Okusaga and Zhou recognized with 2012 RDA Award
August 29, 2013
Dr. Olukayode Okusaga and Dr. Weimin Zhou were recently recognized by the Department of the Army with a 2012 Army Research and Development Achievement Award for their work titled "Photonic Synthesis and Distribution of Ultra-Low-Noise Radio Frequency Signals."
The team developed techniques for taking precise Radio-Frequency (RF) signals used by the Army, such as radar and Global Positioning (GPS), and transmitting them over optical fiber.
Okusaga, an electronics engineer in the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate described the evolution of their concept.
"We combined knowledge from two areas usually thought of as unrelated; techniques to measure and improve the stability of radio signals; and complex ways light interacts with matter (scattering)," Okusaga said. "By combining ideas from both fields, we were able to create a combined radio-laser transmission system that has the strengths of both radio and laser systems while avoiding most of their weaknesses."
Reflecting on how this technology could impact both the operational Army and commercial sector, Okusaga stated, "Our techniques can be used to create a fiber-optic alternative to GPS satellites potentially allowing soldiers to enjoy the uses of GPS (such as navigation) even in hostile environments where an enemy jams GPS. It can also allow the Army to transmit radar signals over many miles, allowing units that are very far away from each other to share radar and other sensor information in real-time. This sort of real-time sharing of sensor data should prevent friendly-fire incidents."
Okusaga added, "Potentially, our technique can be used to transmit synchronization signals needed by devices in telecommunications networks, such as cell phone towers."
Both researchers said that winning this award is a great honor. Each dedicated many years to investigating and developing this technology.
Okusaga and Zhou are currently collaborating with other organizations to incorporate this technology in prototypes for next-generation military systems.
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