This project is funded by European Commission through its FET OPEN program.
Metasurfaces, thin film planar, artificial structures, have recently enabled the realization of novel electromagnetic and optical components with engineered and even unnatural functionalities. These include electromagnetic invisibility of objects (cloaking), total radiation absorption, filtering and steering of light and sound, as well as ultra-efficient, miniaturized antennas for sensors and implantable communication devices. Nonetheless, metasurfaces are presently non-adaptive and non-reusable, restricting their applicability to a single functionality per structure (e.g., steering light towards a fixed direction) and to static structures only.
Moreover, designing a metasurface remains a task for specialized researchers, limiting their accessibility from the broad engineering field. VISORSURF proposes a hardware platform-the HyperSurface-that can host metasurface functionalities described in software. The HyperSurface essentially merges existing metasurfaces with nanonetworks, acting as a reconfigurable (globally, locally, upon request or depending on the environment) metasurface, whose properties can be changed via a software interface. This control is achieved by a network of miniaturized controllers, incorporated into the structure of the metasurface. The controllers receive programmatic directives and perform simple alterations on the metasur-face structure, adjusting its electromagnetic behavior. The required end-functionality is described in well-defined, reusable software modules, adding the potential for hosting multiple functionalities concurrently and adaptively. VISORSURF will study in depth the novel and unexplored theoretical capabilities of the HyperSurface concept.
(more info at: N3Cat)
This project is funded by the GRAPHENE Flagship European Project.
Nanotechnology is increasingly providing a plethora of new tools to design and manufacture miniaturized devices such as ubiquitous sensors, wearable electronics or pervasive computing systems. Such devices require wireless communications for information sharing and coordination. Unfortunately, reducing the size (and concomitantly cost) of such devices is severely restricted by the dimensions of metallic antennas. Graphene offers a radical alternative to downscale antennas by orders of magnitude thanks to its special dispersion relation and its ability to support surface-plasmon polaritons (SPP) in the terahertz frequency band. Indeed, a graphene RF plasmonic micro-antenna with lateral dimensions of a few micrometers is predicted to resonate in the terahertz band (0.3-10 THz) at a frequency up to two orders of magnitude lower and with higher radiation efficiency with respect to metallic counterparts. In consequence, graphene micro-antennas provide a huge integration potential for future miniaturized wireless systems and represents an enabling technology for the future dominant ICT applications envisioned by e.g. Internet of Things.
This project is funded by INTEL through its Doctoral Student Honor Programme.
Current trends in microprocessor architecture design are leading towards a dramatic increase of core-level parallelization, wherein a given number of independent processors or cores are interconnected. Since the main bottleneck is foreseen to migrate from computation to communication, efficient and scalable means of inter-core communication are crucial for guaranteeing steady performance improvements in many-core processors.
As the number of cores grows, it remains unclear whether initial proposals, such as the Network-on-Chip paradigm, will meet the stringent requirements of this scenario. In this context, the present project aims to lay the foundations of a new research avenue where massive multicore architectures have wireless communication capabilities at the core level. This goal is feasible by using graphene-based planar antennas, which can radiate signals at the Terahertz band while utilizing much less chip area than its metallic counterparts. The resulting Graphene-enabled Wireless Networks-on-Chip (GWNoC) would enable efficient broadcasting, multicasting, all-to-all communication, which would impact upon the performance of virtually any future application by significantly reducing many of the issues that prevent current architectures to be applied in massively multicore environments, including data coherency, consistency, synchronization and communication problems.
The present project is divided in two parts. In the first one, a design space exploration is performed, aiming at providing a holistic view of the on-chip networking scenario. By means of analytical models and network simulation tools, the scalability of GWNoC in terms of network performance, area and energy efficiency is evaluated and then compared with the performance of different state-of-the-art interconnect solutions. The second phase of the project, which partially overlaps with the design space exploration, is devoted to the design and development of protocols for GWNoC, with particular focus on the physical and medium access control (MAC) layers. MAC protocols are of special importance since the GWNoC scenario potentially implies dealing with hundreds or even thousands of simultaneous multicast transmissions. Efficiently coping with such communication-intensive requirements will be the key for translating the potential of GWNoC into real performance improvement in next-generation multiprocessor architectures.
(more info at: N3Cat)
This project is funded by SAMSUNG under its Global Research Outreach (GRO) program. Media Coverage:
Graphene, a flat monoatomic layer of carbon atoms tightly packed in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice, has recently attracted the attention of the research community due to its novel mechanical, thermal, chemical, electronic and optical properties. Since its first isolation by the Nobel laureates Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov back in 2004, graphene has given rise to a plethora of potential applications in diverse fields, attracting, as a result, multimillion dollar research funding.
A remarkably promising application of graphene is that of Graphene-enabled Wireless Communications (GWC). GWC advocate for the use of graphene-based plasmonic antennas -graphennas, see Fig. 1- whose plasmonic effects allow them to radiate EM waves in the terahertz band (0.1 – 10 THz). Moreover, preliminary results sustain that this frequency band is up to two orders of magnitude below the optical frequencies at which metallic antennas of the same size resonate, thereby enhancing the transmission range of graphene-based antennas and lowering the requirements on the corresponding transceivers. In short, graphene enables the implementation of nano-antennas just a few micrometers in size that are not doable with traditional metallic materials.
Thanks to both the reduced size and unique radiation capabilities of graphennas, GWC may represent a breakthrough in the ultra-short range communications research area. In this project we will study the application of GWC within the scenario of off-chip communication, which includes communication between different chips of a given device, e.g. a cell phone. The advantages of the resulting Off-Chip Graphene-based Wireless Communication are manifold but can be summarized in two points. On the one hand, the potential of GWC to radiate in the terahertz band provides a huge transmission bandwidth, allowing not only the transmission of information at extremely high speeds but also the design of ultra-low-power and low-complexity schemes. On the other hand, the reduced size of such antennas results in a smaller area overhead than with conventional metallic antennas, factor that may be critical in area constrained scenarios. Moreover, improving the directivity values by means of graphene-based antenna arrays could be possible due to the aforementioned reduced size.