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Wake Up Radio For Energy Efficient Communication System and IC Design

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Short Description

Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have received significant attention in recent years and have found a wide range of applications, including structural and environmental monitoring, mobile health, home automation, Internet of Things, and others. As these systems are generally battery operated, major research efforts focus on reducing power consumption, especially for communication, as the radio transceiver is one of the most power-hungry components of a WSN. Moreover, with the advent of energy-neutral systems, the emphasis has shifted toward research in microwatt (or even nanowatt) communication protocols or systems. A significant number of wake-up radio receiver (WUR) architectures have been proposed to reduce the communication power of WSN nodes. In this project, the student will design an optimized ultra-low power (nanowatt) wake-up receiver for use in WSNs. According with the skills of the student he can be involved on the design of the IC, the layout, or at a system and application levler. The wake-up receiver should achieves power consumption of few micro-watt, sensitivity lower than -55 dBm, latency of few μs, tunable frequency, and short commands communication. In addition, a low power solution, should include addressing capability directly in the wake-up receiver.

The hardware and software load of the thesis will be balanced according with the skills and preferences of the candidate students when the details task description will be provided before the student project will start. In field, measurements of the system will be performed from the students as important activity in order to evaluate power consumption, reliability, functionality, classification accuracy and energy efficiency and to further optimize the system.

The master or semester project will be developed in close collaboration with Bombardier, the Oerlikon (ZH) Lab.

Depending on the applicant's profile and project type, his tasks may involve some of the following:

  • Analog IC design
  • System and PCB design
  • programming ultra low power microcontroller and radio interfaces.
  • lab. testing/characterization of the existing prototype: verification of the prototype's characteristics w.r. design specification (simulations), measuring power-consumption, and assessing detection performance in lab. Conditions
  • High-level software programming, machine learning, wireless communication
  • programming the circuit for specific application, field testing, data acquisition

Status: Available

  • Looking for Semester and Master Project Students
Supervisors: Michele Magno
Supervisors: Thomas Burger


(not all need to be met by the single candidate)

  • experience using the laboratory instrumentation - signal generators, oscilloscopes, DAQ cards, Matlab etc.
  • analog electronics and signal conditioning with operational amplifiers: amplifiers, filters, integrators etc. (not mandatory)
  • knowledge of microcontroller programming and PC programming (C/C++, preferably microcontroller with Bluetooth Low Energy but it is not mandatory)
  • basic knowledge on signal processing is a plus.
  • plus is knowledge on printed circuit board (PCB) using Altium.
  • Basic knowledge of Analog IC desing in the case of the project will be on IC design


30-40% Theory
40-50% Implementation
20% Testing


Luca Benini

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Detailed Task Description


Practical Details