NSF Workshop

Session I :Satellite and Space Communications Organizer Dr. Aly Fathy

 Microwave, Millimeter-wave, and Terahertz Radars for Space Science Applications

Dr. Goutam Chattopadhyay
Jet Propulsion Laboratory , NASA, USA

At NASA, over the years, we have been developing radars for space science applications at the frequency bands of microwave, millimeter-wave, and terahertz frequencies. These radars are primarily used for Earth observations and planetary science applications. In this presentation, we will present an overview of the state of the different radar developments in our laboratory. Specifically, the focus will be on some of the recent developments in the highly compact and low-power radars for planetary applications for places such as Mars and Europa. Some of these radars are being planned to be mounted on future Mars helicopters to provide unique science data. Moreover, in recent years, we have developed novel differential absorption radars both for Earth Observations (at millimeter-waves) and Mars (at terahertz frequencies) to measure the water content in the respective atmospheres. Some of the design and implementation details will be provided in this lecture. The research described herein was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Ultra-Wideband CubSat Constellation Array for High Resolution Imaging

Dr. John L. Volakis Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA

Conventional satellites for Earth science observations are a well-demonstrated and established technology. However, they cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and a long time to develop. On the other hand, CubeSats represent a class of miniaturized satellites that can be as small as 10x10x10 cm3 in volume and weigh under 1.44 kg. Indeed, the small size and weight of CubeSats allow for a significant reduction in cost and deployment time. This affordability of CubeSats has led to the concept of using clusters of networked CubeSats to enable missions deemed impossible with conventional satellites. That is, CubeSat constellations have great potential as platforms for Earth science missions. However, so far, imaging hardware payloads for CubeSats has been limited to higher frequencies. Specifically, RainCube operates at 35.75 GHz and the CubeSat Imaging Radar for Earth Sciences (CIRES), InSARs, operates at 2.9 GHz. On the other hand, it is well-known that lower frequencies can penetrate through foliage and deeper into soil and ice surfaces. This presentation is focused on foldable ultra-wideband arrays at low frequencies (VHF and UHF, S-band, and L-band). Foldability is necessary to overcome the space limitations of CubeSats. This is done via a realization and demonstration of Origami/Kirigami folding concepts. antenna arrays. Further to achieve narrow beamwidths, constellations of CubeSats are proposed to achieve SAR slant range resolution is 0.375 m using the large bandwidth of the packable tightly coupled arrays. Designs will be discussed to achieve imaging resolutions in the order of 1 m (along-track and cross-track) and ground range resolution of 1.46 m.

Building Blocks for Space THz Communications
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. Imran Mehdi  NASA, USA

With the increasing number of space assets along with the need for space interferometric systems, there is a need for robust, efficient, and wideband communication links between the assets. Similarly, high-data-rate communications between a mother orbiting ship and landed assets are highly desirable not only for navigation but for science data as well. THz communications systems present a number of advantages in implementing efficient data links between various scenarios for space applications. This talk will discuss the recent advances in building blocks, such as coherent sources and super-heterodyne receivers, needed for such applications. An example architecture at 240 GHz has been suggested and demonstrated utilizing the current generation of solid-state transmitters that can provide hundreds of mW of power in the submillimeter-wave range. With highly sensitive and linear heterodyne mixers, such a system could potentially provide the needed higher data rate capability without the drawbacks associated with optical technology.

Design of Reflectarray Antennas for Intercelestial Communication Using a CubeSat Relay

Dr. Rashaunda Henderson
Univ of Texas at Dallas, USA

This presentation highlights the design of reflectarray antennas operating at X- and Ka-bands with gains of 27 dBi and 34 dBi, respectively, which have been proposed for 3U CubeSat relay communication. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) collects around 573 GB of data per day and the data is sent to the ground station (WS1) located in White Sands, New Mexico. The LRO communicates with the earth station an average of 4 times per day throughout the year. The LRO has several instruments in the lunar orbit, ranging from passive imagers to an active altimeter, as well as a synthetic aperture radar. There is a growing need to transfer more data to the earth station for future missions. In order to accomplish this goal, we propose to use a CubeSat relay between the earth and the moon orbiter. This CubeSat will communicate with the deep space network (DSN) instead of communicating with WS1 and this will help in improving the connection time between the moon orbiter and the ground station. The data rate of the proposed method would be 4.5 Mbps with binary phase shift keying (BPSK) modulation. We share the design of the reflectarrays using two commercial simulation tools and characterization of the Ka-band design.

