Build a Small Radar System
Date: TBD Summer 2015 | Tuition: TBD | Continuing Education Units (CEUs): TBD
*This course has limited enrollment. Apply early to guarantee your spot.
Application Deadline »
Are you interested in learning about radar by building and testing your own imaging radar system?
MIT Professional Education is offering a course in the design, fabrication, and testing of a laptop-based radar sensor capable of measuring Doppler and range and forming synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery. Lectures will be presented on the topics of applied electromagnetics, antennas, RF design, analog circuits, and digital signal processing while simultaneously building your own radar system and performing field experiments. Each student will receive a radar kit designed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory staff and a course pack.
This course will appeal to those who want to learn how to develop radar systems or SAR imaging, use radar technology, or make components or sub-systems.
During the course you will bring your radar kit into the field and perform experiments such as measuring the speed of passing cars or plotting the range of moving targets. A SAR imaging competition will test your ability to form a SAR image of a target scene of your choice from around campus.
Each student will receive a radar kit designed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory staff and a course pack.
Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (60%)
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (25%)
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (15%)
Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (34%)
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (33%)
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (33%)
Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (50%)
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (40%)
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (10%)
The participants of this course will be able to:
- Understand how radar systems work.
- Understand antennas and aperture.
- Understand pulse compression and SAR imaging.
- Design and build a small radar system.
- Acquire and process doppler vs. time radar plots in the field.
- Acquire and process range vs. time radar plots in the field.
- Form SAR imagery of urban terrain.
Who Should Attend
This course is targeted for engineers and scientists who plan to design radars; use radar systems in a product or as the final product; work on radar systems, components, or subsystems; or are interested in using radar systems for observation of physical phenomena. Students will learn how radar systems work by attending lectures, building their own radar set, and acquiring radar data in the field. Those who should attend include:
- Developers of radar systems or components
- Users of radar technology
- Purchasers of radar technology such as automotive and government organizations
- Commercial enterprises seeking to use or add radar technology to their product or develop a radar-based product
- Defense industry or government personnel who want to learn how radar and SAR imaging works
- Defense industry or government supervisors seeking to quickly educate employees
- Unmanned vehicle or robot developers seeking to use radar sensor packages
- Scientists who are interested in using radar technology for the observation of nature
You do not have to be a radar engineer but it helps if you have at least a bachelorís degree in electrical engineering or physics and are interested in any of the following: electronics, electromagnetics, signal processing, physics, or amateur radio. It is recommended that you have some familiarity with MATLAB. Each student is required to bring a laptop (with a stereo-audio input) with MATLAB because this will be used for data acquisition and signal processing.
Session 1--1 hour: Radar Basics (Lecture)
Session 2--1 hour: Modular RF Design (Lecture)
Session 3--1.5 hours: Antennas (Lecture)
Session 4--1.5 hours: Radar Kit Technical Explanation (Lecture)
Session 5--1 hour: Q & A (Discussion)
Session 6--3 hours: Radar Kit Fabrication Instructions (Lecture and Lab)
Session 7--1 hour: Doppler Experiment Example (Lecture)
Session 8--3 hours: Doppler Experiment (Lab)
Session 9--3 hours: Pulse Compression and add-to kit (Lecture and Lab)
Session 10--1 hour Ranging Experiment Example (Lecture)
Session 11--3 hours: Ranging Experiment (Lab)
Session 12--1.5 hours: SAR Imaging (Lecture)
Session 13--0.5 hour: SAR Imaging add-to kit (Lecture)
Session 14--1 hour: SAR Imaging Experiment Example (Lecture)
Session 15--3 hours: SAR Imaging Experiment (Lab)
Session 16--3 hours: SAR Imaging Experiment continued (Lab)
Session 17--1 hour: SAR Imaging Results & Competition (Lecture and Discussion)
Course schedule, registration times, Special Events
Class runs 9:00 am - 5:30 pm on Monday, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm Tuesday through Thursday, and 9:30 am - 3:30 pm on Friday.
Please note that laptops with a stereo-audio input and MATLAB (minimum 2009a; 2011a or later preferred) are required for this course. Additional software requirements: Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X 10.6 or later.
MATLAB functions will be provided on the Student CD. Students are expected to download and install Audacity from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/. Students are expected to install a Griffin iMic into the USB port of their laptop (iMic will be provided and no driver is required).
Professor, university of puerto rico mayaguez
"I learned many new concepts during the course and the presenters were very helpful and excellent."
field applications engineer, analog devices, inc.
"The explanation of the radar theories and the hands-on building and testing of our radar systems really helped me get a better understanding of everything. Also, the course instructors were very knowledgeable (and entertaining!!)"
principal engineer, infineon technologies
"Somewhere between INCREDIBLE and FANTASTIC."
