UCSD Researchers Develop ‘Hair-Thin’ System for Interference-Resistant Communications

Researchers at the University of California-San Diego have developed a “hair-thin” receiver that works to retrieve sub-noise radio signals and protect against interference as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency‘s assured communications program.

DARPA said Tuesday the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers published a paper that details UCSD’s efforts under the agency’s Hyper-wideband Enabled RF Messaging program to develop interference-resistant communications.

Josh Conway, a program manager in DARPA’s microsystems technology office, said UCSD’s system could work to support assured communications for the military’s future unmanned systems as well as open a wider spectrum use for civilians.

The IEEE paper says UCSD professor Stojan Radic’s team used “optical combs” within a single hair-thin glass fiber to perform signal processing that normally require a high-performance computer.

The system is designed to perform narrow-band filtering to aid the retrieval of sub-noise command and control signals amid the presence of up to 100,000 times stronger jamming power, DARPA noted.

Radic’s team is currently working to increase the spectral spreading from 6 GHz to 10 GHz or more as well as fit the “heart” of the receiver system to a chip which could aid assured communication technology for unmanned aerial vehicles, DARPA added.

The future chip-sized receivers could help open previously restricted frequencies and address the longevity of battery-run wireless links for mobile communications, DARPA said.

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