Radar Systems Lab

RSL Logo

Research in RSL runs the gamut from theoretical signal processing and concept development to experimental system development and open-air demonstration of advanced radar capabilities. Current topics of investigation include MIMO, waveform agility, adaptive transmission, dual-function radar/communication and spectrum sharing operation, direction-finding and signal classification, adaptive receive processing, and more. Radar research encompasses multiple disciplines including RF systems engineering, estimation & detection theory, high-performance computing (including real-time operation), optimization theory, and signal processing. Faculty and students are engaged in a wide variety of projects ranging from the design, construction, and experimentation of actual radar systems in hardware to the theoretical analysis and development of advanced mathematical concepts.

RSL students are in extremely high demand, with recent internships and full-time employment at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) - Sensors Directorate in Dayton, OH; the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) – Sensors & Electron Devices Directorate in Adelphi, MD; the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) – Radar Division in Washington, DC; Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, VA;  Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI;  Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in Albuquerque, NM; MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, MA; Johns Hopkins University – Applied Physics Lab (APL) in Baltimore, MD; Georgia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta, GA; Dept. of Energy’s Kansas City National Security Campus in Kansas City, MO; Northrop Grumman in Baltimore, MD; L3-Harris in Plano, TX and Reston, VA; Lockheed-Martin in Littleton, CO; Systems & Technology Research (STR) in Woburn, MA; Leidos in Arlington, VA.

Awards and Honors For RSL Students

Daniel Herr / Pranav Raju – top 4 finalist, Student Paper Contest, 2022 IET International Conference on Radar Systems, Edinburgh, Scotland for “Adaptive-on-transmit using information theoretic measures”

Jon Owen / Charles Mohr / Brandon Ravenscroft -- 1st Place, Student Paper Contest, 2022 IEEE Radar Conference, New York City, NY for "Real-time experimental demonstration and evaluation of open-air sense-and-notch radar

Christian Jones / Zeus Gannon / Jon Owen -- 2nd Place, Student Paper Contest, 2022 IEEE Radar Conference, New York City, NY for "Development & experimental assessment of robust direction finding and self-calibration"

Matthew Heintzelman / Thomas Kramer -- top 5 finalist, Student Paper Contest, 2022 IEEE Radar Conference, New York City, NY for "Experimental evaluation of super-Gaussian-shaped random FM waveforms"

Christian Jones / Brandon Ravenscroft -- 1st Place, Student Paper Contest, 2021 IEEE Radar Conference, Atlanta, GA for "Computationally efficient joint-domain clutter cancellation for waveform-agile radar"

Brandon Ravenscroft / Jonathan Owen / John Jakabosky – 2020 IET Radar, Sonar & Navigation Premium Award for "Experimental demonstration and analysis of cognitive spectrum sensing & notching"

Christian Jones / Lumumba Harnett / Charles Mohr -- 2nd Place, Student Paper Contest, 2020 IEEE International Radar Conference, Washington, DC for "Structure-based adaptive radar processing for joint clutter cancellation and moving target estimation"

Christian Jones -- top 5 finalist, Best Paper Award, 2019 International Radar Conference, Toulon, France for "Mismatched complementary-on-receive filtering of diverse FM waveform subsets"

Christian Jones -- top 5 finalist, Best Young Scientist Paper Award, 2019 International Radar Conference, Toulon, France (same as above)

Jonathan Owen -- 1st Place, student research competition, Army Research Laboratory - Sensors & Electron Devices Directorate (3rd place in the lab-wide competition)

Charles Mohr -- 2nd Place, Student Paper Contest, 2019 IEEE Radar Conference, Boston, MA for "FM noise waveforms optimized according to a temporal template error (TTE) metric"

Brandon Ravenscroft / Jonathan Owen -- Finalist, Student Paper Contest, 2019 IEEE Radar Conference, Boston, MA for "Optimal mismatched filtering to address clutter spread from intra-CPI variation of spectral notches"

Dr. Patrick McCormick -- 2019 IEEE-AESS Robert T. Hill Best Dissertation Award for "Design and Optimization of Physical Waveform-Diverse and Spatially-Diverse Radar Emissions"

Brandon Ravenscroft -- Finalist, Student Paper Contest, 2017 IET International Conference on Radar Systems, Belfast, UK for "Analysis of spectral notching FM noise radar using measured interference"

Dr. Cenk Sahin / Dr. Justin Metcalf -- Finalist, Best Industry Paper Contest, 2017 IET International Conference on Radar Systems, Belfast, UK for "Characterization of range sidelobe modulation arising from radar-embedded communications"

Patrick McCormick -- 1st Place, Student Paper Contest, 2017 IEEE Radar Conference, Seattle, WA for "Simultaneous radar and communication emissions from a common aperture, part I: theory"

