Dynamic Broadband RF Spectrometer

Period of Performance: 10/20/2006 - 09/20/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

THE Athena Group, Inc.
Principal Investigator


The need for intelligent management of an extremely crowded RF spectrum is of critical importance to the military. To meet the demand for information throughput, true real-time spectrum management with dynamic band reallocation is required. A world-class digital RF broadband spectral analyzer is required to realize this technological leap forward, to ensure wireless communications paths are accessible and reliable. Athena meets this challenge with the sea of Fourier transforms (SOFT) technology that provides the military with an innovative real-time, software configurable, multi-channel, FFT-based spectral analyzer that can operate at extremely high data rates with high precision. SOFT is created from the fusion of an array of two proven Athena technologies, the channelizer and the embeddable FFT, to define a single chip reconfigurable spectrum analysis solution. These two technologies have been individually demonstrated to be superior to the current state-of-the-art, and their combination will produce a superior broadband spectrum analyzer. In Phase I the architectural definition will result in a real-time digital spectral analyzer capable of accepting data at a 1.2Gsa/s rate and resolving the broadband spectrum into selectable subbands with kHz output resolution or better. In addition, an optional on-demand zoom capability based on an innovative non-uniform FFT processing scheme can be added to the SOFT architecture, which would enable the unique ability to locally enhance the precision of a baseband FFT.BENEFITS: Athena SOFT technology represents a major advance in the field of digital RF spectral analysis and spectral management. The initial beneficiary of the SOFT project will be the military in the form of high-performance digital spectral analyzer that, when combined with spectral management software, can insure reliable and accessible defense communications. The single chip SOFT solution will also have an immediate commercial application in the field of RF surveillance and portable RF signal analysis. Such an instrument, whether discrete or embedded, is necessary to manage an ever crowded voice and data spectrum.