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IOTA project

Development of IoT Dual Band Transmitters for Agriculture (IOTA)

By 2025, the Internet of Things (IoT) connections will reach 100 billion and have more than $11 trillion impact on world economies [1]. The Asia Pacific region captured around 58.3% of the IoT revenue in 2014 [2]. IoT has an incredibly wide range of applications such as agriculture, environmental monitoring, e-health, intelligent transportation systems, military, and industrial plant monitoring [1]. In this project, we propose to develop a dual-band and low-power system on a chip (SoC: System-on-chip) transceiver for IoT applications. Our initial target of applications is environmental monitoring for agriculture, which will be used to derive system specifications for our SoC developments. We will access the needs of IoT devices for sensing prohibited chemicals used in plants, ensuring food safety and traceability, and monitoring water conditions in agricultural applications [3]. We will then develop an architecture of a SoC transceiver and define individual functional blocks and their requirements. Combining the expertise of Professor Xuan-Tu Tran and his team at Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU) in digital and mixed-signal design and Professor Anh-Vu Pham his team at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis, USA) in RF circuits, we will design and develop a number of functional blocks or semiconductor intellectual property cores (IP cores) using computer-aided-design (CAD) tools with design kits from Silicon foundries. In particular, we will design, perform layout and arrange for the fabrication of an energy-efficient power amplifier in a Si Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) process. The energy-efficient power amplifier chip will be tested at the Davis Millimeter Wave Research Center of UC Davis, a leader in high frequency research.  This research will result in a number of IP cores that will be used to build IoT SoC transceivers in future projects. VNU will start to have a number of IP cores that can be used in a number of applications. The experimental results of the energy-efficient power amplifier can be used for IEEE conference and journal publications.  Students will be trained with latest semiconductor processes, state-of-the-art measurement equipment and the most innovative circuit designs. This project will establish a foundation for our SoC development efforts and will build a large number of IP cores that Vietnam can deploy in commercialization. An IoT SoC is also one of the key products of Vietnam in the national plan of science and technology toward 2020 (integrated circuits are one of these products).

Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU) has recently established and built a foundation for integrated circuit (ICs) design research and has made impressive progress (Vietnam Talent Award 2015). The next emerging systems and applications for IC developments are SoC transceivers or smart tiny devices that can sense, compute and communicate for the Internet of Things [4, 5]. SoC transceivers are complex systems that include digital cores, power management circuits and RF front-ends. There are a large number of circuits under the three circuit categories of a SoC transceiver.  This project will assist VNU to collaborate with UC Davis in order to establish new research and expertise in the development of radio frequency and mixed-signal IP cores. The long-term goal of this project is to prepare and position VNU for the development of fully integrated SoC transceivers. Building SoC transceivers are challenging in university environments, even in industrialized countries and require a team of experts.  Using this project, we lay a foundation so that VNU will be able to design SoC transceivers and will probably be the first university in Vietnam and among a few in the region to have such capabilities. Strategically, the agriculture application fits well with Vietnam and our IoT devices will help to advance and increase Vietnam agriculture productivity and to ensure food safety.  We will focus on the development of IoT devices that can sense prohibited chemicals used in plants and foods, ensure food safety and traceability, increase productivity in growing and harvesting, and monitor environments. 

When a large number of IoT devices are placed in an agricultural field to monitor temperature, humidity and to sense chemicals, etc, they must have extremely low power consumption to last for months and be able to connect with WiFi and/or 3G/4G wireless networks. Power amplifiers of a SoC transceiver consume a large of amount of energy and determine a communication distance to a wireless hub.  In this project, we propose to develop an ultra-low power consumption or an ultra-high efficiency dual-band power amplifier for IoT applications.  We will develop and combine novel digital calibration and adaptive techniques and high efficiency power amplifier architectures to increase system efficiency beyond the state-of-the-art number reported in literature. At the same time, we must achieve high efficiency for dual band communications to connect to WiFi or cellular networks.  Currently, high efficiency and dual-band power amplifiers for IoT applications are a new area.  In particular, we will develop innovative waveform shaping techniques to minimize power dissipation.  At the same time, we will incorporate digital calibration and adaptive techniques to maintain the power amplifier linearity. To the best of our knowledge, this direction of research is novel and has not been explored for IoT dual—band power amplifiers.  Reducing power consumption and increasing communication distance will allow IoT devices to effectively monitor and increase agricultural productivity. In addition, our research lays the foundation for future SoC transceiver developments. Developing IoT SoC transceivers is itself challenging and innovative research in Vietnam and at the international level.

Experimental results:

Key members:

  1. Xuan-Tu Tran, Principal Investigator
  2. Anh Vu Pham, Co-PI
  3. Duy-Hieu Bui
  4. Nam-Khanh Dang
  5. Kiem-Hung Nguyen
  6. Minh-Trien Pham
  7. Viet-Huong Pham
  8. Duy-Anh Nguyen
  9. Duc-Tho Mai
  10. Van-Nam Dinh


  • Nguyen, Duy P. and Tran, Xuan Tu and Nguyen, Nguyen L. K. and Nguyen, Tan Phat and Pham, Anh Vu (2019) High Gain High Efficiency Doherty Amplifiers with Optimized Driver Stages. In: 2019 62nd IEEE International Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems (MWSCAS), 4-7 August 2019, Dallas, Texas, USA.
  • Nguyen, Duy P. and Tran, Xuan Tu and Nguyen, Nguyen L. K. and Nguyen, Tan Phat and Pham, Anh Vu (2019) A Wideband High Efficiency Ka-Band MMIC Power Amplifier for 5G Wireless Communications. In: 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS), 26-29 May 2019, Sapporo, Japan.
  • Li, Wenxun and Tang, Xiaohong and Yang, Yang and Tran, Xuan Tu and Bui, Duy Hieu (2019) A Dual Polarization SIW Slot Antenna Adopting TM340 And TM430 Modes in the X-band. In: 2019 IEEE Asia-Pacific Microwave Conference (APMC), 10-13 December 2019, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. (In Press)


[1] The Internet of Things: An Overview, HYPERLINK:, October 2015.
[2] Steven Norton, “Internet of Things Market to reach $1.7 Trillion by 2020: IDC,” The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2015.
[3] T. D. Cao, H. H. Hoang, H. X. Huynh, T. V. Pham, Q. Tran-Minh, The-Vu Tran, and Hong-Linh Truong, “IoT Services for Solving Critical Problems in Vietnam: A Research Landscape and Directions,” IEEE Internet Computing, Vol. 20, Issue 5, pp. 76-81, September 2016.
[4] P. P. Mercier, S. Bandyopadhyay, A. C. Lysaght, K. M. Stankovic, and A. P. Chandrankasan, “A Sub-nW 2.4 GHz Transmitter for Low Data-Rate Sensing Applications,” IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, Vol. 49, No. 7, July 2014.
[5] R. Want, B. N. Schilit, and S. Jenson, “Enabling the Internet of Things,” IEEE Computer, Vol. 48, Issue 1, pp. 28-35, January 2015.