dr Marian W. Pospieszalski

Extremely Low-Noise Cryogenic Amplifiers for Radio Astronomy: Past, Present and Future

Invited speaker:

Marian W. Pospieszalski
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
1180 Boxwood Estate Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Marian W. Pospieszalski was awarded the M.Sc. and D.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering from the Warsaw Institute of Technology, Warsaw, Poland, in 1967 and 1976, respectively.

From 1967 to 1984, Dr. Pospieszalski was with the Institute of Electronics Fundamentals, Warsaw University of Technology (WUT), during which time he held visiting positions with the Electronics Research Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley (1977-1978), the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Charlottesville, VA (1978-1979), and the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (1982-1984).  Since 1984, he has been with the NRAO Central Development Laboratory, presently as Scientist with tenure.  While on leave during 2001-2002, Dr. Pospieszalski was Chief Scientist-Microwave at Inphi Corporation, Westlake Village, CA.  His research interests are in the fields of microwave, millimeter-wave, and high-speed circuits and systems.

Dr Pospieszalski has authored or co-authored over hundred journals and conference papers. He has been a member of the IEEE Transaction on Microwave Theory and Techniques (MTT) Editorial Board since 1987 and Proceedings of IEEE Editorial Board since 2013. Since 1992, Dr. Pospieszalski has been a member of the IEEE MTT Society Technical Committee on Microwave Low-Noise Techniques, serving as Chair of that Committee from 2001-2004.  He has also been a member of the Technical Program Committee of the International Microwave Symposium since 1992, a member of URSI Commissions D and J, and has served as a reviewer for many journals.

Dr Pospieszalski was elected Fellow of IEEE in 1992.  He received the NRAO Distinguished Performance Award in 2002, Distinguished MIKON Contributor Award in 2004 and the Microwave Application Award from IEEE MTT Society in 2006.

Talk overview

Improvements in the noise temperature of field-effect transistors (FET’s) and, later, heterostructure field-effect transistors (HFET’s) over the last several decades have been quite dramatic. In 1970, a noise temperature of 120 K was reported at 1 GHz and physical temperature of 77 K. By 2010, noise temperatures of 3, 10 and 25 K were reported at 10, 40 and 100 GHz, respectively, for physical temperatures of about 15 K. These values of minimum noise temperatures in respective bands are typical of cryogenic low noise amplifiers built for EVLA and GBT receivers and for ALMA band ## 1 and 2 receivers.

In the first part of the presentation, the developments in this field are briefly traced and an attempt is made to identify important milestones. Examples of experimental results obtained with different generations of FET’s (HFET’s) are compared with the model predictions. The current state of the art in cryogenic low noise InP HFET’s is presented and compared with SiGe HBT results.

The second part addresses the question of possible future progress in transistor noise performance. For that purpose, noise models of unipolar and bipolar transistors are reviewed with emphasis on certain properties of noise parameters which are common to all microwave low noise transistors. The limits on allowable values of noise parameters of microwave transistors are reviewed. Specifically, the influence of further progress in gate length reduction of FET’s and technology of artificially structured III-V semiconductors on achievable minimum noise temperatures (noise figures) is examined. The existence of natural limits on noise performance of field effect transistors is demonstrated, leading to a conclusion that significant improvements in minimum noise temperature from further scaling of gate length may not be expected in any FET technology.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Knott

Radar Systems for Space Observation

Invited speaker:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Knott
Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques

Peter Knott joined the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR (formerly FGAN e.V.) in Wachtberg, Germany in 1994. The focus of his work was design and development of antenna arrays and active antenna front-ends as well as electromagnetic modelling and beamforming methods for conformal antenna arrays. From 2005 until 2016 he was head of the Department Antenna Technology and Electromagnetic Modelling (AEM). Since 2016, he is Executive Director of the institute Fraunhofer FHR. He is currently holding a professorship of Radar Systems Engineering at RWTH Aachen University and lecturer at different other organisations.

