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Kalle Spoof's doctoral research for Saab opened the door to the company's product development

In his doctoral thesis, Kalle Spoof developed beamforming of radar systems and now continues the work at the Saab Technology Center.
Kalle Spoof
Photo: Susanna Jaarmo

Kalle Spoof defended his doctoral thesis completed for the degree of Doctor of Science (Technology) on 15 December 2023 at Aalto University. The title of his thesis is Integrated True-Time-Delay Beamforming Receivers.

Electronic antenna beam modification, i.e. beamforming, can be widely utilised in radars, electronic defence systems and mobile communications. Kalle Spoof researched beamforming with radio receiver antenna arrays already in his master's thesis at Aalto University. In his thesis, he collaborated with the defence and security company Saab.

In his doctoral thesis in the field of micro- and nanoengineering, Spoof was able to delve deep into the subject. The work bore fruit and after successfully defending his thesis, Spoof continues to work on the integrated circuits at Saab Technology Center.

‘In my doctoral research, I utilised delays for adjusting antenna signals, a departure from the traditional use of phase shifts. Delays enable wideband beamforming, which increases the data transfer capacity of radio receivers. The key novelty value of the research is a more efficient delay implementation within microcircuits,’ Spoof says.

‘It was rewarding to design integrated circuits, and a particularly satisfying aspect of my research was to be able to verify their functionality through measurements.’

New design expertise for product development

Spoof's doctoral research is part of the Industrial doctoral school programme funded by Saab. The goal is to train at least 20 new PhD’s at Aalto University during ten years. Saab's total investment in the strategic corporate partner programme that began in 2017 is 23 million euros.

Saab Finland employs Industrial doctoral school students, and they are allowed to spend about four days of their weekly working time on their dissertation work in Aalto research groups. Rest of the time, the doctoral students work in other Saab projects and learn about the company's operating practices. The target completion time for doctoral dissertations is four years. 

‘Carrying out doctoral research as an employee of Saab gave my research a long-term basis and continuity, as I did not need to focus on acquiring funding during my research. As a Saab employee, I established great contacts with the in-house experts and learned about the mindset behind the company's products.’

Saab Technology Center, which began its operations in Tampere in 2018, focuses on the design of electronic defence equipment and radar systems. The rapidly growing Center now receives reinforcements in the form of an integrated circuit expertise that Kalle Spoof brings.

‘My doctoral thesis inspired Saab's interest in designing and developing microcircuits used in antenna arrays. We are now going to explore what opportunities this can offer for the company's products.’

Text: Marjukka Puolakka

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