John Logan, a Ph.D. student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, was Runner-up in the Student Paper Contest at the 2013 IEEE International Symposium on Phased Array Systems and Technology His paper was entitled "Low-Cost mm-Wave UWB Phased Arrays." Logan’s advisor, ECE Professor Marinos Vouvakis, was the co-author of the paper. The conference was held on October 15 to 18 at the Westin Hotel in Waltham on Boston's famous Route 128 Technology Highway.

As the paper’s abstract explained, Emerging adaptable or multifunctional transceiver architectures such as RF-FPGAs aim to provide adaptability over wide frequency ranges in an effort to reduce overall system costs and increase capabilities. Ultrawideband electronically scanned arrays (UWB-ESAs) with polarization agility and wide-scan performance remain as a key component to these programmable RF front-ends. However, UWB-ESAs are expensive and also challenging to fabricate, assemble, and maintain above Ku-band.

“This paper will present a novel class of Planar Ultrawideband Modular Antenna (PUMA) arrays that enables fabrication at mm-waves and further extends bandwidth while maintaining the manufacturing complexity of a probe-fed stacked patch array,” wrote Logan. “This new class of arrays, termed PUMAv3, achieves 50% more bandwidth (from 3:1 to 4.5:1) than its predecessor without the use of a matching network, and 6:1 bandwidth when integrated with an also planar printed matching network at the back-plane. Several technical innovations enable the performance enhancements, but most notable is the reconfiguration of PUMA shorting vias as capacitively-loaded vias. Simulation results of infinite array designs show 6:1 VSWR, cross-polarization and port isolation performance up to 45 GHz, scanning out to 45 deg. in all planes.”

The symposium was a response to the fact that phased array systems continue to be a rapidly evolving technology with steady advances motivated by the challenges presented to modern government and commercial applications. This symposium presented the most recent advances in phased array technology. It also offered a unique opportunity to interact with international colleagues during two days of tutorials and numerous social events including sit-down lunches, a welcome reception cocktail hour, and a dinner banquet. (October 2013)