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Wagdy Awarded $30,000 NSF Grant

Portrait of Mahmoud F. WagdyMahmoud F. Wagdy, professor of electrical engineering in CSULB’s College of Engineering, has received a $30,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for a project titled "U.S.-Egypt Cooperative Research: A Novel Flash Fast-Locking Wide-Band Digital Phase-Locked Loop." The grant is payable over two years from the U.S.-Egypt Joint Science and Technology Fund.

The research will investigate fast-locking digital phase-locked loops, devices increasingly necessary for more dependability and efficiency in applications such as cellular phones, satellite-positioning systems (GPS), spread-spectrum communications, clock/data recovery circuits, W-LAN and Bluetooth, which employ signals in the radio frequency range that are measured in gigahertz.

The use of radio frequencies in many applications requires high speed and fine tuning to “lock” the signal. Phase-locked loops (PLLs) adapt their output electrical signal to sudden changes in the input signal, so that both signals have the same frequency. Conventional PLLs take a relatively long time to adapt, thus the lock time is slow (micro-seconds).

Wagdy’s research of a novel fast-locking digital PLL (DPLL) employs a flash algorithm similar to the one employed in flash analog-to-digital converters. The new DPLL achieves locking in two stages: a novel coarse-tuning stage employing frequency comparators and a flash algorithm, followed by a fine-tuning stage. The new technique will significantly shorten the lock time of the DPLL to the nano-second range, which renders it suitable for strategic applications that use signals in the gigahertz frequency range and require very fast frequency switching. The knowledge gained from this research will benefit science and technology in both the private and public sector.

Joining Wagdy in his project are CSULB M.S. thesis student Carol Kulzer as well as four other M.S. project students. Additionally, an Egyptian team, headed by Professor Hamed A. El-Simary of the Electronics Research Institute in Cairo, will provide radio frequency expertise and specialized software and hardware for use in the research. The Egyptian team is also funded with $30,000 via the U.S.-Egypt Joint Fund; thus the overall project funding is $60,000.

“It’s a great feeling to win such a highly competitive NSF award and to perform research with high intellectual merit and broad impact involving international collaboration,” Wagdy said.   

The U.S.-Egypt Joint Science and Technology Fund (Joint Fund) was established under the U.S.-Egypt Science and Technology Cooperative Agreement first signed in 1995, and then renewed in 2001 by the United States and the Arab Republic of Egypt. The main goals of the Joint Fund are to strengthen the scientific and technological capabilities of both countries, broaden and expand relations between the scientific and technical communities, and promote scientific and technological cooperation in areas of mutual benefit for peaceful purposes.