ECE Professor Wade Trappe is the recipient of an award from the National Science Foundation under the Spectrum and Wireless Innovation enabled by Future Technologies (SWIFT) program for the project "Wideband Spectrum Coexistence Enabled by Photonic Circuits: Cross-Layer Design and Implementation." This is a three-year collaborative project with Rowan University and Princeton University funded at $750,000 with Rutgers receiving $170,000.
The focus of the proposed effort is to create a framework for spectrum coexistence that is beneficial for both active and passive users. Instead of simply switching to higher and undeveloped frequencies (which passive users of radio spectrum are often unable to do), the proposed research uses high frequency, optical signal carriers for interference separation, enabling the coexistence of active and passive users. The proposed coexistence solution will enable continuous availability of wideband spectrum for passive users, an important requirement for detecting unknown signals, since the bandwidth and the time window for unknown astronomical, atmospheric, and geospace signals cannot be manipulated. Specifically, the effort will develop technologies that mitigate the interference observed by redesigning the transceiver hardware and exploring communication protocols at multiple layers. In the physical layer, the photonic system separates a mixed received signal in the congested radio spectrum by upconverting the signal carriers to optical frequencies, providing over 100GHz of bandwidth in a single channel. At the network level, communication protocols are redesigned to enable passive users to continuously access wideband spectrum and coexist with active users. The network layer protocol will optimize the deployment of the hardware system to minimize the cost of new infrastructures, better share spectrum, and improve communication throughput.
More details on the project can be found at the NSF page here.