Ultra-Sensitive Broadband Receiver for Longwave Radio Reception

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Gurses, Baris Volkan
Cohen, Morris B.
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Longwaves, or low-frequency (LF) radio waves, are electromagnetic waves whose frequencies are less than 500 kHz. Due to their propagation at low frequencies, these waves experience low attenuation over great distances and can penetrate conductive material via skin effect. LF waves radiated in the atmosphere also reflect off the ionosphere and ground to propagate globally in the so-called Earth-ionosphere waveguide. These phenomena allow LF waves to be used in various scientific and engineering applications, including ionospheric remote sensing, lightning geolocation, navigation, submarine communications, and imaging through conductive media. LF waves are detected by sensitive LF receivers for data acquisition. LF receivers are categorized as magnetic-field receivers or electric-field receivers based on their method of coupling the waves propagating in the environment. magnetic-field receivers receive the signals through inductive coupling, while electric-field receivers detect the signals through conductive coupling. Magnetic-field receivers are conventionally utilized in most of LF application. However, their sensitivities are limited by the sensitivity of their antennas. In this thesis, we describe a novel broadband ultra-sensitive electric field receiver. We describe the working principles of the receiver, including its design methodology and trade-offs. We show the performance of the receiver characterized both through empirical measurements and numerical models. We show the unprecedented sensitivity of this receiver compared to the state-of-the-art. We also demonstrate possible applications of this receiver enabled by its ultra-low sensitivity.
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Undergraduate Thesis
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