IEEE RFIC Symposium Recognizes Columbia Electrical Engineering Students with Two Best Paper Awards

Electrical Engineering PhD students Aravind Nagulu and Matthew W. Bajor won first and third place awards, respectively, for Best Student Paper at the 2018 IEEE Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFIC) Symposium, the premier conference in the world focused on RFIC technology and one of the most prominent events for reporting research and developments in the fields of RF, Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Integrated Circuits (ICs), as well as high frequency analog/mixed-signal ICs technologies.

The Symposium in June highlighted ten papers by industry authors and ten papers by students from academia. The top three winners in each group category (including Columbia’s two winners) presented their posters to all conference attendees during the welcoming reception. Philadelphia’s Loews Hotel and Pennsylvania Convention Center hosted the event.

Aravind Nagulu and Walid Ali-Ahmad, General Chair of the Steering Committee.

Nagulu won first place for his paper titled “Fully-Integrated Non-Magnetic 180nm SOI Circulator with >1W P1dB, >+50dBm IIP3 and High Isolation Across 1.85 VSWR.” As Nagulu wrote in his paper’s abstract, his work’s “results represent a 10-100 x enhancement in linearity/power handling over prior CMOS non-reciprocal circulators, and are shown to lower the power consumption of a communication link when compared with state-of-the-art electrical balance duplexers in scenarios where dynamic range is limited by P1dB, NF.”

While studying under Professor Harish Krishnaswamy, Nagulu’s research interests have included exploring new directions to break reciprocity for emerging wireless communication paradigms and experimental validation of non-reciprocal analog/RF/millimeter-wave integrated circuits and systems.

“I am very proud of Aravind Nagulu for winning this prestigious award,” says Krishnaswamy. “The IEEE RFIC Symposium is the premier venue for advances in our community. His paper has taken our group’s work on chip-scale non-reciprocal components from an intriguing scientific and academic concept to performance envelopes that make it relevant for the most stringent real-world applications.”

Nagulu also demoed a full-duplex node using the circulator, an RF canceller based on discrete components and a National Instruments USRP node interfaced to a computer performing digital cancellation.

Matthew W. Bajor and Walid Ali-Ahmad, General Chair of the Steering Committee.

Bajor won third place for his paper titled “An 8-Element, 1-3GHz Direct Space-to-Information Converter for Rapid, Compressive-Sampling Direction-of-Arrival Finding Utilizing Pseudo-Random Antenna-Weight Modulation.”

Studying under Peter Kinget, Department Chair and Bernard J. Lechner Professor of Electrical Engineering, Bajor’s research includes analog and RFIC design for cognitive radio and multi-antenna sensor architectures. As a member of Kinget’s Columbia Integrated Systems Lab (CISL), Bajor is focused on finding solutions to overcrowded electro-magnetic (EM) environments in the face of ever-increasing mobile devices.

At the RFIC Symposium’s poster and demo session, Bajor presented the fabricated Direct Space-to-Information Converter (DSIC) chip, which was designed, tested and evaluated during the course of his research. As explained in his paper’s abstract, Bajor wrote, “For applications where many antennas are used, the DSIC uses an order of magnitude less energy than similar architectures.”

“As you can imagine, we are very proud of our students,” says Kinget, “and it was noticed that Columbia students won two of the top three Best Paper Awards.”

Congratulations to winners Nagulu and Bajor, their co-authors, and faculty advisors Krishnaswamy and Kinget!

For more information, please see Nagulu’s video presentation and Bajor’s video presentation.

-By Rosa Fernández

Photo Credit: IEEE-MTS


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