Until 2012, he has been chairman of the NATO research task group SET-131 on Vibration Control and Structure Integration of Antennas. He has published numerous articles in scientific journals and on conferences and holds several patents. He was Co-Chair of the 14th European Radar Conference (EuRAD) in Nürnberg 2017 and will be General Chair of the 18th International Radar Symposium (IRS) in Bonn 2018.

Currently, he is also chairman of the German IEEE MTT/AP Joint Chapter, member in the Board of Trustees of the German Institute of Navigation (DGON e.V.) and chair of its Technical Committee “Radar Techniques”, and Vice-Chair of the VDE/ITG board 7.1 on Antennas.

Talk overview

Many of the requirements arising in the course of increasing globalization can only be met through the utilization of space technology, with the result that this area has experienced an ongoing boost over the last years. The rapidly increasing and practically unregulated utilization of space does, however, create problems and challenges. The rising population of manmade Space Debris poses a growing threat to space-based infrastructure and has the potential to destroy operational satellites and spacecraft. This problem can only be resolved in the presence of up-to-date knowledge relating to the current situation in space (Space Situational Awareness). Due to its unique properties and sensor capabilities, radar plays an important role both in Earth observation using space-based sensors as well as in the measurement and analysis of objects in space. The Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR therefore focuses on the research, development and testing of methods, technologies and systems that can be used in the physical conditions prevailing in space.

The space observation radar TIRA is a unique system that offers the possibility to measure the orbit of near-Earth objects (e.g. such as satellites) with high precision or produce high resolution images of such space objects. The radar data of space objects and internally developed techniques are used to determine characteristic features of the objects, e. g. orbital elements, object shape and size, intrinsic motion parameters (e. g. ENVISAT [1, 2]), re-entry forecast, and ballistic coefficient. With TIRA, Fraunhofer FHR can support all the phases of space missions from the launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) up to the de-orbiting phase. Especially during the operational phase, TIRA measurements and processed results provide valuable support to satellite operators and space agencies worldwide e. g. by estimating the collision probability between objects in order to avoid unnecessary and costly avoidance manoeuvres for operative satellites, by analysing external damages of space objects, and during contingency support. Due to its extremely high sensitivity, TIRA has the potential to measure the signals of small space objects. Two-centimetre objects can be detected at a range of 1000 km. Therefore, TIRA is also regularly used to measure the small-size space debris population in order to assess their statistical distribution [3]. The so-gained radar data are used to calibrate and validate space debris population models such as the ESA MASTER-2009 model [4].

Since 2015, Fraunhofer FHR is also building up a demonstrator for a new Active Electronically Scanned Array radar system to monitor objects in low-earth orbits to be completed in 2019. This German Experimental Space Surveillance and Tracking Radar (GESTRA) operates in L-Band, combines mechanical and electronic scanning, features fully digital controlled transmit and receive antenna arrays in separate shelters with multiple beams formed simultaneously [5]. It is designed to monitor the low-earth orbit (LEO) in altitudes between 300 and 3,000 km and will be remotely controlled by the German Space Situational Awareness Centre in Uedem, Germany.

With the combination of a high-resolution imaging radar, a highly sensitive tracking radar, and an agile multi-function active array system, the field of space observation will have several complementary sources of information available offering new insight into characteristic features of space objects and the situation in low-earth orbits. The proposed paper summarises the motivation, presents technical detail of the radar systems and gives an overview of past and future missions.

[1] S. Sommer, J. Rosebrock, D. Cerutti-Maori, L. Leushacke: „Temporal analysis of Envisat’s rotational motion“, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Vol. 70, pp. 45-51, 2017.
[2] J. Silha, T. Schildknecht, J.-N. Pittet, G. Kirchner, M. Steindorfer, D. Kucharski, D. Cerutti-Maori, J. Rosebrock, S. Sommer, L. Leushacke, P. Kärräng, R. Kanzler, H. Krag: „Debris attitude motion measurements and modelling by combining different observation techniques“, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Vol. 70, pp. 45-51, 2017.
[3] D. Cerutti-Maori, J. Rosebrock, K. Letsch, L. Leushacke: „Results from the TIRA Monostatic South-Staring Beampark Experiment 2015 (S-BPE115)“, ESA contract 4000109778/13/D/SR.
[4] S. Flegel, J. Gelhaus, C. Wiedemann, P. Vorsmann, M. Oswald, S. Stabroth, H. Klinkrad, H. Krag: „The MASTER-2009 Space Debris Environment Model“, 5th European Conference on Space Debris, Darmstadt, Germany, April 2009.
[5] H. Wilden, C. Kirchner, O. Peters, N. Ben Bekhti, A. Brenner, T. Eversberg, „GESTRA – A Phased-Array based surveillance and tracking Radar for Space Situational Awareness”, IEEE International Symposium on Phased Array Systems and Technology (PAST), Waltham, MA, October 2016

