Dr. Nima Mahanfar
Amazon Project Kuiper
Amazon’s Project Kuiper: Overcoming Antenna Design Challenges to Advance Global Broadband Connectivity and Reach Unserved and Underserved CommunitiesAbstract & Bio
Project Kuiper is Amazon’s initiative to increase global broadband access through a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO). Its mission is to deliver fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world. Some of the challenges include building large, wideband spaceborne phased arrays for the satellite payload, as well as low-cost phased arrays for customer terminals that can be manufactured at scale. In this talk, we present Amazon’s approach to addressing the unmet need for broadband connectivity using a LEO constellation, Project Kuiper’s system architecture, and progress to date in developing the antenna technology for this use case.
Nima Mahanfar, Ph.D. has been leading satellite phased array antenna and customer terminal development for Amazon since 2018, when he joined as a founding team member of Project Kuiper. He has 20+ years of experience leading research and development in RF and antennas at SpaceX, Microsoft, and Nokia. At SpaceX, he was a founding member of Starlink program, where he built and led the Phased Array Team and developed several generations of phased arrays for satellite payloads. At Microsoft, as Director of Antennas and RF Engineering, he built and led a center of excellence for antenna and RF development for consumer electronics, such as Xbox and HoloLens products, shipping tens of millions of products for consumer use. Prior, he held engineering and leadership roles in consumer electronics at Nokia and Sierra Wireless. He received his PhD in electrical engineering from Université de Limoges (France) in 2005. He has authored and co-authors over 70 conference papers, journal articles and patents in the field of antennas for satellites and wireless communication applications.
IEEE AP-S Invited Speaker
Dr. Stefano MACI
University of Siena
Metasurface Antennas in 5G and Beyond ScenariosAbstract & Bio
The new paradigm of smart radio environment (SRE) is discussed in this talk from the perspective of metasurface-based intelligent surfaces (IS). These surface can be categorized by using the synthetic notation RIS-n, where n counts the number of “R”-type functionalities embedded in the IS: Reflecting IS (RIS-1), Reflecting-Reconfigurable IS (RIS-2) Receiving-Repeating-Reconfigurable IS (RIS-3), Receiving-Regenerating-Repeating-Reconfigurable IS (RIS-4). For increasing n, RIS-n possess an increasing level of complexity, environmental impact, power consumption and costs, but a decreasing level of densification and standardization requirement. The deployment of RIS-n in SRE is reviewed considering the new challenges that the RIS-n technology implies when implemented through metasurfaces. Special emphasis is given to efficient ray-model for both Fresnel and far zone coverage, where the scattered field from polygonal contoured RIS-1 or RIS-2 is represented in terms of few rays. The latter formulation can be conveniently used in a ray-tracer to speed-up dramatically the calculation of the field coverage. All types of RIS are well suited to be implemented by metasurface technology, that have now reached a maturity for reconfigurable low-cost antenna implementations. Examples of RIS-1, RIS-2 and RIS-3 will be discussed.
Stefano MACI (F04) received the Laurea Degree cum Laude at University of Florence in ‘87 and from ‘97 is a Professor at the University of Siena. Since 2000, he was member the Technical Advisory Board of 13 international conferences and member of the Review Board of 6 International Journals. In 2004-2007 he was WP leader of the Antenna Center of Excellence (ACE, FP6-EU) and in 2007-2010 he was International Coordinator of a 24-institution consortium of a Marie Curie Action (FP6). In 2004, he was the founder of the European School of Antennas (ESoA), a post graduate school that presently comprises 34 courses on Antennas, Propagation, Electromagnetic Theory, and Computational Electromagnetics and 150 teachers coming from 15 countries. Since 2004 is the Director of ESoA. Since 2010, he has been Principal Investigator of 6 cooperative projects financed by European Space Agency.
Professor Maci has been a former member of the AdCom of IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S), associate editor of AP-Transaction, Chair of the Award Committee of IEEE AP-S, and member of the Board of Directors of the European Association on Antennas and Propagation (EurAAP). From 2008 to 2015, he has been Director of the PhD program in Information Engineering and Mathematics of University of Siena, and from 2013 to 2015 he was member of the first National Italian Committee for Qualification to Professor. He has been former member of the Antennas and Propagation Executive Board of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET, UK). He founded and has been former Director of the consortium FORESEEN, involving 48 European Institutions. He was the principal investigator of the Future Emerging Technology project “Nanoarchitectronics” of the 8th EU Framework program, and he is presently principal investigator of the EU program “Metamask”. He was co-founder of two Spin-off Companies. He has been a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S), and EurAAP distinguished lecturer in the ambassador program. He was recipient of the EurAAP Award in 2014, of the IEEE Schelkunoff Transaction Prize in 2016, of the Chen-To Tai Distinguished Educator award in 2016, and of the URSI Dellinger Gold Medal in 2020. He has been TPC Chair of the METAMATERIAL 2020 conference and Chairperson of EuCAP 2023. In the last ten years, he has been invited 25 times as keynote speaker in international conferences. He is President of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society 2023.
The research interest of Prof Maci includes high-frequency and beam representation methods, computational electromagnetics, large phased arrays, planar antennas, reflector antennas and feeds, metamaterials and metasurfaces. His research activity is documented in 200 papers published in international journals, (among which 100 on IEEE journals), 10 book chapters, and about 450 papers in proceedings of international conferences. The papers he coauthored have been cited about 10,000 times (h index 50, source: Google Scholar).