GPS Satellite Antijamming Technology and Techniques

Dr. Aly E. Fathy
University of Tennessee, USA

This presentation highlights the design challenges faced by Global Positioning System (GPS) service providers when creating wide-frequency-range receivers, which require a wideband feed network and circularly polarized antenna. The presentation also emphasizes the importance of high-performance systems for precise localization in the GNSS market. It also notes that developers of GNSS receivers must be aware of the risks posed by jamming and take measures to protect their systems and users. Additionally, it stresses that understanding the impact of jamming and implementing techniques to mitigate the threat is crucial for the development of safety-critical and mission-critical systems.

Session II: Recent Advances in Radars and Their Applications
Oeganizer Dr. John Papapolymerou

UWB FM Radars for Long-Range Measurements: An Overview and their Application to Snow Thickness Profiling

Dr. Fernando Rodriguez-Morales
University of Kansas, and Sandia National Labs, USA

Frequency-modulated (FM) radars have continued to evolve steadily since they were first demonstrated at the beginning of the 20th century. Although their general operating principle has been known for some time, the availability of new and ever-improved related technologies has resulted in ultra-wideband (UWB) systems with unprecedented detection capabilities, which are applicable to multiple fields. In this presentation, we will review the current state-of-the-art UWB FM radar systems along with general design constraints and performance metrics. In particular, we will provide an overview of system-level considerations for short- and long-range operations. We will focus on radar assets employed to address some of today’s global challenges in the context of geosciences. Lastly, we will explore the future landscape potentially enabled by emerging technologies

Space Environment and High-Power Satellites Tracking Radars

Dr. Mohamed Abouzahra
MIT Lincoln Labs, Space System Analysis & Test Group, USA

Over the past seven decades space has been transformed from being an unreachable safe haven into a congested, contested, and competed environment. Both military and civilian applications have found it to be a very useful domain. All nations are now striving to leverage space with very little international oversight or any enforceable regulations. The current status seems to be untenable. This presentation reviews how we got to this point and describes some of the high-power radars that are being used daily by the Space Surveillance Network (SSN) to maintain awareness of that domain (Space Domain Awareness).

Additive Manufacturing for RF Packaging and Heterogeneous Integration for Radar Hardware

Dr. John Papapolymerou
Michigan State University, USA

With the ever-increasing development of microwave, mm-wave, and THz integrated circuits of various semiconductor technologies (e.g Silicon, SiGe, GaAs, GaN, Diamond) there is an increased need for a heterogeneous integration and packaging solution to build useful and lightweight radar hardware and front-ends by successfully combining these different semiconductor technologies. Additive manufacturing has emerged as a promising technology to address this highly important challenge. In this presentation, we will cover examples of Polyjet and Aerosol Jet 3D printed RF front ends and antennas that offer competitive RF performance and unique new RF hardware capabilities in a cost-effective manner, and pave the way for future highly integrated, lightweight, and possible conformal radars for a variety of applications.

Session II: High-Power Microwave Technology

Recent Advances in High-Power and Wide-Bandgap RF Devices

Dr. Dimitris Pavlidis
University of Florida, USA

Wireless Power Transmission

Dr. Prof. Nuno Borges Carvalho
Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal

Analysis of Non-Covalent Functionalization of CVD Graphene for Sensors and Devices Application

Dr. Uche Wejinya
University of Arkansas, USA

Session IV Technology for smart villages and smart cities in Africa
Organizer Dr. Edward Rezek

