Coherent Distributed Antenna Arrays: Enabling Technologies and New Dimensions

Thursday, February 21, 2019
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
EER 3.646
Free and open to the public

The progression from large, single-platform wireless systems to collections of smaller, coordinated wireless systems on separate platforms enables significant benefits for remote sensing, communications, and other wireless applications. Dramatic improvements in scalability, spatial adaptability, robustness to degradation and interference, and cost reductions are possible, in particular when nodes in the system are coordinated such that distributed wireless operations can be performed coherently at the radio frequency level. Such coherent distributed arrays operate in essence as distributed phased arrays, and the signal power gains that can be achieved scale nonlinearly with the number of platforms, with gains proportional to the number of platforms squared for a distributed transmission, and the number of platforms cubed for an active sensing operation like radar. Significant advances in system functions are possible with coherent distributed arrays. For example, a constellation of coherently networked cubesats can achieve the spatial resolution of a single large satellite at a fraction of the cost. A collection of radars operating coherently can detect objects at significantly longer ranges than a single radar. A group of communication systems can overcome degraded environments by dynamically forming an array, or one device can utilize nearby unused devices to yield increased data rates or longer link range. Spatially diverse arrays can leverage new dimensions, such as the significant spatial frequency coverage enabled with wide element separation and the time-varying aspects of platform motion, to perform new measurements such as direct angular velocity estimation. In this talk, I will present my research group’s recent advances in key technologies enabling coherent distributed arrays, as well new measurement modalities enabled by distributed antenna arrays. I will discuss new methods for inter-node ranging and wireless frequency transfer, and show results from demonstrations of coherent distributed arrays. I will also discuss new measurements and capabilities enabled by exploiting the spatial and time dimensions, including new sensing methods for distributed active imaging and direct angular velocity measurement.


Jeffrey Nanzer

Jeffrey Nanzer

Michigan State University

Jeffrey Nanzer is the Dennis P. Nyquist Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan State University. He received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. From 2008 to 2009, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the University of Texas at Austin Applied Research Laboratories where he researched wireless human presence detection using millimeter-wave radiometers and radars. From 2009 to 2016 he was with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where he created and led the Advanced Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Technology group. He joined Michigan State University in 2016. Dr. Nanzer is an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, a member of USNC/URSI Commission B, served as Chair of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (IEEE MTT-S) Microwave Systems Technical Committee (MTT-16) from 2016-2018, and serves on numerous other IEEE committees. He has published more than 80 refereed journal and conference papers, is the author of Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Remote Sensing for Security Applications (Artech House, 2012), and is the co-author of two book chapters. He was the recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty Award in 2017, the NSF CAREER Award in 2018, and the IEEE MTT-S Outstanding Young Engineer Award in 2019. His research involves distributed antenna arrays, radar, remote sensing, microwave photonics, and electromagnetics.