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Propagation channel modelling for near-ground and underground wireless sensor networks

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General information

Reference : UMR9007-JEALAH-001
Date of publication : Monday, February 10, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Shermila Mostarshedi
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

The recent growth of Internet of Things (IoT) associated with the development of the new generation of wireless communication networks (beyond 5G, local, body, underground, etc.) offers the everywhere deployment of the connected devices. These connected objects will be able to generate an extremely large quantity of data and open a new era for data science analysis. In all domains, the IoT and thus the wireless sensor networks (WSN) will constitute the keystone for the
sustainable management of tomorrow. The pervasive deployment of the sensor networks will become possible provided that a good energy efficiency of the network can be achieved. A key parameter to reach these objectives includes a more comprehensive knowledge on the physical layer of sensor networks. Consequently, a reliable prediction model for the electromagnetic wave propagation in the wireless sensor networks, especially in a complex scenario would be essential.
Recently great attention has been drawn to sensor networks in which antennas are located close to the ground or close to an interface between two media. In most applications the near-ground sensor network is supposed to collect information for which the proximity to the interface is required. A few application examples can be mentioned: Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS), Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), Wireless Body Area Networks (WBAN). An even more demanding case has been brought up by Wireless Underground Sensor Network (WUSN) where buried sensors are used to monitor different parameters. A few application examples can be mentioned: Pipeline monitoring, precision agriculture and health monitoring with in-body sensors.
This PhD proposal aims to contribute to the radio channel modelling in near-ground and underground sensor networks (WUSN) where the close environment of antennas, near or inside the ground, must be carefully taken into account. Otherwise, the inaccuracy of the model leads to erroneous estimation of the path loss, thus suboptimal network design and wasted energy [1]-[4].

Objectives of the PhD thesis:
This PhD work will be conducted in two parts: experimental and theoretical. The first aims to complete and verify in real conditions the accuracy of a theoretical model developed in a recent PhD work in ESYCOM Laboratory [5]-[6] for sensors located near the ground. The second part concerns the development of a new theoretical model dedicated to communication between buried sensors close to air-ground interface.

1. Experimental part:
In [5]-[6], a theoretical channel model was developed for two elementary dipoles located near a lossy interface. This deterministic model shows that potentially, under certain conditions defined by the model parameters, near-ground propagation has a lower attenuation and is therefore more
favourable than a conventional free-space propagation. From experimentation, the objective is to validate the theoretical propagation model presented in [5]-[6] in the context of near-ground
sensor networks. This validation includes two axes:
‒ Propose a channel model based on a simple path loss (propagation in the presence of a
lossy interface) combined with mask effects (local variability of the environment).
‒ Include antenna parameters in the proposed channel model to obtain a complete model dedicated to the design of near-ground sensor networks.

2. Theoretical part:
The second part of the thesis, to be conducted in parallel to the first part, concerns the extension of the theoretical model developed in [5]-[6] to buried sensors. This study is organised around two axes:
‒ Establish a theoretical model for wave propagation in a lossy medium between two buried sensors
‒ Establish a theoretical model for wave penetration into a lossy medium between an aboveground sensor and a buried one

References :
[1] S. Sangodoyin, S. Niranjayan, and A. F. Molisch, “A Measurement-Based Model for Outdoor Near-Ground Ultrawideband Channels,” IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 740–751, 2016.
[2] A. Hugine, H. I. Volos, J. Gaeddert, and R. M. Buehrer, “Measurement and characterization of the near-ground indoor ultra wideband channel,” IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference, 2006.
[3] A. R. Silva and M. C. Vuran, “Empirical Evaluation of Wireless Underground-to-Underground Communication in Wireless Underground Sensor Networks,” Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 231–244, 2009.
[4] F. Akyildiz and E. P. Stuntebeck, “Wireless underground sensor networks: Research challenges,” Ad Hoc Networks, vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 669–686, 2006.
[5] M. H. Bezerra Cardoso, M. H. B. Cardoso, S. Mostarshedi, G. Baudoin, and J.-M. Laheurte, “Analytical Expressions of Critical Distances for Near-Ground Propagation,” IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., vol. 66, no. 5, pp. 2482–2493, 2018.

Work Context

The ESYCOM Lab (Electronics, Communication systems and Microsystems Lab) has expertise in the engineering of communication systems, sensors and microsystems. These skills are combined in the Lab project around "Communicating devices and sensors for the city, the environment and the individual"

Director: Jean-Marc Laheurte, Professor, ESYCOM/UGE
Supervisor: Shermila Mostarshedi, Associate Professor, ESYCOM/UGE
Application procedure:
The application file should include CV, statement of purpose, recommendation letters and all
academic transcripts and may be addressed by email to Shermila Mostarshedi (

Constraints and risks

No risk. Low power microwave emission in experiments

Additional Information

This PhD offer is intended for the candidates having a Master's degree or equivalent. The following conditions are required:
– Solid knowledge in electromagnetics and applied mathematics
– Very high scientific rigour and strong theoretical abstraction
– Interest for experimentation
– Autonomy in computer programming

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