The origin of ultra wideband (UWB) technology stems from work in time-domain electromagnetics begun in 1962 to fully describe the transient behavior of a certain class of microwave networks through their characteristic impulse response (Ross 1963, 1966).
Once impulse measurement techniques were applied to the design of wideband, radiating antenna elements (Ross 1968), it quickly became obvious that short pulse radar and communications systems could be developed with the same set of tools.While at the Sperry Research Center
, then part of the Sperry Rand Corporation
applied these techniques to various applications in radar and communications (Bennett & Ross 1978).This article is highly recommended reading for those interested in past and present applications of UWB technology. (A copy of the Bennett and Ross paper can be found here.)
The invention of a sensitive, short pulse receiver (Robbins 1972) to replace the cumbersome time-domain sampling oscilloscope further accelerated system development.In 1973, Sperry was awarded the first UWB communications patent (Ross 1973).A copy of this fundamental UWB patent can be downloaded here:
In 1984, recognizing the value of UWB technology in the development of low probability of intercept and detection (LPI/D) communications systems, Dr. Ross
prepared a seminal paper entitled "Comments on Baseband or Carrier-Free Communications".Collaborating with Dr. Robert Fontana, currently MSSI President, Ross and Fontana designed, developed and implemented an LPI/D communications system, funded by the U.S. Government in 1986 and fielded in September 1987.
Drs. Fontana and Ross
continued collaboration on UWB system development for both communications and radar applications for approximately 11 years.
Within the United States, much of the early work in the UWB field (prior to 1994), particularly in the area of impulse communications, was performed under classified U.S. Government programs.Since 1994, however, much of the work has been carried out without classification restrictions, and the development of UWB technology has greatly accelerated.See, for example, a recent compendium of UWB applications in:
Recent Applications of Ultra Wideband Radar and Communications Systems (paper) -- Ultra-Wideband, Short-Pulse Electromagnetics, KLUWER ACADEMIC/PLENUM PUBLISHERS
, 2000 (676 kB)
ReferencesBennett, C.L. and Ross, G.F., 1978, Time-domain electromagnetics and its applications, Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol.
66, No. 3, pp.299-318.
...Ross, G.F., 1966, The transient analysis of certain TEM mode four-port networks, IEEE Trans.
Microwave Theory and Tech., Vol.MTT-14, No. 11, pp.528-547.
Ross, G.F., 1973, Transmission and reception system for generating and receiving base-band duration pulse signals for short base-band pulse communication system, U.S. Patent 3,728,632.Ross, G.F., 1968, A time domain criterion for the design of wideband radiating elements, IEEE Trans.
Antennas Propagat., Vol.16, No. 3, p. 355.
See below for Dr. Ross'
views on the Early Motivations and History of UWB Technology.Dr. Ross is a Fellow of the IEEE and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, both honors awarded for his long history of contributions to time-domain electromagnetics and ultra wideband technology.
...by Dr. Gerald F. Ross, President
...Contributions to the development of a field addressing UWB RF signals commenced in the late 1960's with the pioneering contributions of Harmuth at Catholic University of America, Ross and Robbins at Sperry Rand Corporation and Paul van Etten at the USAF's Rome Air Development Center.
In summary, the pioneering work of Harmuth, Ross
, Robbins, van Etten, and Morey defined UWB systems and did so in a very practical manner.
...Bennett, C.L. & Ross, G.F., Time-domain electromagnetics and its application.
66, 299-318, 1978.
...Ross, G.F., Transmission and reception system for generating and receiving base-band duration pulse signals for short base-band pulse communication system.
U.S. Patent 3,728,632 dated Apr 17, 1973.Ross, G.F., Energy amplifying selector gate for base-band signals.
U.S. Patent 3,750,025 dated July 31, 1973.
Ross, G.F. & Lamensdorf, D., Balanced radiator system, U.S. Patent 3,659,203 dated Apr, 25, 1972.Ross, G.F. & Mara, R.M., Coherent processing tunnel diode ultra wideband receiver.
, G.F. & Robbins, K.W., Base-band radiation and reception system.U.S. Patent 3,739,392 dated June 12, 1973.Ross
, G.F. & Robbins, K.W., Narrow range-gate baseband receiver.U.S. Patent 4,695,752 dated Sep 22, 1987.