Christopher T. Rodenbeck

Dr. Chris T. Rodenbeck

US Naval Research Laboratory
Talk Title: Harnessing Commercial Advances to Accelerate Aerospace Electronics S&T
at Baseband through Millimeter Wave






Chris Rodenbeck joined the US Naval Research Laboratory in January 2015 where he is heads the Advanced Concepts Group, currently focused on millimeter wave airborne radar applications.  In May 2015, Chris received the “Outstanding Young Engineer” Award of the 11,000-member IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society, and in May 2016 he was selected from > 100,000 engineering Alumni to receive Texas A&M’s the Outstanding Early Career Professional Achievement Award.

From 2004 to 2014, Chris led a multidisciplinary advanced/exploratory technology development program for radar and sensor applications at Sandia National Labs.  The principle goal of this program was to consolidate >800 discrete radar components into a handful of custom ICs.  The success of this work was twice the subject of Congressional testimony by Sandia’s President.  In addition, Chris led the development of a 50-W single-chip radar power amp with TriQuint Semiconductor.  This is the first PA to feature an integrated drain modulator, and it exhibits the fastest pulse modulation ever reported at power levels > 10 W.

Chris is responsible for many other radar innovations including a spatial power combining technique mitigating interference between co-located radar systems, detection-at-the-limit digitizers sensitive to the 1-μV level, a novel radiation-hardening-by-design technique applicable to commercial semiconductor processes, electro-optical imaging of vector leakage in radar modules, reliable plasma cleaning techniques for CMOS ICs, software-defined fusion of radar and telemetry signals, fully-electronic variable-bandwidth radar matched filters, electrically small antennas for radar responsive tags, and a technique for analyzing and eliminating transient oscillations in UWB transmitters.

Dr. Rodenbeck received an internal citation for “Excellence in Radar Technology Leadership” in 2011 and was the Principal Investigator for an R&D program receiving the prestigious 2012 NNSA Award of Excellence.  He received a corporate-wide Innovator Award in 2013. He is an Associate Editor of the Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (New York, NY, USA: Wiley), responsible for the Microwave Theory and Techniques subject area.

Chris has mentored numerous engineers in the radar electronics application area.  His published activities include the design of SOI-CMOS and GaAs RFICs, LTCC multichip modules, UWB radar transceivers, antennas from UHF through millimeter wave, microwave power combining, radiation effects in electronics, and semiconductor device modeling.  During the summers of 1998, 1999, and 2000, he was with TriQuint Semiconductor, Dallas, TX, as an Intern in the MMIC design group.  He has authored or coauthored 29 refereed journal papers, 6 patents (with 10 more currently in process), 18 conference papers, and 19 government reports.


This conference marks the 75th anniversary of NRL’s development of the first US airborne radar.  For decades to follow, long term government tech roadmaps were the prime drivers for progress in aerospace and RF electronics.  Today, at the dawn of 5G wireless, some could argue that consumer applications have displaced DoD’s leadership in the progress of microtechnology, and yet the need for competitive US investments in aerospace electronics is at least as strong today as ever.  This presentation will demonstrate how to harness the commercial technical ecosystem as an advanced S&T laboratory for exploring new techniques to optimize SWaP, for rapidly evaluating autonomous system of system capabilities and limitations, and for accelerating our discovery of basic design principles and sensor phenomenology.  Multiple case studies from baseband through millimeter wave will illustrate how exploiting commercial derivative gear and know how is helping point the way to the advanced aerospace systems of the future.