The initial thought of doing my internship in DSO, a well-known research company, evoked feelings of excitement and nervousness. But this was soon dispelled by the warm greetings received from the staff who organised an enjoyable orientation for us. This orientation not only introduced us to other IA students, but also sparked the bloom of friendship between us.
In the Applied Physics Lab that I was posted to, the working environment was like a family working hand in hand, and everyone was always more than willing to share their knowledge and provide help. Their passion for their work can be deeply felt and this evoked my own passion in the field of research. This is also largely attributed to my supervisor, who placed great trust in me. Despite her tight schedule, she would always try to take time to share with me her personal experience.
These 6 memorable months spent in DSO has made me realise that this is the place I would want to work in. I felt that the company will provide me the opportunity to learn and develop both my technical and interpersonal skills. Hence, after my graduation, I chose a career with DSO.
Currently, I am working in the Advanced Communications Lab. Although I have only been working for a few months, both my department and supervisor have provided me ample learning opportunities. I greatly appreciate the help and understanding from my supervisors and other colleagues in DSO. I’d encourage other undergraduates/graduates to join this big DSO family, which will provide an eye-opening experience.
Lee Wen-Hao, John
During the short period of time that I spent interning at DSO, I learnt a little about radars and a little bit more about the different types of radars. Prior to my internship, I had always associated radars with the rotating antennas at the airport or on ships. Being introduced to Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) opened my eyes to the other applications of radar, and reminded me that novel applications may exist for familiar technology (although SAR is not exactly novel).
For the signal processing part of the project, I learnt about how the SAR works, and also how the different parameters affect the performance of the SAR and thus the resultant image. With each concept that I learnt, I was challenged to program it in Octave, which either cemented my understanding of the concept, or highlighted areas that I had not fully understood. Running simulations also allowed me to take a 'trial and error' approach to learning, seeing how different parameters affect the "signal".
Some of the concepts that I was introduced to during the internship include the representation of waves in its exponential form, the frequency domain of signals (through the application of Fourier transformation), frequency modulation, convolution, matched filtering, windowing and de-chirping, amongst other concepts.
I also learnt about the theory behind how radar works, and the different parameters that affect the performance of the radar (i.e. pulse length affects range resolution and blind range, PRF affects unambiguous range, increasing bandwidth to increase resolution, etc). Concepts like the decibel scale of expressing quantities also took some time getting used to, and it would be a useful foundation for the future.
Many of these concepts were learnt through interactions with the mentors, as well as through reading the materials they provided. I highly value the opportunities that I had to ask the mentors questions, and really appreciate their time and patience to explain concepts to me. At the pre-university stage, I feel that much of the material on the topic presumes certain foundational knowledge, which made it difficult to gain a foothold on the subject.
On the hardware side of the internship, I was exposed to numerous components and their functions as well as their limitations. I was introduced to components like mixers, amplifiers, directional couplers, circulators, and filters. The hardware side of the internship allowed me to appreciate that real physical set-ups often present themselves with limitations and unforeseen issues that need to be worked around.
Through the internship, I was also exposed to the general design of radar systems, and simulated the design of a simple radar set-up. The exercise allowed me to consolidate what I had learned about different components, evaluate them for their different capabilities, and try to work around their limitations. Through the exercise, I have gained an appreciation for RF circuits, and understand some of the challenges of working with RF.
During the internship, I was also presented with the opportunity to see trials being conducted, which allowed me to see a different aspect of the work that is done here, and witness ideas and concepts being turned into reality.
The internship gave me a platform to interact with some of the engineers (usually during lunches), and gave me valuable insights into the nature of the work here at DSO. Listening to their opinions and concerns allowed me to understand the joys and challenges that they face on the job. This allowed me to get a better understanding of the job, complementing what is presented in scholarship "prospectus".