Harish Krishnaswamy | Pushing the Performance of Silicon-Based Systems

Harish Krishnaswamy
Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering
This profile is included in the publication Excellentia, which features current research of Columbia Engineering faculty members.
                                    Photo by Eileen Barroso

Automobile collisions account for tens of thousands of fatalities in the United States annually. While the most expensive automobiles have on-board collision avoidance systems, such technology is priced out of the market for most drivers.

The cost has much to do with the technologies that are currently used to implement these systems. Current sensors rely on multiple integrated-circuit chips based on compound-semiconductor technologies, resulting in systems that are large, bulky, powerinefficient, and expensive.

Silicon-based millimeter wave technology could make automobile collision avoidance systems as common as seatbelts in the cars of the future. Millimeter waves deliver good directionality, and offer a large amount of available bandwidth not currently being used, making them functionally comparable to fiber optics without the financial and logistical challenges.

Silicon-based technologies offer the opportunity to integrate complex sensors onto a single chip, greatly reducing power, cost, and size. This technology’s utility is wide ranging and includes collision warning systems, blind spot analysis, and pedestrian detection. It also is being explored for high-data-rate personal area networks for future “wireless homes,” non-invasive medical imaging, airborne chemical sensing, and concealed-weapon detection for security systems.

Integrating extremely high frequency electronic circuits and systems into siliconbased technologies is one of the grand challenges of electronics, and where Harish Krishnaswamy is applying his research efforts. He pioneered silicon-based, nonlinear, multifunctional circuits, and systems which, when coupled with millimeter wave technology, allow multiple simultaneous functions to be performed on a single, compact, power-efficient chip. A nonlinear, multifunctional phased-array transceiver chip won the prestigious Lewis Winner Award for Outstanding Paper at the 2007 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference.

Krishnaswamy is also working on new Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO) radar concepts that use multiple transmitting and receiving antennas to capture a more detailed and accurate image of the scene around the vehicle.

The Krishnaswamy Group at Columbia University analyzes, designs, and experimentally verifies novel integrated devices, circuits, and systems for a variety of radio frequency and millimeter-wave applications. His research efforts blur the boundaries between circuits, electromagnetics, device physics, and communication/signal processing theory. Results include a variable-phase ring-oscillator based architecture for radio-frequency (RF) and millimeter-wave phased arrays, architectures and circuits for single-chip MIMO radar, timed arrays for ultra-wideband beamforming, and high-performance RF and millimeter wave building blocks for wireless transceivers.

B.Tech, Indian Institute of Technology (Madras), 2001; M.S., University of Southern California, 2003; Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2009

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