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ECE grad students win DAGSI fellowships for their futures in aerospace tech

Gus Fragasse and Trevor DeanTwo graduate students at The Ohio State University won fellowships for their plans to support the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and pursue careers in aerospace technologies.

Trevor Dean and Roman Fragasse won the AFRL/Dayton Area Graduate Studies Institute (DAGSI) Ohio Student-Faculty Research Fellowship program, which supports graduate science and engineering students and faculty conducting research in areas essential to AFRL at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

All DAGSI projects involve basic studies into aerospace technologies and originate from research topics provided by the four AFRL Directorates headquartered at Wright-Patterson: Human Effectiveness; Aerospace Systems; Materials and Manufacturing; and Sensors.

Fragasse started his collegiate career at Ohio State in 2012 as an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) undergraduate student. He then spent several summers interning at Texas Instruments, and also pursued research interests with the Intelligent Transportation Systems Laboratory and with the Information Electronics group. 

He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering under the guidance of ECE Professor Waleed Khalil, and the sponsorship of John Scheihing at AFRL. His thesis is on the design of a high-speed SRAM in 130nm BiCMOS (SiGe) technology. 

As Fragasse explains, his work primarily lies in furthering the efficiency of communications.

“Three pressing issues common to all read-out imaging systems are related to the noise, available dynamic range at low and high conditions, and data throughput of the system,” he said. “Our approach to the DAGSI fellowship will be to mitigate these effects for high performance IR imaging applications, while exploiting techniques for lowering the data overhead and the subsequent power consumption of the system. These techniques will be merged together in a read-out integrated circuit that will be fabricated in a CMOS image sensor process and tested in the facilities provided by AFRL.”

Dean is originally from Alpharetta, Georgia. He received his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in ECE from Ohio State in December of 2017. During his undergraduate career, he worked as an intern at Battelle twice, and at ArcelorMittal and as an undergraduate research assistant in the CLASS laboratory. Currently, he is enrolled in the direct to Ph.D. program at Ohio State.

Dean also studies under the guidance of professor Khalil, with support from sponsors Tony Quach and Ryan Wolfarth, of AFRL. His DAGSI proposal was for his research, “High Efficiency/ Bandwidth Outphasing Power Amplifier for Ku and Ka Bands.”

“Next generation radar, communication, and electronic warfare systems are required to be agile in frequency, power, and waveform diversity, while maintaining high spectrum efficiency,” Dean said. “In order to meet these requirements, new systems must utilize Reconfigurable Radio Frequency capabilities. Outphasing is a technique that can be employed to meet this criteria.”

He said outphasing can be thought of as a vector summation.

“As the phase difference between two vectors increases, the resultant vector decreases in magnitude. The opposite happens as the phase between two vectors is reduced, the resultant vector increases in magnitude,” he said.

The DAGSI fellowship program is intended to encourage research ties and collaboration within the Ohio academic science and engineering community; leverage Ohio research funding with AFRL, universities, and industry funding and other resources; and ultimately develop research talent to meet AFRL and Ohio high-tech workforce needs.