XG - Next Generation Sensing and Communication

Contact: Leo de Vreede

The XG theme aims to pioneer the next generation of wireless sensing and communication systems with high functionality and low ecological footprint.


The human desire for "smart environments" and "to be connected anywhere, anytime" is changing the way we interact with our surroundings and will drastically impact our society. Wireless data traffic is growing exponentially and is driving mobile networks and their devices from 4G+ to 5G services, to handle more users and services at higher data rates and lower latency. Consequently, the use of larger signal bandwidths and massive MIMO techniques will be mandatory. At the same time, the Internet-of-Things evolution will require connectivity of large numbers of  devices at low data rates, but with very strict requirements on response times and energy usage. Spectrum scarcity will demand dynamic spectrum usage based on cooperative spectrum sensing and cognitive radio concepts. Moreover, GPS-free, reliable and accurate location estimation will prove to be an essential feature. While in the enhancement of societal safety and security (including environment monitoring and autonomous transportation), microwave and THz sensing systems are expected to play a crucial role.

XG Theme

The XG theme is a faculty-wide initiative combining expertise on electronics with that of networks and embedded systems. Within the theme, a number of societal applications are addressed:
  • Autonomous driving - distributed sensing and high accuracy localization
  • Wireless communication - 5G and beyond
  • THz sensing


Wireless sensing and communication systems share the need to transmit and receive EM waves. This yields, in spite of their different signal processing, to similar requirements on system architecture and hardware technology. To serve both in a cost-effective and ecologically responsible manner, while benefiting directly from Moore’s law, novel reconfigurable highly integrated TX/RX solutions with multifunctional antenna systems and embedded signal processing capabilities are envisioned to be implemented in advanced semiconductor technologies. Cognitive/automated usage of EM spectrum, adaptive hardware and signal processing, cognitive sensing and network management are expected features of these next generation wireless systems.


Scientific challenges are found in identifying and implementing new technology, design and system concepts that are truly energy-efficient, modular, data-rate scalable, frequency agile and cost-effective, while providing high functionality and data quality under intelligent control. These multidisciplinary challenges provide increased focus and synergy among the research groups within EEMCS that want to be leading in these developments and aim to provide the wireless communication and sensing solutions of the future.


Covered disciplines are electronics, digital, RF, (sub)mm-wave and THz circuit design, signal processing, cognitive/automated networking, embedded systems as well electromagnetics, antennas, remote sensing and space satellites applications.  

Projects under this theme

WAtt LEvel transmitters at mm-waves

The WhALE project targets, employing complementary expertise in the field of electromagnetics, system integration and integrated circuit design, to develop the next generation of mmwave transmitters.

Integrated Cooperative Automated Vehicles

Artificial Dielectrics for High-frequency On-Chip antennas

Goal: To achieve optimized, reliable, flexible and low-cost manufacturing of the breakthrough technology of Artificial Dielectric (AD) layers, as the solution to the surface-wave problem of high-frequency on-chip antennas.

Task-cognizant sparse sensing for inference

Low-cost sparse sensing designed for specific tasks

STW Take-off phase1: High gamma vector network analysis

HΓ-VNA targets the implementation of a new measurement technique, enabling accurate characterization of electronic devices as well as biological and organic materials, which share the common characteristic of presenting extreme loading condition in the RF/Microwave frequency range.

Digitally Dominant Analog Blocks for Ultra-Low-Power Wireless Sensor Network

All-digital phase-locked loops, inductor/capacitor-based DC-DC switching converters

Signal processing over wireless acoustic sensor networks

Microphone subset selection for WASNs

3D Elements For Phased Array Systems

The goal is to develop 3D antenna elements for phased arrays with integrated filtering solutions and suitable pattern shaping.

A Single-Photon, Time-Resolved Image Sensor for Low-Light-Level Vision

The project aims for a CMOS photon-counting image sensor with high timing resolution

SuperGPS: Accurate timing and positioning

Accurate timing and positioning through an optical-wireless distributed time and frequency reference

Smart Energy Efficient Digital Communication

SEEDCOM aims for fully integrated energy efficient wideband transmitters

smart Everything everywhere Access to content through Small cells Technologies

EAST is focused on the development of Small cell technologies for 5G applications up to 6 GHz

Efficient on-chip antennas for terahertz applications

Silicon technology promises affordable integrated THz systems, but at the cost of limited achievable efficiency. Antenna solutions to overcome this bottleneck efficiency will be investigated.

Standardized Self-diagnostic Sensing Systems for Highly Automated Driving


Design approach for resilient integrated electronic systems in automotive and avionics applications

Kinetic Inductance Detectors: a new imaging technology for observations in and from space

Imaging arrays of kinetic inductance detectors for space-based astronomical and earth observation applications

Ultra WideBand (UWB) Radio Indoor Positioning System

How can we accomplish effective, scalable and low-cost indoor positioning systems for practical applications using UWB radio signals?

Extreme Wireless Distributed Systems

EWiDS is one of the projects of the COMMIT program, concentrating on extreme wireless distributed systems. In EWiDS, we aim at a better understanding of using wireless, user-centric sensor technology to monitor and manage the behavior of people.

DESHIMA (Deep Spectroscopic High-redshift Mapper)

Superconducting On-chip Spectrometer for Probing the Cosmic History of Star Formation


PulsarPlane: Worldwide Air Transport Operations

We investigate if pulsar navigation for aviation is positive, and analyse the impact on aviation.

Metrology for optical and RF communication systems

To develop traceable methods for RF power and MIMO antenna measurements and cost-effective metrological solutions for smart, adaptive, reconfigurable and wearable antennas.


DOTSEVEN is a very ambitious 3.5 year R&D project targeting the development of silicon germanium (SiGe) heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) technologies with cut-off frequencies (fmax) up to 700 GHz.

Sensing Heterogeneous Information Network Environment

How can heterogeneous resources (people, mobile sensors, fixed sensors, social media, information systems, etc.) self-organize for answering information needs?

From RF to MMW and THz silicon SoC technologies

Silicon technology platforms for emerging RF, millimetre-wave and THz consumer applications.

Autonomous, self-learning, optimal and complete underwater systems

Can we develop robust, cooperative and cognitive communication for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles?

Reliable and fast wireless communication for lithography machines

Connecting a sensor network on a moving platform to a control unit; this requires high-speed links with low latency, and accurate wireless clock synchronization.

Separation of AIS Transponder Signals

AIS is a VHF communication system for ship transponders. Seen from a satellite, transponder messages overlap. The aim is to separate these using an antenna array.

Speech enhancement in wireless acoustic sensor networks

Distributed speech enhancement algorithms using a large number of microphones distributed in the environment

Low-frequency distributed radio telescope in space

Below 15 MHz, the ionosphere blocks EM signals from the sky. Therefore, can we design a radio telescope in space, using a swarm of inexpensive nano-satellites? Accurate localization and clock recovery is important.

Signal Processing for Self-Organizing Wireless Networks

Mathematical foundations to develop large self-organizing networks based on cognitive radio devices that are capable of sensing the radio spectrum and adapt accordingly.