Dr Agnieszka Kończykowska

InP HBT Integrated Circuits for High Speed and Low Power

Invited speaker:

Agnieszka Konczykowska
III-V Lab: Nokia Bell Labs,
Thales Research and Technology and CEA/LETI joint laboratory
91767 Palaiseau Cedex,


Agnieszka Konczykowska received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1977 from Warsaw University of Technology, Poland.

Dr. Konczykowska worked at Technical University of Warsaw, CNET research Laboratory of France Telecom Alcatel and Alcatel-Lucent research Labs.  She hold visiting positions at France Telecom/CNS Grenoble and at Bell Labs New Jersey. Presently she is in charge of microelectronic design activity at III-V Lab, Nokia Bell Labs, Thales Research and Technology and CEA/Leti joint laboratory, Palaiseau in France.

Dr Konczykowska is author and co-author of over 200 publications and 6 patents.
Her research interests include:

  • CAD tools and design methodologies for analog circuits and in particular methods and applications of symbolic analysis;
  • tools and methodologies of semiconductor device modeling; characterization of passive and active components of integrated circuits;
  • circuit design (classical circuits, switched-capacitor circuits, microwave circuits, very high speed digital circuits for optical communications).

Dr Konczykowska is presently active resercher in the domain of components and circuits for telecommunication systems, in particular for optical and wireless communications.

Dr Konczykowska is a member of the editorial board of  Int. Journal of Circuit Theory and Applications. She is a member of many technical committees of international conferences and reviewer for numerous technical journals. She was Chair, V-chair and Member of IMS TPRC Subcommittee 24 “Digital Circuits at GHz Speeds”. She is member of MTT-9 Technical Committee on Digital Signal Processing since 2003, and served as its V-chair and chair in 2015-2016. From 1997 to 2000, dr Konczykowska was the chair of IEEE Circuit & System chapter (French Section). From 1995 to 1999 she was the president of European Circuit Society.

In 2017, Dr Konczykowska was elected Fellow of IEEE for contributions to development of very high speed circuits.

Talk overview

Indium Phosphide (InP) Double Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor (DHBT) technology is characterized by high cut-off frequencies and large breakdown voltages. This technology is of great interest for the realization of integrated circuits operating at very high speed, with high swing and large analog bandwidth. These performances are of particular interest for front-end circuits necessary at the electro-optic interface.

In this presentation, we will compare available electronic technologies with respect to optical telecommunication systems requirements. We will present also the status and performances of InP HBT processes available at world leading laboratories.

We will also give details on 0.7-µm InP DHBT technology developed at III-V Lab. We will present designs and measurements of two recently designed circuits used in pioneering optical communication experiments. First, a Power-DAC circuit can operate up to 90-GBaud and generate PAM-8 electrical driving signal with 4-V amplitude. This circuit was used in the first transmitter demonstrating single-carrier 1-Tb/s transmission capacity. Second, a 2:1-multiplexing selector has recently demonstrated record 200-Gb/s operation and enabled two transmission milestone experiments preparing the development of next generation optical systems for single-carrier short-reach and long distance transmission.

Finally, we will discuss another, less explored, aspect of InP DHBT circuits, namely their capacity to operate with low power consumption, especially when high speed and high swing are required. The comparison of power efficiency with respect to other transistor technologies will be discussed.