Patrick McCormick -- 3rd Place, Student Paper Contest, 2016 IEEE Radar Conference, Philadelphia, PA for "A gradient descent implementation of adaptive pulse compression"

John Jakabosky -- Finalist, Student Paper Contest, 2012 IEEE Radar Conference, Atlanta, GA for "Transmitter-in-the-loop optimization of physical radar emissions"

Center Resources

Network analyzers (two 40 GHz, one 6 GHz, one 1.8 GHz); RF signal synthesizers (two 20 GHz, one 2 GHz); Spectrum analyzers (one at 50 GHz, one at 22 GHz, one 1.8 GHz); Real-time spectrum analyzers (two at 26 GHz); High-speed oscilloscopes (one 50 GHz, one 20 GHz, four 8-channel 4 GHz, two 1 GHz); Frequency counter (one 26 GHz); High-speed, digital bit-error-rate testers (one 40 Gb/s, one 10 Gb/s); Direct digital, arbitrary waveform synthesizers (one 2-channel 10 GHz sampling, two 8-channel with 10-GHz sampling frequency, one with 2.4-GHz sampling frequency, one with 800-MHz sampling frequency, five with 200-MHz sampling frequencies);Fiber-optic delay lines; Printed-circuit-board milling machine; Infrared soldering/rework station; Video-equipped inspection microscopes (one with 600x magnification, one with 60x)

The Waveform Diversity Experimentation System design consists of 16 separate X-Band transmit channels with independent baseband arbitrary waveform generation capability, and 16 separate X-Band receive channels with independent baseband channel digitization, housed in two mobile equipment racks to facilitate outdoor range testing.  WaDES has been designed to enable experimental evaluation of a wide variety of MIMO and related approaches, with the capability to support an assortment of antenna configurations and polarization formats, including bistatic / multistatic arrangements and antenna schemes for radar embedded communications. 

WaDES Page

Center Researchers

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
Professor, EECS
Shannon Blunt
Shannon Blunt
Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor, EECS, Director | Radar Systems Laboratory (RSL)
Shima Fardad
Shima Fardad
Assistant Professor, EECS
Rongqing Hui
Rongqing Hui
Professor, EECS, Director | Center for Communications, Materials and Photonics (CCMP)
Patrick McCormick
Patrick McCormick
Assistant Professor, EECS, Assistant Scientist
Alessandro Salandrino
Alessandro Salandrino
Associate Professor, EECS
Suzanne Shontz
Suzanne Shontz
Professor, EECS, Director | Mathematical Methods & Interdisciplinary Computing Center (MMICC)
James Stiles
James Stiles
Professor, EECS

RSL History

RSL was originally founded as the Remote Sensing Laboratory in 1964. Professor R. K. Moore (Electrical Engineering) served as its director and Professors D. S. Simonett (Geography), L. F. Dellwig (Geology), and R. D. Ellermeier (EE) as associate directors. At that time, Prof. Moore led the NASA Radar Team that devised a space-based radar that was a predecessor to the radar later flown as SIR-C (Shuttle-Imaging Radar-C). RSL has been involved with numerous remote sensing radar systems flown in space, radar remote sensing for myriad scientific missions, and with the development of radar technology for defense applications. 

Early RSL accomplishments include: 

  • 1965-72 One of the first Interactive Image-Processing Systems (IDECS)
  • 1967 Conceived wind-speed scatterometer
  • 1967 First sea-ice scatterometer measurements
  • 1969 Invented radar-radiometer (RADSCAT)
  • 1970-74 Principal architects of Skylab S-193 RADSCAT
  • 1971 First wide-band FM radar scatterometer/spectrometer
  • 1973 First comprehensive theory for radar scatter from sea ice
  • 1973 First ground measurement of space-borne radar antenna pattern (Skylab S-193)
  • 1974 First to propose radar for soil-moisture measurement
  • 1978 First helicopter-borne radar scatterometer/spectrometer
  • 1979 First radar scatterometer measurements from sea with wave height measured in radar beam
  • 1981 Developed concept of scanning SAR for wide-swath coverage (SCANSAR)
  • 1987 First modern-technology radar for ice-sheet probing
  • 1988 Concept for Radar measurement of Winds Aloft from Satellite (RAWS)
  • 1989 First scattering measurements for Antarctic sea ice
  • 1993 First use of plane waves to improve near-vertical scattering measurements
  • 1998 Hosted the 7th International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar in Lawrence, KS

RSL has been involved with the following space-borne radar programs: Skylab, Seasat, SIR-A, SIR-B, SIR-C, ERS-1, JERS-1, TRMM, and SeaWinds. RSL has participated in many large national and international programs for study of vegetation, oceans, sea ice, and glacial ice. 

In 1998, RSL merged with the Telecommunication & Information Sciences Lab (TISL) to form the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC) at KU. In 2005, RSL research formed the basis of the Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), an NSF Science and Technology Center established to study the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.