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Solid-State and Nanotechnology

RF from Kilometer- to Millimeter-waves: NFL Football Tracking and Power Amplifier Circuits & Systems

David S. RickettsProfessor, Electrical and Computer EngineeringCarnegie Mellon University

In this talk I will discuss two research projects that leverage several areas of circuit design and applied E&M to solve new problems in radio frequency applications. The first part of my talk will present a non-line-of-sight position location system using low frequency magnetoquasistatic fields (λ~1 km). Our initial application is in tracking an American football during a game, which is extremely difficult due to the constant obstruction of the ball by the players. We circumvent this problem by using magnetoquasistatic fields, which are not perturbed by the presence of human bodies, to develop a novel tracking system. I will present our recent research results in collaboration with Disney/ESPN that show the ability to track a football across a football field with approximately 1 ft average error. The second part of my talk presents research on mm-wave power amplifiers. Our research is aimed at significantly increase the speed, power output and efficiency of mm-wave power amplifiers (PA). Current state-of-the-art Si PAs above 20 GHz suffer from low power-added-efficiency (PAE) and output power, typically < 20% and < 0.5W. I will present our recent results in the development of high PAE (20% - 50%) PAs above 45 GHz using SiGe and 45 nm CMOS and also our work on the development of novel power combiners. In the final part of my talk I will touch briefly on some of the other work in our group, including our work on nanoscale oscillators for tunable RF applications.
David S. Ricketts received the PhD from Harvard University and is an Assistant Professor of ECE and MSE (courtesy) at Carnegie Mellon University. Before joining academia, Prof. Ricketts spent 8 years in industry developing over 40 integrated circuits in mixed-signal, RF and power management applications. Prof. Ricketts' research crosses the fields of device physics, material science and circuit design. His work has appeared in Nature, Proc. IEEE and in numerous other IEEE conferences and journals and he has authored two books: Electrical Solitons: Theory, Design and Applications and The Designer's Guide to Jitter in Ring Oscillators. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award, the DARPA Young Faculty Award and the George Tallman Ladd research award at Carnegie Mellon. In addition to his technical research, Prof. Ricketts investigates the role of the scientist and engineer in creating breakthrough innovations and has co-developed several courses on innovation and creativity at Harvard and Carnegie Mellon. He is currently a Harvard Innovation Fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Harvard University and was a 2009 Wimmer Teaching Fellow at Carnegie Mellon.

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