Authors: A. Konczykowska, J.-Y. Dupuy, F. Jorge, M. Riet, V. Nodjiadjim

Dr Volker Ziegler, Airbus Group

Trends for airborne and spaceborne connectivity

Invited speaker:

Dr. Volker Ziegler,
Head of „Automatic Flight and Communication”
Airbus Group Innovations,

Volker Ziegler received his Dipl.-Ing. degree in electrical engineering and his Dr.-Ing. degree (with honors) both from the University of Ulm, Germany, in 1997 and 2001, respectively. From 2002 to 2003, he was member of the „Knowledge Exchange Group for Research and Technology” at the DaimlerChrysler AG in Stuttgart, Germany. During this trainee period, he was working at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA and at United Monolithic Semiconductors, Orsay, France. Afterwards, he joined EADS Innovation Works, Ottobrunn, Germany, where he became an EADS Expert for „Microwave Technologies and Systems” in 2007. From 2013 to 2016, he was the Head of Team “RF and Waveforms” and Head of Team “Automatic Flight Systems” within AIRBUS Group Innovations. Since 2017, he is the Head of Department “Automatic Flight and Communications”, responsible for the research performed in the field of automated flying systems and communication systems for aeronautic and space-borne platforms.

Volker Ziegler is senior member of the IEEE, member of the IEEE MTT-S Technical Coordinating Committee 21 on RF-MEMS and member of the IEEE MTT Antennas & Propagation German Chapter Executive Board. He authored or co-authored more than 90 papers, holds twelve patents and is an industrial advisor of the „Component Technical Board on Microwaves” for the European Space Agency.

Talk overview

Connectivity is a major enabler to fulfil passenger, operational and mission demands for airborne as well as spaceborne platforms. The main drivers for the technological development in communications are the demands for ubiquitous, secure and reliable connectivity, new space and terrestrial operational services as well as the advent of new businesses like urban air mobility. The talk will discuss these trends and highlight some of the major technological building blocks to address the challenges.

Prof. Yonina C. Eldar, Technion

Sub-Nyquist and Cognitive Radar

Invited speaker:

Prof. Yonina C. Eldar,
Department of Electrical Engineering,
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa

Yonina C. Eldar is a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, where she holds the Edwards Chair in Engineering. She is also a Research Affiliate with the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT and a Visiting Professor at Duke University, and was a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. She received the B.Sc. degree in physics and the B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering both from Tel-Aviv University (TAU), Tel-Aviv, Israel, in 1995 and 1996, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, in 2002. She is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, an IEEE Fellow and a EURASIP Fellow. She has received many awards for excellence in research and teaching, including the IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award (2013), the IEEE/AESS Fred Nathanson Memorial Radar Award (2014) and the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Award (2016). She was a Horev Fellow of the Leaders in Science and Technology program at the Technion and an Alon Fellow. She received the Michael Bruno Memorial Award from the Rothschild Foundation, the Weizmann Prize for Exact Sciences, the Wolf Foundation Krill Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research, the Henry Taub Prize for Excellence in Research (twice), the Hershel Rich Innovation Award (three times), the Award for Women with Distinguished Contributions, the Andre and Bella Meyer Lectureship, the Career Development Chair at the Technion, the Muriel & David Jacknow Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Technion’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (two times). She received several best paper awards and best demo awards together with her research students and colleagues, was selected as one of the 50 most influential women in Israel, and was a member of the Israel Committee for Higher Education.

She is the Editor in Chief of Foundations and Trends in Signal Processing and a member of several IEEE Technical Committees and Award Committees.

Talk overview

The famous Shannon-Nyquist theorem has become a landmark in the development of digital signal processing. However, in many modern applications, the signal bandwidths have increased tremendously, while the acquisition capabilities have not scaled sufficiently fast. Consequently, conversion to digital has become a serious bottleneck. The Nyquist theorem also results in a large number of elements in antenna arrays and in wide bandwidths in applications requiring high resolution. In this talk we consider a general framework for sub-Nyquist radar in space, time and frequency which allows to dramatically reduce the number of antenna elements, sampling rates and band occupancy. Sub-Nyquist radars break the link between common radar design trade-offs such as range resolution and transmit bandwidth; dwell time and Doppler resolution; spatial resolution and number of antenna elements; continuous-wave radar sweep time and range resolution. We then show that they pave the way for cognitive radars which share their transmit spectrum with other communication services, thereby providing a robust solution for coexistence in spectrally crowded environments.

