IEEE Military Communications Conference
28 October – 1 November 2024 // Washington, DC, USA
C5I Technologies for Military and Intelligence Operations Today and Tomorrow

Terahertz Communications, Sensing and Security

Scope and topics of the workshop:
The attainment of spectrum dominance beyond 5G, particularly in terahertz (0.1-10 THz) communications, has been identified as a crucial factor for national security. Additionally, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has recognized terahertz communications and sensing as one of the technologies that could have a bigger impact and importance than the Internet itself. With the massive bandwidth and sub-millimeter wavelengths, terahertz communications and sensing can enable new applications for next-generation wireless solutions.

The Terahertz (THz) band holds significant potential for enabling advanced military communication systems. This can be divided into three distinct categories -- 1) the potential for high-speed data rate links ranging from hundreds of gigabits per second (Gbps) to even terabits per second (Tbps), thanks to the availability of large bandwidth chunks. Specifically, implementing advanced terahertz-band communication technologies can significantly enhance the transmission of critical information, particularly in remote and high-stress locations. Added to high data rate capabilities, the band offers portability benefits due to the smaller size of the antenna array elements and components. 2) The THz band possesses unique propagation characteristics that make it capable of creating ultra-secure networks. High-speed data transmission links exhibit minimal over-the-air duration reducing their susceptibility to unauthorized interception; high level of propagation loss, especially for the links above the absorption peaks, could be exploited to create inherently secure communication channels and use of ultra-directional systems, could be leveraged to enable ultra-low probability of intercept and detection (PI/PD) communications. 3) The THz band also enables high-resolution sensing and imaging capabilities. The sub-millimeter to micrometer wavelength of THz signals offers the potential for precise and accurate radar imaging and localization systems, which could be vital for military operations. In addition to these aspects, sub-THz and THz waves possess a non-negligible amount of photon energy and show unique electromagnetic signatures in various materials that can be utilized for target classification. 

Nonetheless, several challenges need to be addressed to exploit the full potential of the terahertz band. Although the terahertz technology gap has been closing, with devices demonstrated to work across the terahertz band, significant scope exists for improvement. In addition, the very high spreading losses, as well as frequency-selective absorption losses, limit the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and link distance, significantly when the large bandwidth increases the total noise power. Further, the channel multipath profiles are highly dependent on the specific environment and antenna characteristics. The massive near-field of the large aperture of terahertz antennas can force terahertz communication systems to exist in the near-field, a previously unexplored regime of signal propagation for pre-6G communication systems. Additionally, the waveform distortions are significant due to the magnified impairments of devices at this frequency range. All this demands further advancement in device technology and a thorough understanding of how the signal is created in time (waveform engineering) and how the signal is propagated through space (wavefront engineering). In the sensing domain, the rise of joint communications and sensing necessitates system solutions that address the previously mentioned challenges in considering the ultra-broadband bandwidth.

The proposed workshop at MILCOM 2024 will serve as a unifying forum that will bring together interdisciplinary experts across terahertz device technologies, propagation, sensing, communications, and networking from academia, industry, and funding agencies.

The advancement of technology in the terahertz band is of paramount importance as it has the potential to elevate the standing of the United States as a global leader in tech innovation by rendering unmatched strategic dominance in the wireless sector. Additionally, the unparalleled possibilities offered by an enhanced secure network, coupled with the ability to sense and classify targets, could prove to be highly advantageous for the Department of Defense (DOD). The field of THz band technology is currently experiencing a remarkable surge in research and innovation. As this field rapidly transforms, with several nations approaching it, it's important to keep up with the latest advancements and developments. Further, the U.S. Congress, federal funding agencies, the White House, and regulatory authorities have realized that in this realm, the U.S. has ceded valuable ground to brutal competition from Asia (e.g., state-supported entities such as Huawei), and has drafted suitable legislation to counter this, such as the spectrum auction and supply chain bill in 2020. 

In addition, terahertz-band technology and its significance have been added to DARPA's agenda. Further, the Semiconductor Research Consortium (SRC) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) have identified the development of a new spectrum in communication and networking technology as one of the four essential components of the next Information Technology (I.T.) revolution. Many agencies are supporting multiple large-scale research initiatives in THz communications and sensing. Further, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Communications Society (IEEE COMSOC) has also recognized THz Communications as one of the nine communication technology trends to follow. 

In addition to an explosion in technical research, there has been a notable effort to license the band and support innovative work. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers experimental licenses for frequencies ranging from 95 GHz to 3 THz. Additionally, a total of 21.2 GHz of spectrum is available for use by unlicensed devices in the range of 0.1 to 0.3 THz. The IEEE 802.15.3d Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPAN) Terahertz Interest Group (IGTHz) was formed in 2008 to unify the standardization efforts for future communication systems in the THz band. In 2017, they released the first standard (IEEE 802.15.3d), and this has just been revised in 2024. Our group has actively contributed to both FCC and IEEE activities, as captured by the many public disclosures and recommendations. 

With the high level of importance of the terahertz band as well as the timeliness of the research and developmental work, we believe a workshop at MILCOM 2024 introducing the latest advancements across the broad realm, such as devices; antennas, and propagation, electromagnetic fields; wireless communications, and networking; inter-disciplinary areas of nanotechnologies; sensing, imaging and localization and material sciences, will serve as an excellent opportunity to increase the advancement, innovation further and encourage a collaborative atmosphere necessary for conquering this portion of the spectrum. Usually, these communities often remain disconnected and attend separate conferences. The scope of the workshop is expected to attract diverse participants with a broad range of expertise. Further, the presence of representatives from various funding agencies, defense industrial organizations, U.S. military agencies, and standardization groups at the workshop will only add to the expected outcomes from the workshop.

