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Zoya Popovic


Zorana Popovic-University of Colorado, Boulder. USA

Zoya Popović received her Dipl. Ing. degree from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, in 1985, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Caltech, Pasadena, California, in 1986 and 1990, respectively. Her doctoral thesis was on large-scale quasi-optical microwave power combining. She joined the faculty of the University of Colorado in Boulder in August 1990, where she became a full professor in 1998. She was named Distinguished Professor in 2010 and Lockheed Martin Endowed Chair in 2017. She has developed five undergraduate and graduate electromagnetics and microwave laboratory courses and co-authored (with her late father) a textbook Introductory Electromagnetics. Her research interests include high-efficiency and linear microwave power amplifiers, low-loss broadband microwave and millimeter-wave circuits, medical applications of microwaves, active antenna arrays, radiometry, and wireless powering. She is a winner of two IEEE Microwave Prizes for best journal papers, the URSI Issac Koga Gold Medal, a Senior US Scientist Humboldt Research Award, and is a NSF White House Presidential Faculty Fellow. She was a Visiting Professor at the Technische Universitat Muenchen, Munich, Germany, in 2001 and 2003, and at Supaero (ISAE), Toulouse, in 2014. She has graduated 58 PhD students to date.



The research topic relates to improving sensitivity of room-temperature microwave and millimeter-wave detectors, with applications in radio-astronomy, direction finding, field sensing and quantum technologies. Related research is under way at Carlos III university in Prof. Luis Enrique Garcia Munoz’s group. Applications range from radio-telescope receivers for cosmic microwave background observations (including primordial gravitational waves), high-frequency field measurements, imaging, and quantum technology. The currently most sensitive phase and amplitude microwave receivers, used in radio-astronomy, operate cryogenically in order to eliminate thermal noise, and are thus quantum-noise limited. To eliminate the complexity and cost of cooling, two approaches will be investigated: (1) upconversion into the optical domain where sensitive detectors exist; and (2) using Rydberg atoms as direct microwave detectors. A specific design is planed for the first approach, using high-Q electrooptic resonators. The coupling of the RF can control the bandwidth, while the Q at the optical frequency should be kept high since it determines the sensitivity of detection. Our goal is to show that the equivalent up-conversion noise temperature can be significantly lower than room temperature resulting in ultra-sensitive receivers.