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Research impact

Hao’s honing in on microwave photonic technology

This article appears in: Engineering
Hao smiling

Hao Chen completed his undergraduate studies at Tianjin University of Technology before going on to work as an electronics engineer for big brands like Samsung and Honeywell in his home country of China. He then made the move to Darwin to study a Master degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Charles Darwin University, which he graduated from in 2016. This star student was granted CDU’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Award not once but twice and is now working towards his PhD in microwave photonic signal processing.

With an interdisciplinary research field in microwave photonic signal processes, which studies the interaction between microwave and optical signals, this self-confessed military enthusiast said he has selected the challenge of calculating angle of arrival based on microwave photonic technique as one of his PhD research projects.

“The military applications for this technology are in radar systems, which can be used to detect the location of aircraft,” Hao said. “However, current radar systems have complicated structures, which means radar receivers are large in size and expensive to construct.”

I am hoping my angle of arrival research findings will help reduce the size of radar systems and bring down the costs of producing them.

Electrical engineer Hao smiles at the camera

Hao said traditional electrical components in radar systems had many disadvantages and limitations, such as narrow bandwidth of their electrical components, which can limit the radar system frequency measurement range.

“However, photonic components have a large bandwidth which can solve the frequency range problem,” Hao said. “By doing my research, I hope the proposed microwave photonic angle of arrival structure can improve the detection range and accuracy of radar systems.”

 After completing his Master’s degree, Hao said he chose to continue his study journey with CDU, taking on PhD research under the supervision of an outstanding researcher and lecturer, Dr Erwin Chan.

 “I had completed my Master’s thesis under Dr Chan’s supervision, and he was an incredibly helpful mentor to me,” Hao said.

 “He has a fantastic reputation and lots of experience in the microwave photonic field, so it was a natural choice to do my PhD with CDU under his supervision.”

Hao in his electrical engineering office

When asked what his advice to students considering taking on a PhD would be, Hao said it was important to read widely for inspiration for research project ideas.

“It’s also important to never give up,” Hao said.

 “Doing a PhD is a long journey and students always face many challenges along the way, such as coming up with research project ideas, how to get started with their research, and how to solve issues with experiment results.

“You can’t let these challenges make you give up – any challenge can be overcome with determination.”

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