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Q&A With Damiano Patron: Winner of The Young Scientist Best Paper Award at the 2013 ICEAA - IEEE APWC - EMS 2013

Damiano PatronPh.D. candidate Damiano Patron, researcher at the Drexel Wireless System Laboratory (DWSL) has won the Young Scientist Best Paper Award at the 2013 International Conference on Electromagnetics in Advanced Applications – IEEE Antennas and Propagation in Wireless Communications – Electromagnetic Metrology Symposium (ICEAA – IEEE – APWC-EMS 2013) held in Torino, Italy. The paper entitled “Improved design of a CRLH leaky-wave antenna and its application for DoA estimation” co-authored by H. Paaso, A. Mammela, D. Piazza, and K. R. Dandekar, was presented in a dedicated poster session as well as during oral presentation. The paper proposes a new design of a smart metamaterial antenna along with an algorithm developed to estimate the direction from which a radio signal is coming. This technique has the potential to improve the wireless connectivity in the next generation of wireless access point and mobile devices. The announcement and presentation of the award were made at the conference banquet on September 11, 2013. In addition, Patron will be acknowledged on the IEEE Xplore website in a special page entitled: "Winner of the ICEAA IEEE-APWC 2013 Award." Patron took the time to discuss his improved design, his future plans and the impact that the College of Engineering has had on his overall experience at Drexel University.

-Could you tell us about the type of research that was done in order to create your proposed design?

The proposed design was motivated for the need of designing a low cost smart antenna that could be easily integrated into wireless access point. While conventional antennas waste the energy around 360°, with our technology we can steer a directional beam towards the specific user. Therefore, it allows for a stronger wireless communication and consequently, faster downloads of audio and video contents from the internet.

-What year do you plan on graduating from Drexel University with your Ph.D.?

My plan is to graduate in the academic year 2015/2016.

-What is your main focus here at Drexel University?

At the Drexel Wireless System Laboratory I focus on designing adaptive antennas for wireless communications and fabric-based antennas for wearable applications. Considering the growing demand of faster data transmissions, I believe these technologies will be of great potential for the future of digital communications.

-How has the College of Engineering influenced your education?

At the College of Engineering I found an ideal environment, where I can take advantage of my strong passion for electronics and telecommunications by working on exciting and innovative projects. By addressing my master’s on Telecommunication Engineering, I gained the skills to enhance my Ph.D. program, being able to design novel solutions that improve everyday wireless communications and biomedical monitoring systems.

-What are your plans for the future after you graduate?

Once I graduate I’d like to find a job in the field of radio communications, ideally staying in touch with design and technical tasks. However, considering the potential commercialization of the new technologies we develop in our lab, I’d like also to consider my own start-up company.

-How will your proposed design benefit the everyday person?

The proposed technology can benefit our everyday experience with the wireless networks. By focusing the wireless beam towards our specific device, we’ll get more reliable connections and faster communications for business and entertainment purposes. Instead of using more power or circuits to accomplish faster wireless data communication, when mounted into a wireless access point, our antenna technology adapts its radiation characteristics to find the best link with the users.

-What kind of feedback has this improved design received?

This improved design has been developed in collaboration with Adant S.r.l., a start-up company that commercializes smart antennas for wireless systems. We are working with several major wireless companies of the Silicon Valley, integrating the technology developed at Drexel into consumer and industrial WiFi devices. Our design received considerable appreciation, in particular after several demonstrations where the system showed significant improvement in data rate with respect to the current technologies.

-What engineering department at Drexel do you work in?

I work at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, within Drexel Wireless System Laboratory directed by Dr. Kapil R. Dandekar.

-What does this award mean to you personally?

This award represents a great acknowledgement for the hard work carried out through these years. I’m glad the committee recognized the potential and the novelty of this technology. This achievement encourages me to continue with my effort towards my Ph.D. program.

-How will this award help forward your career?

In addition to my enthusiasm for the radio communications, I hope this award will help my future jobs applications demonstrating my passion and dedication for work. Hoping also in a future commercialization of these wireless solutions, this award will strengthen the technology when it will be possibly proposed to the market.