Hughes Receives NSF Award for Compact Multi-Antenna Wireless Transceivers Research

September 26, 2007

Brian Hughes, ECE Department, NC State University
Brian Hughes, ECE Department, NC State University

Brian Hughes has been awarded $250,000 by the National Science Foundation for research on Communications Theory Perspectives on the Design of Compact Multi-Antenna Wireless Transceivers.

The award will run from September 15th, 2007 to August 31st, 2010.

Research Abstract - Recent research on multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) communications has shown that deploying arrays at the transmitter and receiver can dramatically improve the capacity of wireless multipath channels. Since the physical size of a transceiver is often limited, increasing the number of array elements often requires closer inter-element spacing and leads to signal correlation and mutual coupling. Coupling can profoundly impact the received power, diversity and system capacity. Moreover, this impact depends essentially on aspects of the transceiver design, such as antenna matching and the dominant sources of noise.

Intellectual Merit: This project seeks to develop a systems-level perspective on the design of compact array transceivers for wireless communications. The aim is to understand how antennas, matching networks, amplifiers and communications algorithms interact to determine overall performance, and to jointly optimize the design of these interacting subsystems. Three issues are addressed: (1) channel models which incorporate diverse noise sources, transceiver design and interference from other users for both narrowband and broadband channels; (2) the impact of different noise sources and propagation environments on the fundamental performance limits of coupled MIMO systems, as well as on performance of specific diversity and multiplexing techniques; (3) information-theoretic design criteria to jointly optimize the array, matching, amplifiers and communications algorithms.

Broader Impacts: This multi-disciplinary project combines theoretical studies with experiments using an antenna testbed. The mix of theory and hardware demonstrations will provide opportunities for student participation at all levels. This work has the potential to significantly advance science and engineering by providing a more unified view of the RF front end and by developing new models, communications algorithms and matching techniques which may significantly improve wireless performance.