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The National Science Foundation has awarded a $124,254 grant to William D. Jemison, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Lafayette, for research on microwave-photonic techniques that could improve high-speed wireless applications such as telemedicine, multimedia distribution, and advanced satellite and military communications.

Jemison, a 1985 Lafayette graduate, will conduct research this summer with current students Guangxi Wang ’03 (Shanghai, China) and Prashant Poddar ’04 (Ranchi, India).

Wang and Poddar have previously assisted Jemison on related work as participants in Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program, in which students collaborate with faculty members on research projects while earning a stipend.

They worked with Jemison during January’s three-week interim session between regular semesters to improve the microwave antennas used in medicine. Wang also assisted Jemison in the 2001 interim session and last summer.

Jemison says, “The knowledge gained from these investigations will be applied to develop a new class of transmitters and receivers that will meet the performance demands of emerging high-speed, digital millimeter-wave wireless communications while providing implementation simplicity and advanced functionality that cannot be achieved by traditional electronic design techniques.”

One of the techniques involved in the project is direct modulation, which removes the emissions and filtering requirements associated with multiple frequency conversions, resulting in potentially increased modulation bandwidth and greater carrier tuning performance.

Another method is use of photonics, which “provides the wide bandwidth needed for direct conversion from baseband to millimeter-wave frequencies and vice versa, and offers the potential to significantly simplify millimeter wave transmitter and receiver architectures,” adds Jemison. “Photonic transmitter and receiver approaches also are attractive since they are compatible with low-loss fiber optic distribution of millimeter wave signals prior to wireless transmission and subsequent to wireless reception.”

Jemison will evaluate techniques through simulations, experiments, and theoretical work. Models will be developed to quantify critical performance criteria, then “implemented in commercially available microwave and system-level simulation packages using a recently developed modeling approach for microwave-photonic systems,” he says.

Jemison has mentored many Lafayette students in research projects. Soumya Chandramouli ’02, an electrical and computer engineering major from Bombay, India, published a paper with Jemison and another researcher on “Direct Carrier Modulation for Wireless Digital Communications Using an Improved Microwave-Photonic Vector Modulator (MPVM) Approach,” which was accepted for presentation at the 2002 Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers International Microwave Symposium in June.

The culmination of the senior honors thesis supervised by Jemison, the paper will be presented in a regular professional session of the symposium, says Jemison, noting that there is no student session. Chandramouli received a 2001-2002 IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society Undergraduate Scholarship. She will begin her studies toward a Ph.D. at Georgia Tech this fall, working in the area of microwave integrated circuits.

Jemison has advised several other senior honors theses for Lafayette students in recent years, including Feiyu Wang ’01, who is pursuing a Ph.D. at California Institute of Technology; Ian Rippke ’00, a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University; and Aichen Low ’98, who earned a master’s degree at Georgia Tech.

Andrew Kreuzberger ’01 and another researcher co-authored a paper with Jemison on “Microwave Photonic Vector Modulator for High-Speed Digital Communications,” published last month in IEEE Microwave and Wireless Component Letters. The paper was the culmination of a senior design project by Kreuzberger, who works at Agere in Reading, Pa.

A recipient of prior NSF and Office of Naval Research grants, Jemison been a faculty member in the department of electrical and computer engineering since 1996. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University, his master’s in engineering science from Penn State University, and his bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering at Lafayette. He has over ten years of government and industrial research and development experience with the Naval Air Warfare Center, Lockheed Martin Corp., and Orbit/FR Inc. He is a senior member of IEEE and has authored or co-authored over 45 publications, including a book chapter. Jemison is the recipient three U.S. patents. He teaches courses and laboratories in analog and digital circuits, electromagnetics, electronics, control systems, senior design, and microwave communications, and has received multiple Lehigh Valley Section IEEE Outstanding Advisor awards for his work with the IEEE student branch at Lafayette.

Categorized in: Academic News