IEEE Smart Village (ISV) is a technical community within the IEEE, a 400,000+ technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. ISV integrates sustainable electrical technology, education, and entrepreneurial solutions to implement the productive use of renewable electricity to empower disadvantaged communities. To that end, ISV provides funding and other resources to projects worldwide. ISV is not a charity but funds projects from local entrepreneurs to create, maintain and sustain business solutions that support local sustainable industries. Local villagers are hired, trained, and educated to operate these industries, with the goal to sell products and reinvest any profit back into the industry. The ISV goal is to grow these industries, hire/train/educate more villagers, and raise the standard of living in the local community. ISV gets no money from any industry that it creates; 100% of the profit is reinvested by local entrepreneurs. ISV has funded over 171 projects in 21 countries since 2009. ~3,500 PV Solar Panels have been installed producing > 1.8 MW of power. ~200,000 customers are currently receiving the benefits of power. ~650 new business start-ups have been created since villages were electrified. Over 11,000 villagers have received ISV-supported education.

Honey Farming Hub

Fidelis Filipatali,

A program led by the Tanzanian NGO Rural Development Organization (RDO) established a honey farming hub funded partly by ISV. A pilot honey-producing site was built and operated by expert beekeepers from outside the village. The production, harvesting, and processing cycle were completed to demonstrate how the farming hubs should be operated. A significant portion of the program was to provide knowledge and training to local villagers on modern beekeeping methods. A curriculum was created, enabling local beekeepers to become fully familiar with all honey farming activities and capable of training others. The successful first phase pilot has been scaled up to a 2nd site; each site has 30 hives and together can generate 500kg of honey. The RDO had access to markets to sell the product. Local village farmers observed and were trained on the marketing process.

Solar Rice Mill Project

Tunde Yusuff Salihu,

This project introduces renewable energy to provide electricity for pumping water for Omupo community residents. Electricity will be used to power rice-producing machinery. The pumping station will be in the Omupo village, eliminating the need to manually transport water over 1-5 km of trails. Women are traveling up to 100 km to take advantage of the machinery.

Promise for Single-pass Microwave Rice Drying Systems

Dr. Griffiths Atungulu
Research Shows University of Arkansas

The global demand for rice continues to increase, and rice production is expanding to meet this demand. Consequently, the need to dry rice at peak harvest time has also increased. However, the rice harvesting window is relatively short and is often characterized by warm and humid conditions that favor the proliferation of microbes and pests in grain storage systems. New harvesting technologies have increased the speed at which rice can be harvested. Larger and faster grain carts, trucks, and trailers for transporting rice from combines to dryers have resulted in much higher delivery rates to commercial drying facilities. Unfortunately, the rice drying infrastructure has not grown at the same rate as the harvest and transport technology. Temporary “wet holding” of rice has become inevitable, and this delayed drying poses risks, especially for rice coming in with higher moisture content. Courtesy of a USDA SBIR-NIFA grant, the Rice/Grain Processing and Post-Harvest Systems Engineering Lab at the University of Arkansas’ Department of Food Science has a long-term goal to develop, validate, and commercialize rapid, one-pass drying technology for rough rice that maximizes head rice yield and ensures rice quality. In collaboration with our industry partners, this research project harnesses the volumetric heating characteristics of 915 MHz microwaves to minimize moisture content, temperature, and material phase gradients during rough rice drying and thereby discourage kernel fissuring, which reduces rice milling yield and quality. This one-pass drying process provides the microwave energy level and treatment duration required to decrease the moisture in a unit mass of rough rice from the harvest moisture level, which is typically about 22% to 20% wet basis (w.b.), to a safe storage moisture content of 12% to 13% w.b. This new drying approach is expected to dry rice without reducing the milling yield and without reducing the nutritional, functional, and sensory properties of rice.

Smart Vision Gemstone Project

Kanekwa Kachinga Kuumba


Zambia has been a major producer of gemstones in the world, but it still remains a poor country as most of the gemstones are not added value. For example, Zambia accounts for at least 20 percent of emerald’s value. Despite the country having an abundance of these precious stones, the trickledown effect has not been corresponding downstream such as in the lapidary industry. Without value added to the gemstone, the country has lost earnings with the rough material being exported which later adds value. Despite the challenges in the industry, women do not participate in this process as they are believed not to be masculine enough to do the work. The stereotyping has encroached on the industry coupled with gender and cultural expectations in Zambian’s Copperbelt province. The struggle to access land and mineral resources continues to be an impediment for most women, including them not acquiring mining licenses. Looking at the history of women in mining, they have continued to experience low remuneration compared to the other gender. For those women that migrate to mining areas in hope of gaining meaningful employment, many end up working in bars or hotels. Kuumba Smart Vision Zambia was established in 2021 as a Non-Profit Organisation, aimed at empowering rural women in value addition skills in the gemstone industry. The organization is actively working with the Ministry of Education through Gemstone Lapidary and Processing Training Centre (GLPTC) to train women in a two-year program.

