What we do

Combining the expertise from electrical engineering and theoretical physics we validate the technical applicability of a synchronization approach that relies on a mutual coupling between network nodes rather than directed entrainment.

Electrical engineers and theoretical physicists from the Dresden University of Technology, the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM Assid and the Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems work in close collaboration to develop the mathematical models, simulation tools, design protocols and circuit architectures to implement mutual synchronization in the presence of considerable time-delays and operating at very high frequencies.

What we set out to achieve

It is our goal to demonstrate within a BMBF funded validation program that mutual synchronization can be used to robustly synchronize large networks of spatially distributed electronic oscillators. Even at frequencies in the regime of many Gigahertz, the clocking nodes can be several hundreds of meters apart from their neighbors and support, e.g., precise localization, collective motion of autonomous traffic, mobile communication services and the operations in data-centers.

What we build on

Early work on mutual synchronization dates back to as late as the 1950’s, pursued by V. E. Benes, H. Inose, H. Fujisaki and M. B. Brilliant. In the following decades a large number of scientific papers have been published, many of those within the R&D activities at the Bell Telephone Labs, see e.g., M. Karnaugh, J. P. Moreland, A. Gersho and B. J. Karafin. It should be noted however, that already in 1665 C. Huygens observed, qualitatively described and understood the mutual synchronization of coupled clocks. In a letter to the Dutch Royal Society it is referred to as “an odd kind of sympathy.
In a 1985 review paper Lindsey et al. compare the plesiosynchronous, hierarchical and mutual synchronization concepts and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. Opposite to what has been found for hierarchical synchronization, i.e., entrainment of oscillators, their work concludes that for mutual synchronization the phase-noise properties scale favorably with growing system size. Based on our current knowledge, mutual synchronization has not yet been applied to large scale applications. Please refer to our research and development section or contact us for more detailed information.