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IRUDIT: Interference Robust Ultra-low-power Digitally Inspired Transceiver

Project Number: 13576

Project Manager: Prof. dr.ir. B. Nauta

Project website:


Wireless Sensor Networks are networks of small cheap devices that sense physical quantities and communicate with each other wirelessly. To make them small and cheap, all required electronics and often also the sensors are realized on a single Integrated Circuit (IC). Energy is preferably harvested from the environment (e.g. by means of a solar cell) which requires an Ultra Low Power (ULP) wireless link and extremely energy efficient ICs. Increasingly, such devices are linked via the internet, such that an ―internet of things‖ [1] results, opening completely new extremely large markets. The unprecedented growth in market size implies that ICs for ULP Wireless Systems will have to be produced in the billions. To achieve the power and cost targets, ultra-modern IC technologies (CMOS) will have to be used. These technologies are typically exploited in the design of digital advanced processors for laptops, tablets and smartphones. To fully benefit from the advantages of CMOS for ULP ICs, the realization of wireless systems in such technology requires a new - digitally inspired - design style. On top of the strict limits on power consumption and the challenges posed by CMOS technology, a major upcoming concern is interferer robustness. All the wireless sensor nodes compete in using the scarce suitable radio spectrum, while other wireless devices are also using it. Relying on contemporary techniques, this will lead to an enormous pollution of the Electro Magnetic environment, eventually leading to a standstill of all wireless communication. Thus, mutual interference of the numerous devices is a key worry and manifests itself most prominently at the receiving side of the wireless transceivers. Interference robustness of receivers is an active field of research, however mainly in the context of software radio where energy efficiency is not the prime focus. The ICD group of the University of Twente (UT) is world leading in the design of flexible interferer robust receivers and has proposed several highly cited RF techniques, e.g. noise and distortion cancelling [1-4], mixer first architectures [5-7], N-path filters [8-12] and, together with the CAES group, digitally inspired techniques [13-16], [17-21]. Holst Centre holds a strong position in the design of ULP devices. By joining forces all relevant aspects (low cost, low power, interference robustness, digital) are well covered by the partners. In this project the UT and Holst Centre will explore previously proposed interference robustness techniques in a low power context and develop/invent new ones. Digitally inspired techniques are strongly favoured, as they scale better with Moore‘s law than traditional analog circuit solutions.

Project duration: 1-3-2015 / 1-3-2019

Project budget:  317.1 k-€ funding

Number of person/months: 2.4 fte / year

Participants: UT, Holst Centre

Project budget CTIT: 554 k-€ funding

CTIT Research Centre: Centre for Array Technology