STEM education Project

Mistura Muibi-Tijani


VertSTEM is a registered non-profit that aims to make STEM education accessible to all. We volunteer with IEEE Smart Village and are a beneficiary of Snap Circuit Kits in conducting Nigeria’s STEM outreach. In response to rural students surveyed during the COVID lockdown, we are working with community leaders to develop solar-powered computer hubs, to raise vocational awareness in neglected communities. We engage students in emerging technologies such as AI, IoT, etc. These hubs will also serve as an online examination center for students to write the UTME. The initiative will be profitable because UTME pays center owners per student usage.

Global Telehealth Network

Irvine Lumumba

Uganda and Kenya


ISV was an initial supporter of the Global Telehealth Network (GTN). GTN was founded on the belief that no one should be denied access to health care because of location, social status, or ability to pay. Notably, many locations in Africa are medically underserved. The GTN’s mission is to reduce health disparities and inequities in medically underserved areas. As its contribution to GTN, ISV supports local entrepreneurs who develop solar power installations and Internet access for health care, education, and economic development. throughout the world. ISV is teamed with Rotary International on this project. In Kenya and Uganda, 3 hospitals, 4 health centers, and 2 school clinics are participants. Once fully operational and vetted, the activity will extend to Liberia, Tanzania, and Nigeria. IEEE Smart Cities (ISC) is also a technical community within the IEEE. Whereas ISV works with local entrepreneurs to improve their communities, ISC coordinates the broad array of IEEE technical expertise to advance the state of the art of Smart Cities technology. What is a Smart City? It is a regular city but one where ISC has identified and developed technical best practices within the context of the urban infrastructure system. Smart Cities benefit from the usage of intelligent sensors and electronic devices, communication networks and cyber security, systems integration, intelligence and data analytics, and management and control platforms. No new industries are normally created, but existing industries are enhanced and augmented by various new technologies. Some enhancements will be described in this workshop.

Challenges and Opportunities for Smart Cities in Africa

Kemboi Cherogony

The advancement of science and technology is fairly quick. It forces people to consider how quickly and drastically the social landscape and environment may change. It is evident that the concentration of industrial activity in large cities leads to a number of urban problems, particularly environmental ones. Industrial regions are currently being revitalized and relocated, which brings up the question of new urban development methods. The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Sustainable Development Goals, 2015) asks for innovative methods of developing sustainable human settlements, including addressing the problems caused by growing urbanization. Sustainable cities and communities are one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Making cities sustainable means creating career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building resilient societies and economies. It involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways

Engineering Challenges and Smart Cities in Africa

Ayomide Balogun Oto-obong John Effiong and Olufemi

The continent Africa had for a very long time experienced difficulty in attaining a technological level of development and sustainability, especially in the areas of Energy/Energy Access, Education, Agriculture, and Transportation. While these issues are not peculiar to the countries and communities in Africa, but rather globally, African communities possess a unique potential for resilience, adaptability, and easily scalable solutions that can greatly accelerate the growth and transformation of communities into Smart Villages and by extension, Smart Cities. By Facilitating and proffering solutions to Rural Development (Urbanization) through interconnectivity and Access to Clean Energy (Electricity), STEAM Education, Agriculture, and Transformation, one can set up a framework to ensure a self-sustaining ecosystem. In addition, the interaction between these systems and their utilization by the people at the fundamental level also provides a unique opportunity for collaboration not just between individuals in a community, but between two or more communities, thereby creating a system for development while opening the door for more opportunities. These include Energy Access and Management, Sensing as well as an acceptable level of automation and intelligence for Transportation, Agriculture, Healthy Living, and Clean environment among others.

