WHISPERS Team

WHISPERS combines researchers’ expertise in design, metrology, detectors, devices and system hardware solutions that have advanced international scientific research operating in microwave to terahertz frequencies and beyond in order to solve the significant technical challenges of disparate interests seeking to share the same spectrum.


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Bobby Weikle (PI)

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director, Far-Infrared and Terahertz Receiver Laboratory
University of Virginia

Bobby Weikle has over 30 years of experience in researching device technologies, sensors, circuit architectures and instrumentation for scientific and engineering applications spanning the millimeter-wave and terahertz spectral range. Weikle focuses primarily on developing terahertz measurement systems based on heterogeneous integration techniques that combine different material systems, device concepts and physical domains ranging from electronic and mechanical to thermal. Recent research from his group has led to the creation of highly efficient integrated frequency multiplier sources, as well as new tools for in-situ metrology for terahertz devices and circuits.  In addition to serving as director of UVA’s far-infrared and terahertz receiver laboratory, Weikle is co-founder and chief technology officer of Dominion Microprobes, a global supplier of probes for on-wafer measurements above 300 GHz. He has published over 200 technical publications in refereed journals and conferences and holds six patents in the area of terahertz technology.


Nikos Sidiropoulos

Nikos Sidiropoulos (Co-PI)

Louis T. Rader Professor and chair
Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Virginia

Nikos Sidiropoulos conducts research at the confluence of signal processing, wireless communications and machine learning. He is one of the leading experts on tensor decomposition and its applications, with many award-winning papers spanning theoretical foundations to applications in machine learning, probability, radar and wireless communications. Sidiropoulos is also well-known for his work on multicast beamforming, which is part of eMBMS in LTE and beyond. His work includes three IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing best paper awards, a Google Classic Paper, the most frequently accessed TSP paper in IEEExplore that is also #1 in the Google Scholar TSP ranking, and many conference best papers co-authored with his students. Sidiropoulos is a fellow of IEEE and the European Association for Signal Processing and serves as vice president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society.  
 


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Scott Barker

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Virginia

 

Scott Barker’s interests include applying MEMS and micromachining techniques to the development of millimeter-wave and terahertz circuits and components. He has over 100 publications and several patents in this field. In 2011 he co-founded the company Dominion MicroProbes, Inc., to develop and market terahertz frequency technology including 500-750 GHz and 750-1100 GHz on-wafer probes. Barker has served on the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques technical committee on RF-MEMS (MTT-21) since 2000 and was the committee chair from 2008 to 2011. He also served on the IMS technical program review committee since 2001. He served on the steering committee of IMS2011 in Baltimore; was the TPC co-chair for IMS2014 in Tampa, Florida;  and is co-general chair for IMS2024 in Washington, D.C. He served as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques from 2010 to 2013 and was the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Microwave and Wireless Components Letters from 2016-2018. He is currently the chair of the MTT-S publications committee.


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Steve Bowers

Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director, Integrated Electromagnetics, Circuits and Systems Laboratory
University of Virginia

Steven Bowers brings RF integrated circuit expertise in both ultra-low nanowatt power level wireless transceivers as well as mm-wave electronic and photonic circuits and integrated electromagnetics. The near ultra-low power RF circuits will be used in spectrum monitoring applications while the mm-wave and integrated photonics can help open up new spectrum with higher bandwidth. Bowers earned the prestigious NSF CAREER Award in 2019. He is a recipient of the 2012 IEEE RFIC Symposium and 2013 IEEE MTT-S IMS Best Student Paper Awards in 2012, the 2015 IEEE MTT-S Microwave Prize and the 2019 Charles L. Brown ECE Faculty Research Award.  Bowers leads UVA’s Integrated Electromagnetics, Circuits, and Systems Lab, overseeing the work of 10 graduate students, two of whom recently earned honors from IEEE’s Solid-State Circuits Society and Microwave Theory and Techniques Society.
 


Art Lichtenberger

Art Lichtenberger

Research Professor
Director, University of Virginia Microfabrication Laboratories
University of Virginia

Lichtenberger has built an internationally recognized research program in superconducting materials, devices, circuits and packaging for ultra-sensitive single pixel and array THz detectors. Throughout the past 25 years Lichtenberg has collaborated with astronomical groups to develop state-of-the-art millimeter and submm wavelength mixers for use on radio telescopes throughout the world. His group’s research includes the investigation of materials and microfabrication technologies for new terahertz devices, circuits and metrology. To date, he has been PI or Co-PI on over 25 million dollars of funding and an author on over 150 papers. He is a founding member and the president and chief operations officer of Dominion MicroProbes Inc. He currently oversees a $9 million investment to renovate the UVML clean room and served as principal investigator for UVA’s $10 million investment to launch the multifunctional materials integration facility.


Cong Shen

Cong Shen

Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Virginia

Cong Shen is an expert in wireless communications and machine learning for wireless networks. In particular, he applies machine learning techniques to solve various problems of spectrum sensing and dynamic spectrum access. In addition to his research contributions, Shen brings extensive industry wireless R&D experience to the team, having worked for Qualcomm Research, SpiderCloud Wireless, Silvus Technologies and Xsense.ai in various full time and consulting roles. He holds 17 granted U.S. patents in wireless communications.

 


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Randall Berry (Co-PI)

 

John A. Dever Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Northwestern University

Randall Berry’s research addresses challenges in wireless networking and spectrum sharing such as the economic impact of different spectrum sharing technologies. His service to the wireless spectrum community includes organizing multiple panels and workshops related to spectrum sharing, participating in workshops convened by the Wireless Spectrum R&D Interagency Working group and participating in the steering committee for the IEEE International Symposium on Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks.


Dongning Guo

Dongning Guo

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Northwestern University
 
Dongning Guo studies fundamental limits and learning techniques in wireless networks and the security of trustless blockchain systems. His group has developed theory and algorithms for spectrum allocation and sharing. He led teams to develop intelligent spectrum sharing radios in DARPA’s Spectrum Challenge (2011–2014) and Spectrum Collaboration Challenge (2016-2018); both teams reached the final year competition in DARPA’s Colosseum testbed. He holds four U.S. patents based on his research at Northwestern.

 

 


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Tony Beasley (Co-PI

Director, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
 
Tony Beasley joined NRAO as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1991 after earning his Doctorate in Astrophysics from the University of Sydney. He was appointed deputy assistant director in 1997 and then assistant director from 1998 to 2000. He left NRAO to become project manager for the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy. In 2004, he returned to NRAO as an assistant director, this time as project manager for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile. In 2008, Beasley became the chief operating officer and project manager of the National Ecological Observatory Network. He was appointed NRAO director in February 2012.
 
 

 


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Bert Hawkins

Director, Central Development Laboratory
National Radio Astronomy Observatory

 
Bert Hawkins joined NRAO in 2017 after spending five years as the director of the Science and Technology Directorate at the U.S. Army National Ground Intelligence Center. He led a team of over 300 scientists, engineers, analysts, and support personnel located in Virginia, Maryland, and various centers around the world. His experience crosses several disciplines including millimeter/submm/infrared/acoustic technology development and analysis, foreign R&D and weapons/systems performance and radar characterization of physical objects. Hawkins brings highly relevant expertise in microwave, radar and related technologies, combined with significant leadership and lab management experience.