ECE alumnus part of team chosen for DARPA’s WARP program
A company led by a Purdue ECE alumnus has been chosen to conduct research for DARPA’s Wideband Adaptive RF Protection (WARP) program. Steven Cuppy (BSEE ’85, MSEE ’86) is a principal of Indiana Microelectronics, LLC, in West Lafayette. A start-up building on cutting-edge research in applied electromagnetics and advanced packaging materials, Indiana Microelectronics designs and produces tunable microwave filters for co-site interference and jamming mitigation.
The radio frequency (RF) spectrum is a scarce resource that is becoming increasingly congested and contested as demand for spectrum access continues to grow. Within this crowded environment, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) RF systems are hampered by mission-compromising interference from both self- and externally-generated signals. Wideband software-defined radio (SDR) systems provide unprecedented access to the RF spectrum and are beginning to proliferate throughout the DoD and commercial applications as a result. Unfortunately, as bandwidth increases, dynamic range tends to decrease, which impacts the radio’s sensitivity and performance.
To mitigate this challenge and support the continued use of these wideband radios, DARPA developed the Wideband Adaptive RF Protection (WARP) program. WARP is exploring the development of tunable filters to manage external interference as well as tunable signal canceller architectures to address self-interference. The goal is to develop technologies that are tunable over wide bandwidths with low-loss and high-linearity that can protect defense and commercial wideband systems.
Indiana Microelectronics is one of six teams selected to tackle the development of new filter architectures that have inherently wideband tuning characteristics to cover the 2-18 GHz band of interest. The other research teams selected to take on this area include the University of Pennsylvania; BAE Systems; Raytheon Technologies; Northrop Grumman Corporation; and Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp.
The other primary research area for WARP is focusing on reconfigurable signal cancellers in the 0.1-6 GHz band of interest while supporting large time delay spreads to handle dispersive signal leakage paths. The research teams working under this area include BAE Systems, L3Harris Technologies, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
All research teams will explore a diverse set of technology approaches that include intrinsically-switched electromagnetic (EM) resonators, multiferroics, acoustics, and photonics, which will all come together with new circuit architectures, heterogeneous device integration, and advanced RF packaging. The technical approaches will also include embedded sensing of the EM spectrum, which provides adaptive control of the tuning elements and enables the hardware to react to environmental changes.
Cuppy is a member of the Purdue ECE Advisory Board. Prior to Indiana Microelectronics, he worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, and AirTouch International (now Vodafone), primarily in the field of switching and wireless communications. Cuppy co-founded Criterion Wireless Corp., a company specializing in measuring market share statistics for wireless service providers. He also served as president of a diversified aviation company.