Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS)

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
What the facility does

Research in radio science and technologies, integrated circuits and antennas over MHz-to-THz range of frequencies (simulation, prototyping, measurement).

Areas of expertise

CIARS is a world-class infrastructure, unique in Canada and one the most advanced in the world, to support innovative research and development activities in radio science, electromagnetic communication and sensing technologies over the widest possible range of frequencies (MHz to THz and beyond). CIARS offers a uniquely integrated environment (“one-stop shopping”) for computational simulation, rapid prototyping, and measurement under one roof. CIARS measurement facility consisting of six lab’s provides widest range of characterization capability including five near-field (sub-GHz to THz) systems, one far-field electromagnetic radiation setup, wide-band EMC/EMI characterization system, 4-port THz PNAX, millimeter-wave/THz signal generator/analyzer,  and an array of state-of-the-art THz-Photonics signal generation and characterization (spectrum analysis) setups. CIARS high precision multi-layer rapid prototying lab is equipped with the most advanced micron accuracy laser-based fabrication and bonding instruments. CIARS high performance computational facility includes massively parallel (multi-core and GPU-based) machines as well as all main stream high frequency electromagnetic simulation and CAD tools. 

Research services
  • Sub-GHz to THz near-field/far-field electromagnetic field measurements, antenna radiation measurements, microwave/millimeter-wave/THz imaging, wide-band EMC/RFI measurements and characterization;
  • RF/microwave and millimeter-wave/THz circuit characterization, signal generation, and signal analysis;
  • THz-photonics signal generation/characterization, spectrum analysis, and system prototyping;
  • Vehicular communication system test (road test);
  • High-precision multi-layer circuit/antenna prototype fabrication;
  • High frequency computational electromagnetic simulation, antenna/front-end-circuit/integrated system design/simulation/optimization including passive/active antenna system (element/array) design/fabrication/test, radio system/network design, simulation, and optimization;
  • Radar system design/analysis/test, radio-network (communication and sensing) simulation and optimization
Sectors of application
  • Automotive
  • Information and communication technologies and media

Specialized lab



Electromagnetic Radiation Lab (ERL)

  • Electromagnetic Anechoic Chamber (EMAC)
  •  Far-Field System (200MHz to 110GHz)
  •  13×13 feet Near-Field System (Planar/Cylindrical)-(200MHz to 110GHz)
  • Two Spherical Near-Field Systems (L-bracket mode/swing arm mode)-(200MHz to 110GHz)
  • 6×6 feet Granite/Steel Planar Near-Field System with integrated laser tracking (1GHz to 1.1THz)
  • EMC-EMI test (30MHz to 26GHz)

CIARS Electromagnetic Radiation Lab (ERL) is a multi-purpose electromagnetic field measurement facility for the widest-possible range of RF measurement frequency band. It covers from as low as 30 MHz, up to 1.1 THz.

RF/Microwave, Millimeter and Sub-Millimeter-Wave System Lab:

Agilent 4-port PNAX network analyzer (up to 50GHz)
    • OML Millimeter-Wave Module (up to 500GHz)
    • VDI Terahertz Module (up to 1.1THz)

Agilent PSG vector signal generator (up to 500GHz)

Agilent PSA-PXA spectrum/signal analyzer (up to 500GHz)

Agilent noise figure analyzer (up to 44GHz)

On-chip wafer probing (10MHz to 500GHz)

4-port PNAX-based network analysis, PSA spectrum/signal analysis, programmable signal
generator, noise figure characterization, on-chip/off-chip wafer probing, on-chip antenna
pattern measurement

Rapid Prototyping Lab (RPL):

  • LPKF ProtoMat S103, milling and drilling machine
  • LPKF ProtoLaser U3, laser circuit structuring
  • LPKF Contac RS, PCB Through-Hole Electroplating
  • LPKF MultiPress S, bench-top hydraulic press for multi-layer PCBs
  • LPKF ProtoPlace S, pick & place systems for surface mount technology
  • Fintech FINEPLACER lambda, flexible sub-micron die bonder
  • Fintech FINEPLACER micro hvr, high-volume rework station
  • TPT HB16 Wire Bonder

Laser-based planar circuit/antenna fabrication, high-precision circuit printing on flexible substrate, multi-layer circuit and planar antenna array
fabrication using milling machine, high-precision miniaturized circuit and micro-system assembly

THz-Photonics Lab:

THz time-domain spectroscopy, Sensing, and imaging setup
      • Spectra-Physics Tunable Ultrafast Laser Mai Tai Ti: Sapphire Laser
        (Femtosecond short pulse laser)
      • Toptica Photonics FemtoFiber FFS short pulse laser 
        (Femtosecond Short Pulse Laser)

 Continuous-Wave (CW) THz spectroscopy, sensing, and imaging setup
      • Tunable CW laser
      • Single frequency CW laser
      • Toptica photonics tunable CW laser
      • Fiber-coupled butterfly CW laser

 Photomixing system

 Quasi-optical backward-wave oscilator

 Infrared pump-probe system

 Optical wavemeter

 Golay cell detector

 Pyroelectric detector

 DSP digital lock-in amplifier

 Ocean Optics High Resolution Optical Spectrometer

 Biological sample preparation and storage facilities

Frequency range: GHz to THz
CW /pulse THz signal generation/characterization,  using in-house photo-mixing system, wide-band/narrow-band THz spectroscopy and imaging, quasi-optical BWO characterization setup

Vehicular Mobile Radio Network Lab and Outdoor Test Road Track:

  • Car-to-car/car-to-roadside radio network measurement
  • Realistic Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) simulation and test
  • Vehicular sensor network characterization

Simulation and testing of electronic toll plaza vehicle tracking/identification using advanced intelligent antenna/radio system 

High Performance Computational Facility:

  • Advanced multi-core parallel computing platform
  • All mainstream software packages
  • In-house computational software tools

Advanced multi-core parallel computing platform, all mainstream software, packages, in-house computational EM software tools

  • Blackberry
  • C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.
  • COM Dev International Ltd.
  • Bombardier
  • The Kapsch Group