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Researchers at Tecnun awarded for a paper on a low-noise amplifier

The article is signed as first author by Alvaro Urain, PhD student of the School, and the co-authors are David Del Río and Iñaki Gurutzeaga, from Ceit, and Andoni Beriain, Roc Berenguer and Héctor Solar, from Tecnun

FotoCedida/El PhD student de Tecnun, Álvaro Urain, poses with the award.

13 | 12 | 2021

Researchers from Tecnun have received the 'Best Paper Award' from a congress in Portugal, with a article whose first author is Alvaro Urain, PhD student from Tecnun. Also co-authors of the paper are Iñaki Gurutzeaga and David del Río, from Ceit, and Andoni Beriain, Roc Berenguer and Héctor Solar, from Tecnun.

What is the paper you are working on about?

Our paper deals with the design of a LNA (a low noise amplifier) at 180 GHz. The main challenge of the work has been the operating frequency. The communications electronics we use have until recently worked up to 5 GHz or so (one of the WIFI bands). Now with 5G we are working at higher frequencies (10-60 GHz) and there are other applications in the 70-90 GHz range.

What have you focused on in your study?

In our case, we have focused on an even higher band with a more commercial and cheaper technology (SiGe BiCMOS) compared to the technologies that have traditionally been used in this frequency range (III-V composites).

What is new about your paper?

In the paper we explained the design of an LNA (one of the most common and important blocks in radio frequency) and pointed out the main problems we had encountered when working at such a high frequency and explained how we had mitigated them. The title of the paper is: " Design and Layout Considerations of a D-Band SiGe LNA for Radiometric Applications".

Which researchers took part in this study?

I am first author of the paper, and co-authors are David Del Río and Iñaki Gurutzeaga, from Ceit, and Andoni Beriain, Roc Berenguer and Héctor Solar, from Tecnun.

What practical application can it have?

The application for which this LNA has been designed has to do with weather prediction systems, specifically radiometry. A radiometer is a satellite that measures the blackbody radiation (at final, electromagnetic waves) of gases in the atmosphere. This radiation changes according to the state of the gas, therefore, by monitoring this radiation it is possible to know the state of the atmosphere and predict which meteorological phenomena are going to occur.

Can you give an example?

Yes, for example, H2O emits waves at different frequencies, and one of the bands is centred at 183 GHz through which humidity can be measured (which is what we have focused on). As climate change is increasing the frequency of weather catastrophes, more robust systems are needed and radiometers are the most promising because, among other things, they provide real-time data from large areas of the atmosphere.

What has it meant to you to receive this recognition?

This paper is the result of my Master's thesis project , and also the beginning of my thesis (I started the thesis in September and it is a continuation of what I did in the PFM). So, this award is an acknowledgement that the thesis is well focused and on track. Which is a relief because it means that the research is on the right track. It is also a recognition that the department is doing things right and that the work being done by all the researchers is very good.

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