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Ding Nie Honored with 2018 Marconi Society Young Scholar Award


The Marconi Society, dedicated to furthering scientific achievements in communications and the Internet, will honor Dr. Ding Nie, an Apple Engineer and University of Notre Dame PhD in Electrical Engineering, with a 2018 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award for his work in developing models and systems to greatly increase throughput in wireless systems.

Ten to 20 years ago, technical advances in mobile systems and accompanying consumer demand started the shift from single to multiple antennas. While multiple antennas theoretically increase throughput, they often suffer from issues associated with coupling, or the transmission of power between the antennas. The Bode-Fano theoretical limit for antenna throughput and bandwidth, established in the 1940’s, does not account for such coupling. Dr. Nie focused on turning coupling from a throughput liability into an asset and developed new throughput bounds for today’s multi-antenna systems, allowing engineers to understand the interplay of coupling and bandwidth. His work guides the design of antennas and circuits that lead to increased throughput and faster wireless communications for consumers worldwide.

“Ding is the kind of person that you can let loose on a problem with little guidance and he comes up with very original ideas for solutions. He made a big advance in solving an open problem by coming up with new results that let us apply Bode-Fano bounds to multi-antenna systems,” says Dr. Bertrand Hochwald, Nie’s advisor. “Ding’s work is so important that it attracted funding and leaves a legacy in my lab for another group of researchers.”

The consumer and commercial benefit of Nie’s work can be significant. In a world where all devices include multiple antennas and coupling, antenna and circuit designers can now understand the maximum throughput that their systems are capable of. Nie’s models will help grow the burgeoning 5G market, which will use millimeter waves (mmWaves) and require even more antennas inside of devices. This work also has applications in wireless power transfer, such as wireless cell phone charging using a pad or coils. A single charging pad contains multiple coils and coupling exists between the coils, providing another critical use for Nie’s models and systems.