Sustainable smart applications made by university students

Hady Habibn Fayek

Egypt as a model of middle east countries is turning its communities to be sustainable and intelligent. The students of Engineering in different fields have bigger chances to involve renewable energies and sustainable water management as sustainable steps and also to apply IoT and artificial intelligence as thoughtful steps in their projects. These projects are turning out to be startups and products used by Egyptian citizens from different educational and financial levels. Examples of these projects are simple wind turbines to feed homes with electricity, 100% on-grid PV solutions, IoT electric vehicles, conversion of gasoline cars to electric vehicles, and others done by undergraduate students at Heliopolis University into startups.

Role of Wireless Chargers for Electric Vehicles in Smart Cities

Sampath Jayalath

Initially, an introduction to wireless charging technology for electric vehicles is provided to highlight the importance of this technology, state-of-the-art solutions proposed, different modes of operation of the wireless charger (static, stationary, and dynamic), etc. Then it will discuss the impact of these charging technologies on the smart grid, which includes challenges around harmonic mitigation, power factor control, and bidirectional operation of wireless power chargers. Next, it introduces the opportunities and challenges around developing smart charging infrastructures, routing, scheduling, and planning strategies in smart cities. Finally, it will discuss the future of this technology in the global and African context to enable smart cities.

National Science Foundation Microwave for Humanities Workshops

Several workshops on a variety of topics related to current or emerging interests, will be organized during the first International Microwave & Antenna Symposium in Africa (IMAS 2023). Be a part of the “The first international fully sponsored IEEE conference in Africa”

IMAS is the first international fully sponsored IEEE conference in Africa by the IEEE APS (Antenna and Propagation) and the IEEE MTT (Microwave Theory and Technology) societies. It is planned to be organized annually in different African countries.

Workshops at IMAS 2023 will possibly include:
The proposed workshops will deal with four new and emerging communications and microwave technologies that will include device characterization, novel circuit design for passive and active components, CAD tools, wireless communication networks, sensor networks, fast computations, smart healthcare, asset tracking, and precise localization. The workshops will address four general areas of research:

Please follow up for more details on workshops and speakers at IMAS 2023.

Don’t miss out on Workshops at this invaluable event!

Smart Villages

  • Chief Tunde Sailihu (Shaybis Nigeria Limited (SNL), ISV long term partner developer)
  • Kanekwa Kaciinaga (IEEE Smart Village (My organization- Kuumba Smart Vision- Zambia)
  • Mistura Muibi-Tijani (VertSTEM /IEEE YP Nigeria / IEEE Smart Village- Africa
  • Fidelis Filipatali (Founder of Rural Development Organization (RDO Tanzania)) 
  • Irvine Lumamba (Advisory Committee for the Design and Implementation of the National School of Community Networks in Kenya)
  • Dr. Edward Anthony Rezek (IEEE Smart Village Vice President of Finance)


  • Dr. Sampath Arachchige (University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Eng. Oto-obong John Effiong (Director, JEZ Power Company Ltd Maintenance & Operations Engineer, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company)
  • Dr. Hady Habib Fayek (Heliopolis University)
  • Mr. Olufemi Ayomide Balogun (VAAV Innovative Solutions Ltd, IEEE Smart Village Africa Working Group)
  • Dennis Kemboi Cherogony (Multimedia University of Kenya, Research Assistant)
  • Prof. ODHIAMBO GRIFFITHS GREGORY ATUNGULU (University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture)

Satellite and Space Communications

  • Dr. Imran Mehdi (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology)
  • Prof. Rashaunda Henderson (University of Texas at Dallas)

 High-Frequency Semiconductor Devices

  • Amirreza Ghadimi Avval (University of Arkansas)
  • Prof. Homer Alan Mantooth (University of Arkansas)
  • Prof. Dimitris Pavlidis (College of Engineering and Computing, Florida International University)

The Workshop Organizers:

Prof. Samir El-Ghazaly (University of Arkansas)

Ms Sara Ghayouraneh (University of Arkansas)