High-Efficiency Low-Cost Power Amplifiers for Millimetre-Wave Massive MIMO Systems (HELOPA)


  • High-Efficiency Low-Cost Power Amplifiers for Millimetre-Wave Massive MIMO Systems (HELOPA)

High-Efficiency Low-Cost Power Amplifiers for Millimetre-Wave Massive MIMO Systems (HELOPA)

Principal Supervisor: Dr. Mury Thian

Second Supervisor: Dr. Neil Buchanan

+ Project Description

Dramatic improvements in capacity (as much as 1000× the current level) and spectral efficiency needed for future wireless communication systems to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of wireless electronic gadgets and users who require access to ubiquitous high-speed wireless links can be achieved by adopting millimetre-wave (mmW) massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technologies. 

The realization of mmW massive MIMO requires a radical change in base station architecture wherein hundreds of power amplifiers are required to feed a large array of small antennas. The development of mmW massive MIMO transceivers has been to date hampered by the power amplifiers poor efficiency and high implementation cost. 

Nonlinear switch-mode power amplifiers (SMPAs) such as Class E and F offer high efficiency but require fast (power-hungry, expensive) transistors to allow the generation of higher order harmonics. Moreover, abrupt drop during ON-to-OFF or OFF-to-ON transition in the idealised switch current or voltage waveform of existing SMPA topologies results in substantial power dissipation in the practical implementation hence reduces the PA efficiency. 

The proposed research ambitiously aims to produce a new type of highly-efficient highly-linear power amplifier that offers true soft-switching characteristics to permit the use of low-cost slow-switching transistors for effective deployment in mmW massive MIMO systems. This will be achieved through holistic design approach to tackle multiple-level impediments encompassing different aspects of current technologies, by applying ZVS-ZVDS and ZCS-ZCDS conditions simultaneously to alleviate the abrupt drop in the switch current/voltage waveform, using nonlinear negative feedback to mitigate charge accumulation at the gate, and adopting geometric programming to optimise device layout and interconnect in order to minimise degradation in maximum oscillation frequency (fMAX). 

Successes in this project will therefore bridge the gap between theory and implementation of mmW massive MIMO systems by realistically considering blended hardware-financial constraints, and will lay new scientific foundations that advance the state-of-the-art methods for designing low-cost high-efficiency mmW PAs. Specifically, the knowledge derived from this research will contribute to the hardware development of 5G infrastructures that will underpin the way we communicate, work and live. Importantly, the proposed concepts will be robustly validated through IC prototype implemented using CMOS technology, and high-precision measurements. 

This project is supported by the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and will be carried out in close collaboration with one of the world largest semiconductor companies with core expertise in integrated circuit design.  

Imagine a world in which everyone owns self-driving cars, you can use a mobile phone to control home alarm/heating/lighting systems and remotely see your GP with wearable devices providing your health data. This will all be possible within the next decade with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), when all our devices will be connected to the Internet and each other. However, in order for IoT to be successful, ensuring the privacy and security of the information communicated between devices is crucial and is a major challenge. Practical attacks of IoT devices have already been shown, e.g. 150,000 IoT devices were compromised for use in the massive distributed denial-of-service attack that recently disrupted US internet traffic. As IoT devices typically have limited memory and computing power, adding complex security features is not always possible. 

This research will investigate the design of novel Physical Unclonable Functions, which exploit random variations found in the silicon used in the manufacture of electronic chips as an inherently lightweight means to uniquely identify and authenticate IoT devices.

+ How to Apply

Applicants should apply electronically through the Queen’s online application portal at: https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/

+ Contact Details

Supervisor Name: Dr Mury Thian   

Queens University of Belfast
School of EEECS
Centre for Wireless Innovation (CWI)
NI Science Park
Queens Road,




+44 (0)28 9097 1845