Protecting Science: Roadmap for Coexistence Between Passive Scientific Systems and Wireless Communications

There is a rapid growth in the number of wireless devices and substantial advances in these devices and communications systems more broadly with recent and emerging technological development. At the same time, scientific progress in many disciplines relies on access to the electromagnetic spectrum including astronomy, planetary science, atmospheric and geospace sciences. The signals received at scientific instrumentation are often very weak, requiring receivers to be thousands to millions of times more sensitive than a typical communications receiver, accomplished with cryogenically cooled receivers. Similar to wireless communications, scientific instrumentation is undergoing rapid improvement due to technological development, with incredible discovery potential and requirements for broader bandwidths. This will describe the National Science Foundation’s investments in this area, including the Spectrum Innovation Initiative (SII). The SII funding program was designed to catalyze the fundamental research and development needed to address the challenges to coexistence between passive and active systems as it engages all Directorates at the Foundation, including passive and active areas of research interest. Neither active nor passive scientific systems have homogenous requirements, further complicating the challenge. The presentation will broadly summarize the requirements and present a roadmap towards coexistence via increased dynamic spectrum sharing along with techniques to mitigate, including robust receiver design, real-time excision techniques enabled by early digitization in the signal chain, and increased efficiency of wireless communications.