Ultra-Low Noise Amplifier for Enhanced Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Detection

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
590 Territorial Drive, Suite B, Bolingbrook, IL, 60440
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Don Rafol
Sr. Engineer
(630) 771-0203
Business Contact:
Sivalingam Sivananthan
(630) 771-0201
Research Institution:
We propose a low noise amplifier for receiver front ends in wideband communication systems. The circuit will exploit wide band noise reduction techniques such as active noise cancellation. High frequency, wide bandwidth signals have several advantages ranging from high data rate communications to high resolution RADAR. However, the biggest challenge in realizing these systems is the limitations in the performance of the electronics. It is difficult to simultaneously increase circuit bandwidth and reduce the noise. Advanced transistor technologies based on compound semiconductor transistors (like pHEMT and mHEMTS) have lower noise figures and higher frequencies of operation than conventional silicon-based transistors due to their higher electron mobilities. The proposed amplifier will be based on compound semiconductor transistors. We propose to further reduce the noise in the amplifier by using wideband active noise cancellation. In Phase I of the proposed effort, we will explore various low noise transistor technologies and perform behavioral simulations of ultra wide band receiver front ends to develop circuit specifications. In Phase II (if awarded), we will design, fabricate and test low noise amplifiers based on these circuit specifications. BENEFIT: Signals intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic warfare (EW) systems require robust, high performance systems to detect and identify the signal of interest in the presence of other interfering signals. The detection of signals requires electronic circuits with high dynamic range, bandwidth and linearity. The proposed low noise amplifier is based on compound semiconductor transistors and will have a widebandwidth and an extremely low noise figure which will help in detecting signals of very small amplitudes. The successful application of the developed circuit design and fabrication technologies could open doors to many commercial applications where low noise and high speed of operation are critical, such as RF/microwave front ends in personal communication systems, optical receivers and high sensitivity microphones. The market for these systems is consumer-driven and there are stringent restrictions on cost. To date, compound semiconductor-based transistor technologies have been able to capture only a small portion of the consumer wireless market. Research and development on low noise, low power and high operating frequency transistor technologies will lead to low noise, wide bandwidth systems that can be realized using these technologies. Next generation communication devices like cell phones, high speed internet and GPS receivers will have lower costs and performance far superior to current generation devices.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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