make use of these highly efficient GaN converters for use in next-generation electric vehicle charging technology. The proposed systems will exhibit lower sensitivity to load variations as well as compensation via frequency and impedance tuning to ensure optimum efficiency can be achieved in real-time.

Current research in adaptive technologies also addresses mid-range WPT capable of enabling self-charging vehicles operating on magnetic roads as well as Long-range RF WPT to illuminate autonomous vehicle thus creating a wireless power hub. Long-range RF WPT is capable of powering embedded sensors thus transforming vehicle surface into the ultimate sensor without the need for wires and batteries. Embedded Sensor Technology making use adaptive energy harvesting concepts will enable battery-less autonomous sensors with advanced functionally to unlock a new generation of RFID/IoT. Miniaturization is currently explored using integrated circuit technologies to reduce the size, weight, and cost allowing for large-scale deployment of sensors in the autonomous vehicle.

Finally, this presentation will address opportunities for a new generation of printable electronic components implemented on flexible substrates. By making use of printable inks, it is now possible to conform wireless components and antennas onto arbitrary surfaces while reducing size and cost of deployment. Current shortfalls of the novel printable processes can be overcome by the use of adaptive technologies such as active artificial magnetic conductors, lamination and active antenna arrays making use of tunable printed ferroelectric materials all currently being explored by this research.



Dr. Amaya received the M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees from Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada, in 2001 and 2005, respectively. He joined Skyworks Solutions, Ottawa Design Center, in 2002, as a Senior Electrical Engineer, where he was involved in the design of RFIC’s for wireless transceivers. Dr. Amaya held a Research Scientist position with the Communications Research Centre Canada from 2006 to 2015, where he was involved in research aimed at developing integrated RF circuit and system solutions from S-band to E-band and addressing packaging integration. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electronics, Carleton University, and his research interests include: intelligent wireless communications systems making use of enabling Microwave/RF technologies such as smart engineered surfaces, gallium nitride and metamaterials; Wireless power transfer, contactless communication links and power harvesting with applications to RFID and IoT systems; Monolithic integrated Si/GaN/GaAs circuits; high-performance microwave circuit packaging; integrated active antennas; monolithic microwave integrated circuits; low temperature co-fired ceramics; printed electronics; conformal antennas and arrays; micro-electro-mechanical systems; RF; millimeter-waves. He has authored or co-authored more than 80 technical papers in journals and conference proceedings and hold several patents. Dr. Amaya is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario.

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