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Safieddin (Ali) Safavi-Naeini

Safieddin (Ali) Safavi-Naeini

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo

Chair title

NSERC/RIM Industrial Research Chair in Intelligent Integrated Radio/Antenna Systems and Novel Electromagnetic Media Technologies

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2004


The NSERC/C-COM Industrial Research Chair in Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems for Next-Generation Millimetre-Wave Mobile Communications will explore and develop low-cost modular/scalable technologies for intelligent antenna/radio systems for emerging millimetre-wave mobile communications and sensing. The proposed approach combines low-cost flexible hardware technologies with highly intelligent control and system identification algorithms.

A major application focus of this research is mobile satellite communication (satcom), which has become one of the fastest-growing telecommunication infrastructures in recent years. Satcom is uniquely positioned to extend the reach of the digital economy to every corner of the world (depths of the ocean, furthest stretches of the sky, and remotest villages), providing Internet access to over 4.5 billion people, or 60% of world’s population who do not currently have it. The Chair program will also develop key enabling technologies for future-generation 5G systems and automotive radar. These applications are not only strategically important for Canadian society, but also open new market opportunities for high-tech industries in Canada.

As an engineering professor of the University of Waterloo, I have been a radio science and technologies researcher for more than 40 years. I have conducted research in electromagnetics, intelligent antenna and radio systems, as well as radiofrequency/microwave, millimetre-wave/terahertz, and satellite communications. Close to a decade ago, I successfully developed and tested one of the first and the lowest-profile Ku-band phased-array receiving antennas for commercial mobile satcom. I established the Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS), which will house this Chair program.

The vision for a renewed third term for this Chair program is a far-reaching attempt to bring the concepts for new device technology and innovative system architectures, which have been explored and developed over the first two terms of this program, to full system integration.

The modular/scalable technology developed in the course of this Chair will eventually change the landscape of commercial millimetre-wave phased-array systems. This innovative system integrates antenna elements, active/passive feed circuits, and a local memory and digital processor, which store calibration and system-identification data produced by the calibration sub-system. This distributed beam-control concept will greatly enhance scaling to a larger array without the need to modify the beam-forming algorithms.

This NSERC-IRC program will maintain a close interaction between the research team housed in CIARS and the technical expertise of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. This project will not only significantly enhance the Waterloo research team’s exposure to real industrial issues, but will also help to ensure seamless and timely transfer of the research results and technology know-how to C-COM. Using its extensive system design and integration capabilities, C-COM will be able to convert the results of this Chair program into an innovative and cost-effective Ka-band mobile satcom phased-array technology platform for the commercial market.


  • C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.

Contact information

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo

Tel.: 519-888-4567, ext. 32822
Fax: 519- 746-3077
Email: safavi@uwaterloo.ca


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