Hypres, Inc., one of the leading innovators of supeconducting high-frequency technology, has delivered two Digital-RF receiver systems to the United States Department of Defense's (DoD's) Office of Naval Research (ONR). Based on superconducting technology, the systems will serve as test beds for evaluating the role of technology for military wireless communications applications, including for satellite and tactical communications systems, EW, SIGINT, and in secure software-defined-radio (SDR) systems. The ONR will locate the Digital-RF receiver system test beds within facilities at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and prime contractors as directed by ONR. Hypres has been working closely with SPAWAR on a number of contracts related to the continued development of Digital-RF technology.
Each receiver incorporates a lowpass single-chip receiver, a cryocooler with two temperature stages and appropriate cryopackaging, a temperature controller, interface amplifies, DC bias current source, data-acquisition hardware based on field-programmable-gate-array (FPGA) circuits, and a graphical user interface (GUI). Work on the two test bed systems was supported through an ONR Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase 3 contract valued at $650,000, with an exercised option of $75,000 to develop an improved analog-to-digital-converter (ADC) chip. As Richard Hitt, chief executive officer (CEO) of Hypres, explains: "Delivering the test bed systems is an outstanding achievement for our entire team and a key milestone for Hypres. The systems can efficiently evaluate the chip design upgrades we develop when configuring our receivers for customers' specific operating parameters." These systems feature an additional temperature-controlled stage to permit integration of a high-temperature superconductor analog filter with Hypres' low-temperature digital electronics.