Research and Personnel

The WEST Lab is always looking for outstanding new members to make contributions. If the projects on this site sound like a good fit for you, feel free to drop me an email at ude.xdp ta ttenrubd.

At the Master's level, I am happy to advise those students who will commit to completing a thesis. Note that research assistantship funding is typically reserved for PhD students; research grants typically last 3-5 years and it can take 1-2 years of training before a student can contribute to the deliverables required by the grant providing student funding. Master's degrees are most commonly funded through teaching assistantships and employer programs.

For a sample of projects in the WEST Lab's purview, see below and this writeup of undergraduate project ideas.

Current lab members

WEST Lab members convene weekly to discuss recent research results, journal articles, practice talks for upcoming conferences, and more. Meetings are held at a time that is adjusted to fit schedules every quarter. Send me an email at the address above if you'd like to join a meeting.

Haziq Rohail

PhD Student, Summer 2023 - present

Project Description: Oscillators are signal generators that play a key role in RF communication systems. Oscillator instability, also known as phase noise, can result in reciprocal mixing which degrades the system SNR. Current communication systems use high-Q crystal oscillators, which are very accurate but consume at least a few milliwatts of power, if not more. The goal of crystal-free IoT is to replace the crystal oscillator with a low power on-chip free-running oscillator, to reduce the power and area requirements for the IoT mote. However, free-running oscillators tend to have poor frequency stability. Not only does that result in reciprocal mixing, but the frequency of the free-running oscillator drifts over time which can cause carrier mismatch between the transmitter and receiver during packet transmission. The goal of this project is to improve the frequency stability of CMOS oscillators to satisfy FSK based communication standards such as BLE and IEEE 802.15.4, and to explore the design tradeoffs in terms of circuit topologies, power consumption, and area.

Biography: Haziq Rohail received his BS degree in electrical engineering from National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Pakistan in 2020, where he focussed on RF circuit design. He worked as a research engineer at PI Invent, Pakistan, from 2020 to 2023, where his focus was on Analog/RF IC design in 130 nm and 65 nm CMOS. He is currently pursuing his PhD in electrical engineering from Portland State University under the supervision of Dr. David C. Burnett. His current research interest is in RF IC design, specifically low power oscillator design for IoT motes.


Shahram Hatefi Hesari

PhD Student, Summer 2023 - present

Title : Optimizing GPS Receiver Design with Free-Running Ring Oscillators: Balancing Size, Power, and Performance in Modern Navigation Systems

Project Description: In the field of compact GPS receiver design, it is crucial to minimize the size and power consumption of RF components. Designers often opt for a ring oscillator to generate local RF signals instead of using a large inductor within an LC tank to conserve space, despite the increase in phase noise and the significant frequency error that can compromise reliable communication unless stabilized with a high-quality reference through a Phase-Locked Loop (PLL), which often requires off-chip references and complicates the system design. In this project, I explore the integration of a free-running ring oscillator into GPS receiver designs to reduce reliance on traditional components like resonant tanks for noise rejection and external references for frequency stabilization. This approach could substantially minimize the physical footprint and power requirements of the receiver. My critical examination focuses on the implications of using a free-running ring oscillator on the spectral efficiency and performance of the receiver, particularly its ability to efficiently manage various signal components within a bandwidth of a few MHz, from the low-rate navigation message transmitted at 50 bps to the L1 C/A Code with a chipping rate of 1.023 MHz crucial for initial satellite acquisition and timing synchronization. I will assess how well the oscillator meets the processing demands of GPS receivers, examining its performance across the necessary operational bandwidth essential for receiving and processing GPS signals, and critically analyzing the trade-offs between minimizing size, conserving power, and maintaining performance stability to provide insights into the potential evolution of modern GPS receivers towards greater integration and efficiency.

Hayden Galante

PhD student co-advised with Dr. Atul Ingle, PSU CS

Project Description: Hayden’s research aims to implement histogram-less processors for single-photon avalanche diode(SPAD) cameras on FPGAs and ASICs. SPAD photodetectors are a technology that allows for high-spatial-resolution 3D imaging. However, taking advantage of SPAD's high spatial resolution requires building large histograms of time-of-flight data. The memory and bandwidth required to build and read these histograms make high-resolution SPAD imaging too power-intensive for embedded applications. By eliminating the need for histograms, we can substantially lower the camera’s power consumption.

