Panel and Rump Sessions
|Mon.||1200||Panel Session: Software-Defined Radios - Facts and Fantasies|
|Lawrence Kushner, Intersil Corp.|
|Timothy Hancock, MIT Lincoln Laboratory|
|The concept of software-defined radios (SDRs) originated decades ago in the defense sector, culminating in the development of a number of successful SDR demonstrations and deployments. The flexibility of SDR, with its ability to serve a wide variety of dynamically changing radio protocols, offers the military interoperability and maintainability not achievable with conventional radios.
Research in software-defined radios has accelerated during the past two decades, with work in universities, industry, and government advancing the concepts. Simultaneously, the relentless march of Moore's Law has made digital processing almost free, shifting more and more of the radio processing into the digital domain. The 'Holy Grail' of SDR, an antenna followed by an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and high-performance digital signal processor (DSP), now seems within reach. Similarly, one can conceive of the transmit path consisting of a DSP followed by a DAC and a power amplifier. Do these architectures make sense? Is SDR the best solution in terms of size, weight, power, cost, and cost-of-ownership, or is reconfigurable conventional RF hardware with a standard software interface a better solution?
Our panel of experts will discuss and debate the current state-of-the-art of radio design, and how SDR fits in. We will discuss what a software-defined radio is, what applications are best suited for SDR, and where future SDR research is heading. The audience will be encouraged to participate as well, submitting questions for the panel, engaging in thediscussion, and voting, in real-time, 'fact' or 'fantasy' after each topic of debate.
|Tue.||1200||Panel Session: System-on-a-Chip vs. Heterogeneous Integration vs. System in a Package|
|R. Bogdan Staszewski, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands|
|Only a decade ago, single-chip RF system-on-a-chip (SoC) integration was universally thought to be impossible or at least uneconomical. Today, the pioneering days of single-chip radios are largely over and efforts in innovation are applied to integrating multiple radio cores on the same silicon die. This effort has already resulted in commercial offerings of multi-core wireless connectivity and cellular radios from a few companies, but has revealed some interesting RF co-existence issues. For example, integrating additional radio cores appears to exponentially increase the overall design and production complexity, more so than for the case of isolated radios. Why is this, and what can be done to address it? What is the ultimate limit of multi-core radio integration?
As new wireless standards continue to emerge, it becomes necessary to support additional frequency bands and wider modulation bandwidths, while maintaining backwards compatibility with the existing standards. This puts enormous pressure on the complexity and quality of RF front-end components (power amplifiers, transmit/receive switches, band-pass filters and duplexers) to the point that they predominate in both cost and occupied space, which might suggest the reversal of the integration trend. Can the ever-multiplying antenna-interface components still be integrated? Do they follow a different integration path from that of RF-SoCs? Does the optimal system partitioning suggest the RF-SoC 'disintegration'?
The panel of distinguished experts from industry and academia, representing three camps (RF-SoC, RF module and compound semiconductor integration), will deliberate this interesting topic with the audiences participation.
|Tue.||1500||Rump Session: Microwave R&D Funding Policy & Trends|
|Robert Trew, National Science Foundation|
|Government funding for microwave and wireless research and development (R&D) within the U.S. is currently provided by a variety of government organizations such as the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Energy (DoE), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and other mission-oriented agencies. These agencies provide research funding in support of their technical programs, while the National Science Foundation (NSF), a non-mission agency, provides funding for basic science and engineering in all fields. Among these organizations, NSF and DoD have provided most of the research support for microwave and wireless R&D activities to explore basic scientific topics or potential military applications.
Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in microwave R&D proposal submissions, yet research budgets have not experienced commensurate increases. The inevitable result is success rates for obtaining research funding have noticeably deteriorated. This can be attributed to the fact that each agency has prioritized and focused their available research resources in areas and on topics consistent with agency's internal strategic planning. As a result, new initiatives have been defined and funding opportunities been determined with limited input from the research community. For example, there is currently much interest and evolving opportunities in 'innovation' and 'translational' types of research because these funding opportunities are directed towards economic development and job creation. In addition, energy and related research topics are experiencing rapid expansion, and there is also significant interest in millimeter-wave and terahertz technology.
In this panel, U.S. government agency representatives will discuss emerging research thrusts and new initiatives within their agencies, as well as related funding opportunities in the future. Emphasis will be on programs of interest to the IMS community.
|Wed.||1200||Panel Session: Commercial Viability of RF-MEMS: A Reality or a Dream?|
|Gabriel M. Rebeiz, University of California, San Diego|
|N. Scott Barker, University of Virginia|
|Recent results from wiSpry and Cavendish Kinetics on RF MEMS switched capacitors on CMOS substrates indicate excellent performance for tunable front-ends at 0.5-2.5 GHz. These devices can be used in multi-band antennas, matching networks between the antenna and the power amplifiers, and for high-Q designs (Q > 100), in tunable bandpass and notch filters. On the other side, Omron is selling DC-20 GHz SPDT switches for relays and instrumentation systems with more than 100 million cycle reliability (compare with 1 to 5 million cycles for standard relays), and Agilent is working on RF MEMS switches up to 67 GHz. There is also a lot of interest from Europe (EPCOS/TDK), and from several Taiwanese, Japanese and Korea companies, mostly for cell phone applications.
Therefore, the question to ask is: will RF MEMS become commercially viable, both at the cell phone level and at the relay level? And, what are the next steps to be taken in order to achieve this goal? As is well known, for cell phone applications, there is competition from other technologies, such as silicon-on-sapphire and silicon-on-insulator (SOS/SOI)-based CMOS switches and tuners, and barium strontium titanate (BST)-based tuners. The competition is not only on price and performance, but also on delivery schedules and numbers of units which can be delivered.
On the relay side, there is concern about cost and extended operation/reliability in the down-state position, all which have been addressed by Omron. This panel, composed of distinguished RF MEMS and SOS/SOI developers and users, will discuss the status of cell phone front-end tuners and relays, and what is needed to make RF MEMS or SOS/SOI a commercial success for tunable front-ends.
|Thu.||1200||Panel Session: Microwave Photonics: A Growing or Shrinking Value Proposition?|
|Steve Pappert, Office of Naval Research|
|Justin Hodiak, Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.|
|Microwave photonics continues to be an active area of research promising to bring new capabilities to RF and millimeter-wave (MMW) systems. The field of microwave photonics deals with the generation, transmission, detection, or processing of RF/MMW signals using optical techniques. A key benefit of using optical techniques for wideband electromagnetic systems is that the entire RF/MMW spectrum constitutes only a small fraction of the carrier optical frequency, promising very little frequency dependent dispersion and loss across entire microwave bands of interest. The potential for increased-bandwidth signal transmission and processing with high dynamic range has continued to attract significant government and commercial financial investment over the past few decades. This panel will examine the status of microwave photonics and take a close look at the progress being made in competing technologies, including high-speed RF and mixed-signal electronics.
The fundamental speed of semiconductor transistors (e.g., silicon, SiGe, III-V) has advanced dramatically over the past decade, with the fastest device technologies approaching terahertz values for fT and fmax. This increased electronic device and circuit speed is leading to RF systems with increased operating frequencies, bandwidths, and dynamic range, posing a significant threat to microwave photonics. Concurrently, commercial and military applications continue migrating to higher RF/MMW operating frequencies and larger signal bandwidths, generating a demand for these emerging technologies.
The focus of this panel session will be to take a balanced look at the existing value proposition for microwave photonics in light of the competing technologies and trends/requirements for future RF/MMW systems.