London, UK Dr Roberto Ramirez-Iniguez, research and development manager of Optical Antenna Solutions (OAS) in Coventry has won the Sir Henry Royce Award, presented to young members of the Institute of Electrical Engineers for 'excellence' in industry.
Dr Ramirez, a University of Warwick postgraduate who earlier in the year was awarded a PhD in Engineering in the field of optical wireless communications, said “It is a great honour to be receiving this award and I still cannot really believe it.”
He previously completed a master's degree in Communications and Real-Time Electronic Systems at Bradford University and started his PhD work there under the supervision of Prof. Roger J Green. When Prof. Green moved to Warwick University to create the Communications and Signal Processing (CSP) Research Group, Dr Ramirez followed him.
Most of his PhD work was related to the design, fabrication and use of optical concentrators for wireless IR communications. By designing receivers with a large effective collection area and narrow optical bandpass the problems of path loss and background light noise in an optical wireless link could be reduced.
The problem of large area detectors is that their high capacitance leads to an increase of thermal noise and to a reduction of receiver bandwidth, and new ways to increase the receiver collection area had to be found. Also, it is desirable to use transmitters with a narrow optical spectrum to allow the receiver to employ a narrowband optical filter to reject ambient light radiation and other sources of noise, and this had to be taken into account too.
A solution to these problems is to use an optical concentrator to improve the collection efficiency of the receiver by transforming light rays incident over a large area into a set of rays that emerge from a smaller area. This implies that smaller photo-detectors can be used, which decreases the capacitance, the cost, and improves receiver sensitivity. The use of omni-directional and directed concentrators used in conjunction with different sorts of optical filters effectively screen out unwanted ambient radiation and increase the effective area of the receiver.
Towards the end of Dr Ramirez, OAS' optical antenna, designed to provide infrared technology with a new generation of high-collection-low-noise receiver structures, was moving from academic research into a commercial reality.
Alex Clarke, marketing manager for OAS, said, “Roberto was instrumental in creating the success that came of taking our unique optical antenna to market. As manager of our R&D team he has great plans to further develop the antenna into a semi-conductor component as a result of the worldwide success and industry-wide interest we have received since the launch in November 2002.”