The Nonlinear and Complex Systems (NACS) Lab Facility

The Nonlinear and Complex Systems (NACS) Laboratory is a fully equipped electronics lab located in the ECE department at UAH. We generate cutting-edge research through electronic design, simulation, fabrication and measurement. Our facilities include state of the art tools, instrumentation, and resources that foster innovation, education and research in the fields of electronics, signal processing and dynamical systems. Some highlights of our facilities include:

I – Time domain measurement & characterization: The NACS Lab is outfitted with high-performance oscilloscopes that enable precise time-domain measurements from D.C. to 2.5GHz. Along with our waveform generators, this test equipment is vital in the analysis of waveforms, the characterization of signal integrity and the validation of circuit performance with exceptional accuracy in both time, amplitude and phase. An abbreviated list of in-house, time domain measurement and test equipment includes:

  • Tektronix MSO 64 Real-time Mixed Signal Oscilloscope 2.5GHz 25 GSa/S – 4 channels analog, 8 channels digital
  • Rigol DS6102 Digital Oscilloscope 1GHz 5GSa/S – 2 channels analog
  • 2 x Tcktronix TBS 2000 Series Digital Oscilloscope 100 MHz 1 GSa/S – 4 channels analog
  • 2 x Keysight DSOX1204G Digital Storage Oscilloscope 70MHz 2 GSa/S – includes function generator with 10MHz Bode plot capability – 4 channels analog

II – Frequency domain measurement & characterization: Our facility is capable of advanced frequency domain measurements up to 7.5GHz. This equipment includes spectrum analyzers as well as a vector network analyzer that allows researchers to characterize high-frequency signals, measure spectral properties (inferring nonlinear properties), and evaluate RF circuits. An abbreviated list of in-house, time domain measurement and test equipment includes:

  • Tektronix Real-time Spectrum Analyzer (RSA) 9kHz – 6.2GHz real time bandwidth 40MHz, +20dBm to -160 dBM measurement range
  • Siglent SVA 1075X Spectrum and Vector Network Analyzer 9kHz – 7.5GHz (Spectrum), 100kHz – 3.2 GHz (VNA), -161 dBc/Hz displayed average noise level (typ.), -98 dBc/Hz Phase Noise @ 10 kHz offset (1 GHz, Typ.), 1Hz resolution*
  • *Tektronix MSO 64 Real-time Mixed Signal Oscilloscope 2.5GHz 25 GSa/S – 4 channels with ~941uV noise floor at 1GHz

III – Electronic measurement & characterization: Our laboratory features electronic measurement and characterization tools including a top-of-the-line LCR meter and high-precision multi-meters. This equipment is renowned for exceptional precision and accuracy in regards to the measurement of electrical properties of passive electronic components, materials, and electronic devices. Our lab can characterize inductors, capacitors, resistors, materials, and sensors that enable next generation electronic systems. An abbreviated list of in-house, electronic measurement and test equipment includes:

· Keysight E4980AL LCR Meter 20Hz – 300kHz with 0.05% basic accuracy with notable repeatability, 100uV – 2Vrms, 1uA to 20mA test range

· Fluke 8846A 6-1/2 Digit Precision Multimeter 0.0024% D.C. voltage accuracy

IV – Temperature variation

V – Soldering & inspection station

VI – Rapid prototyping

VII – Additional Facility Capabilities

We primarily support basic (category 6.1) and applied (category 6.2) research (especially related to dynamical systems). Our research efforts often focus at the low technology readiness levels (TRLs) of TRL 1 through TRL 4, however our lab has supported the transition of research into developed products (higher TRLs, category 6.3, industrial products, etc.). We support many problems related to electronics, sensors, signals, and dynamics. Our efforts often take the form of funded collaboration with industry, government, and other universities. We work with students and experts from young teens to Ph.D. visiting scholars. Deliverables from our group often take the form of peer-reviewed journal/conference papers, electronic hardware (discrete and integrated), theoretical analysis, testing and measurement, simulations, electronic design guidance, signal processing algorithm development, literature reviews, educational materials, among other various designs, reports, and service.

