Electrical engineering professor honored for contributions to radar engineering


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Ram M. Narayanan, professor of electrical engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been selected by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Aerospace & Electronics Systems Society, as the recipient of the 2017 Warren D. White Award. The award is given for outstanding achievements due to a major technical advance (or series of advances) in the art of radar engineering.

Narayanan, an IEEE fellow, has been recognized “for contributions to high resolution radar system development, signal processing and applications.” The award, which was created in 1999, includes a $2000 stipend and travel funds to next month’s IEEE Radar Conference in Seattle.

His primary and sustained contributions are in the implementation of full phase coherence to enhance the application of stochastic waveforms for detection and imaging of targets in dispersive media.

According to his nominator, Professor Moeness Amin of Villanova University, Narayanan recognized that the most optimal diverse waveform for sensing and imaging was a totally random stochastic waveform, such as thermal noise.

“Narayanan was the first researcher to achieve the major technological breakthrough of maintaining phase coherence in a random noise radar using the technique of heterodyne correlation,” Amin said. “This technique uses an intermediate frequency derived from a phase-locked source for the first frequency down conversion in the receiver, instead of the more common homodyne correlation approach wherein the received signal is down converted directly to DC, and provided a correlator output at the intermediate frequency.”

He added that phase of the reflected signal could be measured and processed, and the received phase information was fully preserved for coherent processing of the received data.

Prior to joining Penn State in 2003, Narayanan worked as a design and development engineer at Bharat Electronics, Ghaziabad, India. He later joined the electrical engineering department at the University of Nebraska, where he served as Blackman & Lederer Chaired Professor of Electrical Engineering. He has been working in the area of radar system development, radar remote sensing applications, image analysis, and antenna characterization for over twenty years. His major research accomplishments include the development of: high resolution imaging using random noise radar; mid-infrared laser remote sensing technology; and ground penetrating radar for transportation infrastructure assessment, as well as the characterization of information content in remotely sensed images. He has published over 220 papers in refereed journals and presented over 350 conference papers.

His honors and awards include the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society’s 2013 Outstanding Research Award and  2003 Outstanding Service Award. In addition to being an IEEE Fellow, he is also a Fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) and the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers.


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Rebekka Coakley
Ram Narayanan



The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research in fields.

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