ABOUT THE Lecturers
Dr. Patrick Bell
Patrick J. Bell is a Member of the Technical Staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts. He received his B.S. from the University of Virginia in 2001 and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2003 and 2006, all in electrical engineering. Since joining Lincoln Laboratory in 2006, Dr. Bell has conducted research in microwave circuit design, including power amplifiers for MILSATCOM systems on moving platforms, agile frequency synthesizers, and active wideband phased arrays for airborne electronic warfare systems. He is currently a member of the RF and Quantum Systems Technology Group. Dr. Bell is a member of the IEEE and the Microwave Theory and Techniques Society.
Professor Michael Watts
Michael Watts is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He received his B.S.E.E. from Tufts (1996) and his S.M. (2001) and Ph.D. (2005) from MIT. From 1996 to 1999, he was a member of the technical staff at Draper Labs, and from 2005 to 2010 he was a member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, where he led their silicon microphotonics effort. Michael’s research focuses on electromagnetics, photonics, and optical networks, with particular interest in microphotonic circuits for application in communication networks, high-frequency scenarios, and new sensor modalities. A key example of his work is an ultralow-power, high-bandwidth silicon microphotonic communications platform.
Dr. Alan J. Fenn
Alan J. Fenn is a Senior Staff Member in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems and Technology Division at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He has conducted extensive research in the area of adaptive phased array antennas and electromagnetic systems for radar and communications. He joined Lincoln Laboratory in 1981, and from 1982 to 1991 was a member of the Space Radar Technology Group, where his primary research was in adaptive phased array antenna design and testing. From 1992 to 1999, he was Assistant Group Leader in the RF Technology Group, managing programs involving measurements of atmospheric effects on satellite communications. From 1978 to 1981, he was a Senior Engineer in the Antenna Systems Design/Analysis Group in the RF Systems Department at Martin Marietta Aerospace in Denver, Colorado.
Dr. Fenn was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2000 for his contributions to the theory and practice of adaptive phased array antennas. He was Technical Program Co-Chair of the 2001 IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society Symposium. He has served as an associate editor in the area of adaptive antennas for the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. He served as Technical Program Chair for the 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Phased Array Systems and Technology.
In 1990, Dr. Fenn was a co-recipient of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society’s H.A. Wheeler Applications Prize Paper Award. He also received the IEEE/URSI-sponsored 1994 International Symposium on Antennas (JINA 94) award. He is an author of numerous articles and patents, as well as three books on antennas and electromagnetic systems. Recently, he developed an MIT OpenCourseWare online lecture series entitled “Adaptive Antennas and Phased Arrays.” He has a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and M.S. and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, all in electrical engineering.
Mr. Kenneth Kolodziej
Ken Kolodziej is an Associate Member of the Technical Staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts. He received his B.E. and M.E. in Electrical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey in 2007. Since joining Lincoln Laboratory in 2010, Mr. Kolodziej has conducted research on RF and microwave circuits, including antenna, radar, and communication systems. He is currently working in the RF and Quantum Systems Technology group, designing compact transceivers and RF cancellation techniques for simultaneous transmit and receive (STAR) applications. Mr. Kolodziej is also a member of IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques and the Antennas and Propagation Societies.
Mr. John Meklenburg
John W. Meklenburg is an Associate Member of the Technical Staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Since joining Lincoln Laboratory’s Airborne Radar Systems and Techniques group in 2011, John has contributed to the development of signal processing algorithms, simulations, and hardware for ISR radar systems. Recently, his work has been focused on development of a simulation environment for Electronic Warfare analysis.
Mr. Joseph McMichael
Joseph G. McMichael received a B.S. from Seattle University and S.M. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in electrical engineering, in 2009 and 2011, respectively. He is currently an Associate Technical Staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the Airborne Radar Systems and Techniques Group. His research interests lie broadly in adaptive and statistical signal processing, digital communication, and optimization, with recent emphasis on radar electronic protection and adaptive RF interference cancellation for full-duplex wireless communication. As a research intern at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2007, Mr. McMichael developed components of an instrument to study solar wind that was launched aboard a MidSTAR-2 satellite. In 2008, he served as a research intern at Boeing Phantom Works, using formal methods to verify a highly secure multi-level network guard. From 2010 to 2011 he was affiliated with Bose Advanced Development, conducting research in active noise cancellation algorithms.
This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Links & Resources
- Chips that can steer light
- DIY Phased Array Radar From Pegboard and Wi-Fi Antennas
- Build a Small Radar System Capable of Sensing Range, Doppler, and Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging
- G. W. Stimson, Introduction to Airborne Radar, 2nd ed. SciTech, 1998.
Generally page through this book and read specifically Chapters 1, 4-6, 9, 14, 31
- Chapters 1-2 in M. L. Skolnik, Introduction to Radar Systems, 3rd ed. McGraw Hill, 2001.
Please note that laptops with a stereo-audio input and MATLAB are required for this course.