Finally, we present state-of-the-art hardware prototypes that demonstrate the real-time feasibility of sub-Nyquist radars.

Dr Steven Reising

The Present and Future of Small Satellites for Remote Sensing of the Earth’s Atmosphere

Invited speaker:

Dr Steven Reising,
Director of the Microwave Systems Laboratory at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

Dr. Steven C. Reising is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Microwave Systems Laboratory at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA. He received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1998, where he was supported by a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellowship and advised by Prof. Umran S. Inan, now President of Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr. Reising’s research interests span a broad range of remote sensing disciplines, including remote sensing of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans from airborne platforms and U-Class satellites, design and demonstration of radiometer systems based on low-noise MMIC amplifier-based front ends from gigahertz to terahertz frequencies, lidar systems for sensing temperature and winds in the middle and upper atmosphere, lighting-ionosphere interactions and atmospheric electrodynamics.

He has been Principal Investigator of 14 grants over the past 18 years from NASA, National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research, Naval Research Laboratory, NPOESS, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., and the European Space Agency. Currently, he serves as the Principal Investigator of the TWICE Instrument Incubator Program and of the TEMPEST-D 6U-Class satellite technology demonstration mission, both managed by NASA Earth Science Technology Office. Reising has served as academic/research advisor for 16 M.S./Ph.D. students who graduated and are employed by university, industry and government laboratories in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Dr Massimo Claudio Comparini

The fourth wave in space systems evolution; technology challenges and new business models in the Earth Observation Geo Spatial domain

Invited speaker:

Massimo Claudio Comparini
e-GEOS Chief Executive Officer – Telespazio Director of Line of Business Information
Chairman Space Innovation in Italy

Massimo Claudio Comparini holds Master Degree in Electrical Engineering, Remote Sensing and Radar Systems from University of Rome “La Sapienza” (RM – Italy) and degree in Strategy from Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, CA (USA).

He began his career in the space industry in 1983 at Selenia Spazio (later Alenia Spazio), holding positions of increasing responsibility, up to that of Chief Technology Officer. After the establishment of the joint venture Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%), he took up the role of Deputy Chief Technical Officer and Vice President for R&D, Technology, Product Policy and IPR. In 2013 he was appointed Chief Technical Officer at Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%).

In 2015 he is appointed Chairman of EarthLab Luxembourg a Joint Venture between Telespazio group and local important players (Post Luxembourg, InTech, HiTec) for Earth Observation services and applications in support to risk and insurance market.

In 2016, he has been appointed as CEO of e-GEOS, an ASI 20% / Telespazio 80% Joint Venture company, having the mission to commercialize world-wide COSMO-SkyMed radar Constellation data, applications and services and to provide multimission Geospatial integrated solutions, based on innovative satellite data and advanced information technology processing chain.

Talk overview

The evolution of new space systems with the possibility to conceive and realize, through miniaturization of on board functions, advanced digital communication processors and space based radars, new generation optical sensors and cost effective microsatellite constellations and satellite formations open the way to a new class of space services and applications in global communications and Earth Observation. Constellation and even mega constellations undoubtedly represent an interesting breakthrough and trend in the democratization of space and an opportunity to contribute to space activities for a broad range of institutions including emerging innovative start ups, research centers and universities.
The possibility to complement “traditional” space systems based on large space infrastructure and very high end performance payloads and sensors allows today to conceive hyper connected systems, very high revisit observation capabilities and in perspective to realize a quasi-persistent surveillance of our Planet.
In the coming year a huge amount of data will be generated in space by radar, optical and hyperspectral sensors, this exponential growth in the amount of data will open the way to a complete new class and generation of service and application platforms.
The paper will give starting from the service side a status on this evolution and will address the most relevant architectural, technology and exploitation challenges in this exciting (r)evolution of space.