All IMS panels (Tue.-Thu.) are scheduled for 1200-1320 in Ballroom B.

The lunchtime panel sessions at the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) provide a platform for a spirited discussion on topics of interest to the Microwave Theory and Techniques community. During each 80-min session, short presentations by a number of leading experts will set the stage for a debate with an emphasis on audience participation.

At IMS2014, we will have three panel sessions. A session will address the opportunities that exist for new devices, applications, and high-frequency (HF) use of graphene materials. Another session will discuss the new approaches for massive online open courses (MOOCs) that offer a modern yet controversial approach to university teaching. There will also be a joint IMS/Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuit (RFIC) Symposium lunchtime panel session on the impact of spectrum explosion on the microwave (MW) hardware that needs to respond to demands at multiple frequency ranges. Short summaries for the three panel sessions are given below. We look forward to your active participation and hope that you find the panels interesting and enjoyable.


Dimitris Pavlidis (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), College of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States


William F. Graves Jr. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Trak Microwave a division of Smiths Microwave United States.

Tuesday, 3 June: Data Explosion and Bandwidth Needs: Are They Muffled Without Tunable RF?

Joint IMS-RFIC Session ((

Panelists include Joe Madden (Mobile Experts, Inc.), Yuang Lou (AT&T Mobile Device OEM), Armin Klomsdorf (Motorola), and Steve Brown (Qualcomm). The organizer is Jeff Hilbert (WiSpry, Inc.). The cellular network is rapidly evolving, driven by the immense global consumer appetite for data. Bandwidth across the spectrum is auctioned and then rolled out to support these needs. Effectively leveraging this bandwidth requires RF hardware that can operate across the current and future (LTE-A) multiple frequency ranges. Unfortunately, physical limitations in filters, amplifiers, and antennas have greatly constrained the practical solutions to support this evolution. Today’s standard approach utilizes separate filters for each band and band group amplifiers while using antennas that attempt to cover the full bandwidth. While this architecture scales linearly, it is quickly becoming untenable. Replacing this approach with a tunable front end has been the Holy Grail—always just out of reach. Evolution in the cost and performance of tuning technologies appears to be on the threshold of enabling this longheld dream. This panel brings together experts from across the wireless ecosystem to discuss the end user benefits, market opportunities, technical challenges, and projected solutions surrounding this spectrum explosion.

Wednesday, 4 June: MOOCs and Flipped Classrooms: Education Revolution or Passing Fad?

Panelists include Mark Lundstrom (Purdue University), Stephen M. Phillips (Arizona State University), W. Michael McCracken (Georgia Institute of Technology), and Jason H. Hafner (Rice University). The organizers are Dimitris Pavlidis (Boston University) and William Graves (TRAK Microwave). MOOCs and flipped classrooms have attracted significant attention over the last couple of years due to their revolutionary approach to teaching and the possibility of simultaneously approaching an enormously large number of students. Courses are offered for free or at low cost, and top universities are actively involved in this type of teaching that could possibly lead to a major transformation in higher education. Is this is a true revolution or a passing fad as some view Facebook? There are many other electronic methods of teaching. The IEEE offers, for example, more than 300 courses in core and emerging technologies for e-learning for interested members with different background from students to faculty and industry. Do we need to go much further? What about the lab experience that is normally considered an absolute must in engineering education? Are we moving away from socializing, or are we better at socially networking? Is this a good approach for a gateway, graduate, or further education courses? Will MOOCs permit a high level of student retention, obtain accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET), and convince future employers? A study by the University of the Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education showed that only 50% of those who registered for a course ever viewed a lecture, and only about 4% completed the courses. Some institutions offer fully online accredited electrical engineering programs. What are the challenges involved? During the initial euphoria about MOOCs and flipped classes, university presidents risked losing their jobs if they didn’t jump on the bandwagon fast enough. Today, the pendulum is swinging, and we’re hearing that the whole experiment is a failure. Will future employers avoid hiring people who earned their degrees at home in their pajamas, as some think about the quality of these new educational approaches? Is there something real between the euphoria and despair? Join the panel to find out more about this very controversial subject and the way it may affect your teaching, learning, and the new generation of engineers that industry may employ.

Thursday, 5 June: Graphene and Beyond Discoveries: A True Challenge for the World of Microelectronics or a Physics Curiosity?

Panelists include Kaustav Banerjee (University of California in Santa Barbara), Henri Happy (IEMN/University of Lille1, France), Thomas Kazior (Raytheon), Debdeep Jena (University of Notre Dame) Jeong-Sun Moon (HRL Laboratories), and Peide Ye (Purdue University). The organizers are William Graves (TRAK Microwave) and Dimitris Pavlidis (Boston University). Graphene and beyond graphene has been the subject of numerous studies covering not only fundamental physics and material aspects but also device applications. Its importance is demonstrated by the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. Researchers argued on this and other occasions that more time is needed to see the material’s potential fulfilled. In 2013, the European Commission (EC) invested US$1.3 billion toward research and development in graphene for the next ten years, spurring intensive studies of how to bring graphene from the laboratory to the marketplace. The United States and other countries around the world have also invested large sums of money on similar research and development. High-frequency applications include, among others, amplifiers, mixers, and terahertz-signal modulators. The reported results may, however, still be a long way from being comparable to those of other technologies when considering dc,

HF performance, and process complexity. Flexible electronics could be a niche area for graphene due to low cost and high performance. Its ambipolar behavior may also lead to some unique applications such as frequency doublers or negative differential resistance (NDR) devices for logic or terahertz components. Impressive current gain cutoff frequency ft over 400 GHz has been demonstrated for devices, but the maximum frequency of power gain fmax remains under 100 GHz. This comparatively low ratio of fmax/ft is a drawback for HF applications. We are therefore faced with many questions: What are the reasons of this discrepancy? Is it reasonable to expect improvements in the future? With progress in materials and graphene field-effect transistors (GFETs), it is important to consider RF/MW/millimeter- wave (MMW) circuit applications, where GFETs are becoming disruptive. The upcoming availability of macroscale (30-in scale) of graphene materials and wide bandgap graphene heterostructures could open new RF front-end electronics from GFETs to RFICs on flexible medium, ultralow-power and high-dynamic range RFICs, and macroscale RF to active antennas. The replacement of existing RF devices is perhaps a potentially suicidal survival strategy for two-dimensional crystal semiconductors such as graphene and chalcogenides. Do we instead need to look at other forms of RF devices to survive the long and difficult competition in this arena?

Other Panels of potential interest to IMS participants

Fabless design: got any problem with that?

Monday, 2 June 2014    Noon – 1:30 PM