Wireless-systems expert Venkatesh wins fellowship to develop technology with a humanitarian impact

Thursday, Sep 16, 2021
by Scott Lyon

Postdoctoral researcher Suresh Venkatesh has been awarded a Mistletoe Research Fellowship, granting him unrestricted funding and participation in a startup collaboration program that encourages development of products with social and humanitarian impact.

Venkatesh is an expert in designing the hardware behind wireless communication, sensing and imaging systems. Last year, with his adviser Kaushik Sengupta, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, Venkatesh published a paper in Nature Electronics detailing a re-programmable metasurface that enables short-range, data-rich communication in the terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Sengupta said the terahertz band has long been seen as valuable for next-generation applications, especially as demand for autonomous vehicles and augmented reality increases. But terahertz frequencies, which can transmit more information than other radio waves, work best with a clear line of sight. Researchers have struggled to program chips that accommodate this need while meeting the fast-paced, dynamic conditions of operation. Venkatesh has focused on the intersection of electromagnetics and integrated circuits, advancing autonomous end-to-end systems.

His Mistletoe fellowship, awarded by the Momental Foundation, gives him the opportunity to expand on that work. Venkatesh believes our society stands at an inflection point in wireless systems. Engineers must breakthrough the limits of traditional techniques and work toward reconfigurable, multi-functional devices that are robust, energy efficient, cheap to make and widely accessible. His other work has focused on improving network security at the physical level and designing imaging systems for a range of security and biomedical applications.

Venkatesh joined Sengupta's lab in 2018 after completing his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of Utah, where he won his department's outstanding dissertation award. Since joining Princeton, he has also volunteered through the University’s Prison Teaching Initiative, an engaged scholarship outreach program.