Research Statement:
We build electronic circuits to study how systems facilitate the emergence of structure, complexity, computation, and entropy in their dynamics. We are especially interested in new dynamical behaviors that enable the engineered production of entropy where many resulting details offer rich mystery and deep connections to information theory, communication, security and artificial intellegence. By studying the intersection of nonlinear dynamics, complexity and electrical engineering, p…

Research Topics with Selected Papers & Projects:

  • Nonlinear Dynamics & Chaos
    [PRE 2017][AIP Chaos 2020][AIP Chaos 2016][PLOS One 2021] [AIP JAP 2021]
  • Electronics, Integrated Circuits, Microelectronics, Circuits & Systems [IEEE Access 2023][IET Electronics Letters 2022][IEEE SSCS Chipathon 2022][IEEE TCASII 2018][IET Electronics Letters 2014]
  • Sensors (Detection, Radar, Sonar, MEMs)
    [IET Electronics Letters 2022][IET Electronics Letters 2014][U.S. Patent 11,733,364][MDPI Sensors 2019][MDPI Remote Sensing 2021]
  • Pulse Induction Metal Detection
    [U.S. Patent 10,795,045][U.S. Patent 9,694,364][U.S. Patent 9,637,309]
  • Hardware Security
    [IEEE TVLSI 2020]

Facilities and capabilities:

Funding and collaborators:

People We Work With

Regular collaborators:
Dr. Phillip Bailey - Technical Staff at M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory
Dr. Jonathan Blakely - Research Physicist at U.S. Army CCDC AvMC
Dr. Seth Cohen - Research Physicist at SRE Kratos
Dr. Ned Corron - UAH (Visiting Scholar)
Dr. Robert Dean - Electrical Engineering Professor at Auburn University
Dr. Chandra Pappu - Electrical Engineering Professor at Union College (Hosted during Sabbatical 2022)
Dr. Edmon Perkins - Principal Investigator at Lab 2701
Dr. Shawn Pethel - Research Physicist U.S. Army CCDC AvMC

Current Research Assistants:

Undergraduates Master’s Ph.D.
Aidan Barton Micah Tseng
Austin Davis
Zach Helton
Sara Mog
Mattan Tseng

Graduated Research Assistants:

Undergraduates Master’s Ph.D.
Phillip Wilkerson (2021) Micah Tseng (2023) Dr. Tamseel Mahmood Syed (2023)
Tyler Norman (2021) William Watson (2022)
Doo ri (Dominic) Oh (2020)

Hardware Security Lab - UAH Center for Cybersecurity Research and Education (CCRE):

Departmental Resources: Our group belongs to UAH‘s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) which is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities such as the electromagnetic anechoic chamber, cybersecurity, RF and mixed-signal electronics and signal processing laboratories. Faculty experts guide research in cybersecurity, health monitoring, antennas, and radar systems for industrial, commercial and defense applications. Nonlinear Signal Processing Laboratory The Nonlinear Signal Processing Lab has electronic design, simulation and fabrication workstations equipped with measurement devices suitable for both time and frequency domain measurements up to the 3GHz range. Specifically relevant equipment includes software CAD tools (including MATLAB, Cadence, LTspice, etc.), power supplies, oscilloscopes, spectrometers, network analyzers, function generators, circuit board assembly equipment, etc. UAH also is home to a world-class near-field anechoic chamber that may be used for RF testing and measurement. Departmental Radar Facilites The radar and signal processing laboratory at UAH contains 12 Time Domain P410 Ultra-wideband (UWB) radio units. These units can be used for precise ranging, ad hoc network formation, radar sensing and signal processing. These units are used in our signal processing laboratory to provide students with real data for signal processing experiments and to give students an introduction to radar fundamentals. These units and our three Sivers K-band FMCW radar units are used by students for senior design projects and graduate research.