Biography: Hayden is pursuing a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus on SPAD time-of-flight image processing architectures. Hayden completed post-baccalaureate work in ECE at Portland State and is expecting to receive his MS in ECE in Spring 2024. Additionally, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UC San Diego.

Quinn Morgan

USGS-PSU Partnership Scholar and PSU-ENSTA Internship Awardee

Project Description: "Developing tools and workflows for acoustic unattended monitoring of river bedload." Bedload transport encompasses the coarse material, 20-100mm gravel, traveling downstream. This metric is incredibly important to hydrologists and scientists studying how riverbeds change over time. Additionally, salmon conservation efforts use this metric to predict the changes or destruction of spawning grounds. Tracking and validating bedload movement is a non-trivial task with existing methods being expensive, time consuming and even dangerous. However, the acoustic signature of bedload impacts (Sediment Generated Noise) is detectable by the use of hydrophones (underwater microphones). This project aims at developing an acoustic designing signal processing techniques as well as physical hardware to facilitate and improve upon the detection of bedload transport.

Research for this project was supported in part by the USGS-PSU Partnership Seed Grant 2022A. This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Geological Survey under Grant/Cooperative Agreement No. G23AC00003.

Jacob Louie

Undergraduate, URMP Scholar 2023, Summer 2022 - Present

The Single-Chip micro-Mote (SCuM) project is a highly complex, fully-integrated CMOS System-on-Chip. Such a complex system can be used in many applications but we need to understand how it performs in the real world. Jacob has been working on techniques to facilitate more effective use of SCuM, including profiling current consumption in various operational modes, establishing best practices for developing and testing on-chip firmware.

Brandon Hippe

Undergraduate and graduate researcher, Summer 2022 - present

Brandon is working on designing a BLE-compatible prototyping system around Adalm-Pluto Software Defined Radios. This has included work on understanding the BLE 1M PHY, creating scripts to assemble and decode valid packets, and developing HDL code to implement clock and data recovery on the FPGA onboard an Adalm-Pluto.

Brandon was also a part of the WEST Lab's 2022-23 Ugrad capstone design team, and has continued to maintain the Indoor Air Quality Monitoring system developed as a part of their project. This included fixing issues and maintaining the nodes, as well as presenting the project at the 2023 IEEE Sensors Conference in Vienna, Austria and the 2024 PSU Student Research Symposium.

Brandon designed a low-cost humidity test chamber inspired by Eric Paulos's student Rundong Tian at UC Berkeley. After finishing the design and ordering parts, he built a DC probe system in the WEST Lab and doing curve tracing of 65 nm MOSFETs fabricated as part of a CMOS oscillator test structure IC. These results will help us understand postprocessed CMOS dice that have undergone etching at UW's Washington Nanofabrication Facility.

Natalie Kashoro

Undergraduate, 2023 LSAMP scholar, 2023 Frankwell Lin scholar, Fall 2022 - Present

Project Description: Natalie is working on an OpenWSN project for civil infrastructure health as it is crucial to monitor moisture within a slab of concrete. Available tests are of high cost or unreliable and surface-based. The objective of this project is to develop an alternative test with a wireless mesh network that utilizes OpenWSN, OpenMote Type B boards and compatible sensors to monitor temperature and humidity in concrete. The project continues to branch to future directions that will connect the wireless mesh network to the IPv6 cloud so communication is bidirectional.

Biography: Natalie Kashoro transferred to Portland State University from Portland Community College to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. Natalie is a second year LSAMP Research Scholar and is currently participating in undergrad research at PSU’s Wireless Environmental Sensor Technology (WEST) Lab, testing and programming wireless embedded network systems. Natalie is passionate about environmental efforts, encouraging diversity in engineering and enjoys being part of the open source community. It is her goal to work in research and development before eventually teaching as an engineering professor.

Sonia Nath

Undergraduate, 2024 LSAMP scholar, Fall 2023 - Present

The DS1922 is a tiny, precise iButton that is used to measure temperature continuously. It is employed in many research projects such as Effect of radiofrequency exposure on body temperature: Real-time monitoring in normal rats. By creating software that enables users to simply plug in the iButton to a PC and have the data downloaded into a file, this project seeks to make the process of data retrieval more accessible. Additionally, it seeks to design an intuitive user interface that enables the user to start and stop the data temperature allocation time as well as view the data graphically in a format.

Past Students and Other WEST Lab Associates