A short biography of the organizers
Dr. Josep M Jornet: Dr. Josep Miquel Jornet is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the director of the Ultrabroadband Nanonetworking Laboratory, and the Associate Director of the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things at Northeastern University. He received a Degree in Telecommunication Engineering and a Master of Science in Information and Communication Technologies from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain, in 2008. He received a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, in August 2013. Prof. Jornet is well known by peers as an internationally leading researcher in THz communications, having more than 250 publications in this precise field over the last ten years of research, which have been cited over 17,000 times (h-index of 60 as of April 2024). He has created and consistently maintains and teaches a whole-semester course on THz communications. He has delivered 22 tutorials at leading international conferences, such as IEEE ICC, Globecom, WCNC, VTC, MILCOM, and PIMRC. In addition, he has delivered more than 14 keynote speeches, over 80 research talks, and has participated in more than 25 panels on THz communications since 2016. He is an IEEE Fellow (Class of 2024) and currently an IEEE ComSoc Distinguished Lecturer (Class of 2022, extended until 2024). Notably, Prof. Jornet is the recipient of multiple awards, including the NSF CAREER Award in 2019, the 2022 IEEE ComSoc RCC Early Achievement Award, and the 2022 IEEE Wireless Communications Technical Committee Outstanding Young Researcher Award, all for his contributions to the field of THz communications, as well as five best paper awards. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Elsevier Nano Communication Networks journal and Editor for IEEE Transactions on Communications and Nature Scientific Reports. He has organized ten special issues on THz communications since 2014 and played a leadership role (e.g., General Chair and TPC Chair) in four international workshops on THz communications since 2019.

Dr. Arjun Singh: Dr. Arjun Singh has been an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Utica, NY, USA since January 2022. Before joining SUNY Polytechnic, he completed his Ph.D. from Northeastern University in December 2021. He is the recipient of the 2023 Dean's Excellence Award in teaching. His research interests are in enabling THz communications and sensing for
6G and beyond and antenna designs for CubeSat and IRS applications. In this field, he has published 1 book chapter, 7 journals, 20 conference papers, and one U.S. patent. He has been the finance chair of ACM NanoCom since 2022 and was the media chair of the IEEE RCC Special Interest Group on THz till 2023. He is also a TPC member of IEEE CCNC and chair for a special session on near-field THz and mmWave communications and sensing at EuCAP 2024. He was also the distinguished speaker for the IEEE Mohawk Valley technical seminar in December 2021, where he presented an in-depth tutorial on IRSs and their operating modes in THz applications.

Dr. Priyangshu Sen: Dr. Priyangshu Sen is an assistant professor in the department of engineering, at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA, in 2022. He worked as a wireless system development engineer at Amazon in the USA from 2022 to 2023. His current research interests include experimental and statistical characterization of terahertz communication channels and networks. He has authored 2 book chapters, 8 journal articles, and 10 conference papers in this field. He is serving as the chair for IEEE CCNC 2024. Additionally, he is a TPC member for IEEE ICC'24 - CRAIN Symposium, IEEE Globecom, and SAC THzComms, 2024.

Names of potential participants, such as program committee members and invited speakers (an indication that speakers accepted to participate is a plus):
Committee members:
Josep Jornet
Arjun Singh
Priyangshu Sen

Keynote Speakers (confirmed):
1. Ngwe Thawdar, Air Force Research Laboratory
2. Edward Knightly, Rice University

Technical Program Members and Potential Authors:
3. Mauro Ettorre,, Michigan State University
4. John Federici,, New Jersey Institute of Technology
5. Yasaman Ghasempour,, Princeton University
6. Hichem Guerboukha,, UM Kansas City
7. Zhangyu Guan,, University at Buffalo
8. Arjuna Madanayake,, Florida International University
9. Muriel Medard,, MIT
10. Kumar Vijay Mishra,, Army Research Laboratory
11. Daniel M. Mittleman,, Brown University
12. Shuai Nie,, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
13. Carey Rappaport,, Northeastern University
14. John O’Hara,, Oklahoma State University
15. Theodore Rappaport,, NYU
16. Gabriel Rebeiz,, UCSD
17. Dola Saha,, University at Albany
18. Kaushik Sengupta,, Princeton University
19. Jose Siles,, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
20. Christina Chaccour,, Ericsson
21. William Deal,, Northrop Grumman
22. Justin Delva,, Lockheed Martin
23. Ozge Koymen,, Qualcomm
24. Roger Nichols,, Keysight

Duration of the workshop:
Full day
8:30-8:35 Welcome and Opening Statement
8:35-10:20 Keynote Speech I (including questions)
10:20-10:45 Networking break
10:45-12:00 Technical Session I: Terahertz Device Technologies and Propagation
12:00-1:30 Lunch and Networking Break
1:30-14:15 Keynote Speech II (including questions)
14:15-15:30 Technical Session II: Ultrabroadband Sensing, Communication and Networking
15:30-16:00 Networking Break
16:00-17:00 Discussion Panel involving academia, industry, regulation, and funding agencies.
17:00-17:05 Concluding Remarks

Workshop Organizers (names, affiliation, and contact information)
Josep Miquel Jornet
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Northeastern University

Arjun Singh
Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Priyangshu Sen
Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering
SUNY Polytechnic Institute