Published: March 22, 2018

MSU’s newest NSF CAREER Award to develop dynamic antenna arrays

Contact(s): Patricia Mroczek College of Engineering office: (517) 432-1303

Jeffrey Nanzer, MSU’s Dennis P. Nyquist assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will use a $500,000 National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award to develop dynamic antenna arrays for radar and remote sensing.

“My goal is to create new methods for remote sensing and radar by using collections of sensors that are wirelessly coordinated,” Nanzer said. “These include sensors on autonomous vehicles, on swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles or on groups of CubeSats. Today there is a big focus on improving individual sensors, which is a platform-centric point-of-view. By distributing the sensing across many small platforms, our research will enable greater sensing capabilities than a platform-centric model can provide.”

Nanzer said he will investigate new wireless techniques that make use of dynamic elements.

“The only cost-effective way we can sustain new advances in radar, remote sensing and communications is by getting away from today’s platform-centric models and exploring what distributed arrays of low-cost sensors are capable of,” Nanzer said. “When the platforms are in motion, as is the case with UAVs or autonomous vehicles, there is the potential to open up new paths of exploration. We think this has the capability to create new techniques for wireless systems.”

Nanzer is the 15th faculty member of the College of Engineering to receive an NSF CAREER Award since 2010 and the second in 2018. NSF CAREER Awards support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research and education. It is among NSF’s most prestigious honors.

It is the second year in a row Nanzer has won major national recognition. In April 2017, he received a prestigious Young Faculty Award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He is utilizing that grant to create technologies enabling separate, small wireless systems to collaborate as a single system.

Nanzer joined Michigan State in 2016 as a member of MSU’s Electromagnetics Research Group. His research focus is on microwave and millimeter-wave remote sensing, millimeter-wave photonics, radiometry, radar, antennas and electromagnetics.

Jeffrey Nanzer, assistant professor for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and 2018 NSF CAREER Award recipient. Photo courtesy of MSU's College of Engineering.