Skip to content  

Working at TU/e

ANTERRA PhD on Maximally sparse 3D antenna arrays LEO Satellite communications

ANTERRA PhD on Maximally sparse 3D antenna arrays LEO Satellite communications

Are you looking for a high impact PhD position in close collaboration with industry?
Electrical Engineering
Date off
Reference number

Job description

The European Doctoral Network ‘ANTERRA’ offers 15 fully funded industrial PhD student positions in the area of antennas, integrated circuits and signal processing, starting in the autumn of 2022. ANTERRA is focussed on Antenna Systems for 6G Non-Terrestrial Networks. The consortium consists of 14 leading European R&D laboratories from universities, industries, and technology institutes in the domain of satellite communication and wireless infrastructure which are located in The Netherlands, France, Sweden, Italy and Belgium.

Our society is on the brink of a new age with the development of new visionary concepts such as internet of things, smart cities, autonomous driving, smart mobility, and coverage everywhere. This stimulates the use of new deployment concepts, such as extreme densification or Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN), to support the wireless communication evolution. For 6G, a key use case which stands unaddressed by prior telecommunication generations, is that of coverage everywhere. One of the major reasons for not addressing this use case thus far is the lack of expertise about non-terrestrial communication in the classical (terrestrial) telecommunication industry. The European research project ANTERRA addresses this issue by training 15 PhD students on antenna systems for NTN, one of the key aspects to successfully implement coverage everywhere.

In ANTERRA, the research fellows will investigate particular aspects of the system concept.  For this, they will take a system view by investigating architectural needs and constraints from which they will develop novel multi-functional high-gain antenna architectures that exhibit a large coverage. Moreover, innovations in energy efficient highly integrated radio front-ends is a key enabler towards more efficient, high performance radio-access hardware for satellite nodes. Research in novel synchronization and beam-finding techniques will lead to stable integration of all network nodes into one global 6G NTN. All concepts will be optimized to meet the requirements of NTN antenna systems.

This vacancy concerns the PhD position on Maximally sparse 3D antenna arrays for 6G NTN. Recent research on multi-exponential analysis has demonstrated perfect signal recovery from sparsely sampled signals. This project aims to extend the application of this analysis to the spatial domain by applying the theory of multi-exponential analysis to the synthesis of a maximally sparse conformal antenna array enabling near-hemispherical field-of-view coverage. The theoretical framework developed through this research will be applied to the design and realization of a demonstrator Low-Earth Orbit ground station 3D phased array antenna operating in K- (downlink) and Ka-band (uplink), with improved circular polarization purity and scan performance at near-horizon elevation angles. You will be employed as PhD at TU/e in the Netherlands with a secondment at SATCUBE in Sweden.

Training programme
ANTERRA will provide the PhD students with a comprehensive set of theoretical and practical skills relevant for innovation and long-term employability in a rapidly growing sector. This highly innovative training will cover several inter-disciplinary areas as shown in the figure below. Each PhD student will be enrolled in a doctoral programme and will have two official employers, one from academia and one from industry. Highly qualified personnel from both employers will jointly coach the PhD student.

Job requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to receive, a Master of Science degree or equivalent in a relevant electrical engineering or applied physics discipline and should not have more than four years of research experience. In addition to the formal Research Fellow qualifications, selection is also based on the performance of the candidates in other works (e.g. thesis and advanced level courses), as well as through interviews and assignments. Besides good subject knowledge, emphasis will be on creative thinking, motivation, ability to cooperate, initiative to work independently and personal suitability for research training. Previous experience in the area of antennas, electronics and signal processing as well as a thorough understanding of numerical computing is recommended. Proficiency in using scientific and engineering software packages such as Matlab, ADS, CST etc. is advantageous. For the PhD positions the EU ‘Mobility rules’ apply. For this vacancy this means that candidate students cannot have resided for more than 12 months during the period of 3 years immediately before the start of the PhD in the Netherlands. 

Information and application

Prof. Bart Smolders: a.b.smolders[at] or Lukas Nyström: lukas.nystrom[at]