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The growth in functionality of modern wireless communication, coupled with the Defense's need for a programmable RF framework, is drawing great interest in developing reconfigurable radio frequency (RF) systems. Having access to programmable subsystems will revolutionize the RF design space, improve cost and yields, and enable in-field system adaptation to RF signals and novel RF transceiver architectures. Micro-scale RF passives, namely micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) resonators and switches, are ideal candidates for the implementation of such reconfigurable RF platforms. This talk will present some the most promising RF MEMS technologies that I have developed for intelligent and efficient utilization of the RF spectrum. Laterally vibrating MEMS resonators (LVRs), which enable multiple frequencies on a single chip, will be described as the key building block for programmable filtering and frequency synthesis. Depending on bandwidth and insertion loss requirements, different material sets have been explored for making these devices. I will describe the design and fabrication challenges that have been addressed, and the subsequently demonstrated first micro-machined LiNbO3 LVR for wideband applications, and AlN-transduced SiC and sapphire devices for high Q and narrowband systems. Electro-statically actuated RF-MEMS switches that can be readily co-integrated with any of the resonator technologies will also be presented. The design and development of these RF micro-systems will be discussed with a special focus on how these devices will enable unprecedented system level capabilities.
Songbin Gong recently joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign as an assistant professor. Prior to UIUC, he was a research scientist with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh from 2012 to 2013, and a postdoctoral researcher with the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia from 2010 to 2012. He received his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, in 2010. He has over eight years of research experience in RF micro-systems and 20+ peer-reviewed publications on the subject. His research interests primarily include design and development of RF-MEMS devices, components, and subsystems for reconfigurable RF front ends.