University Research Chair in Microwave Photonics
School of Information Technology and Engineering
To tackle broadband millimetre/microwave (mm-wave) photonics systems adapted to broadband wireless access and sensor networks, featuring base stations requiring reduced maintenance. In the short term, Dr. Yao plans to investigate various techniques to generate, distribute, process and radiate mm-wave signals in 30/60 GHz bands using commercial, off-the-shelf components.
Yao’s research could have a great impact on wireless communications and photonics industries in Canada. The mm-wave technology has been expensive, but a surge in consumer interest has brought costs down. It is expected further price reductions will follow as these technologies take hold in the marketplace.
Improving communications, one microwave at a time
Dr. Yao’s research will help improve the way our communication systems operate, taking into account system capacity, bandwidth, security, mobility and flexibility. Current systems can only offer some of these features, but none offer them simultaneously. Optical fibre technology can provide bandwidth, but user mobility suffers. Wireless communication systems using traditional or microwave frequencies deliver user mobility, but don’t support high data rates and security.
His research into microwave photonics, an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on the interactions between microwaves and optical signals, has applications for broadband wireless access networks, broadband sensor networks, radar, satellite communications – even biomedical imaging.
Dr. Yao is an internationally-recognized expert in his field and has attracted an impressive amount of funding – more than $4 million – to support his ambitious research activities. He has written more than 160 publications, including over 70 for the most respected, peer-reviewed journals. Through his efforts, the University of Ottawa is now recognized as a major academic institution in the field of microwave photonics. Dr. Yao has made several distinct contributions to his field, including demonstrating novel techniques for generating ultra-wide band signals to be used for the latest wireless communication standard and generating and processing high-quality mm-wave signals using photonics technology. During his career, he has developed close collaborations with industrial and government researchers, including EXFO in Quebec City, Thales Airborne System in France and the Communications Research Centre in Ottawa.
Awards and Accomplishments
• Faculty of Engineering G.S. Glinski Award for Excellence in Research, 2007
• University of Ottawa International Creative Research Award, 2005
• Author of over 70 peer-refereed journal papers
• Canadian Foundation for Innovation New Opportunities Award, 2003