Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni (CNIT) is a non-profit, university-generated consortium of 37 Italian universities. CNIT brings together member and partner staff and facilities to the aim of coordinating innovation in the field of telecommunications. CNIT aims at promoting and coordinating research in telecommunications; fostering partnerships among industries, operators, public and private research centres; providing training programs, stimulating initiatives of scientific research and divulgation. CNIT research topics are mobile communications, optical satellite and radio-links communications, digital signal processing, telecommunications networks, telematics, intelligent transport systems, remote sensing and radar, television, information theory, multimedia communications, telecommunications security, electromagnetic compatibility, optical and microwave components and circuits, electromagnetic diagnostic, environmental impact of telecom-munications systems, propagation and antennae.

The operating structure of CNIT is based on Research Units (RU) within the involved universities, and National Laboratories (NLs) operated directly by CNIT through its own research and administrative personnel.
The Photonic Networks&Technologies Nat’l Lab (PNTLab) by CNIT and the Communication group at the Institute of Communication, Information and Perception Technologies (TeCIP) of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSUP) jointly operate in Pisa with more than 140 people skilful in optical communications, microwave photonics, photonics for sensing, photonic integration and packaging. Their activity encompasses all research aspects of CNIT and SSSUP related to implementing the various types of very high speed communication networks with partial or total use of photonic technologies to perform various operations, such as transmission, amplification, signal processing, switching, and so on.

From 2009, the Digital & Microwave Photonics group led by Dr. Antonella Bogoni has begun studying photonics in application to microwave systems. In particular, the group has pioneered the concept of photonics-based radar, developed within the ERC funded project PHODIR and published on the international journal NATURE in 2014. They also demonstrated the use of photonics for coherent multiband radar prototypes and they already have tested their prototypes in real scenarios in collaboration with the Italian Navy and Italian radar companies. 

Role in SOLE:
CNIT will take care of the coordination.
Moreover CNIT will provide all the expertise on microwave photonics for radar systems, and it will design and develop the SOLE radar network and subsystems, (except the laser), and it will be responsible of the demonstrator set up and field trials

Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology SA (CSEM) – is an applied Research and Development Center involved in the design and development of micro- and miniaturized systems for industry and the creation of business based upon cutting edge technological innovation. CSEM is partly supported for specific activities by the Swiss government on a regular as well as project basis. CSEM’s staff comprises some 400 people, working in nine divisions, with matrix organization for the projects performed jointly.

The state-of-the-art CSEM research and development infrastructure is fully equipped to successfully achieve the SOLE project. It has two active hydrogen masers (from T4Science), RF spectrum analyzers and low-phase noise synthesizers up to 50 GHz (Keysight PXA instruments), Symmetricom phase noise and Allan deviation test set (T5120A), Keysight frequency counters, Lecroy sampling scope with 50GHz module, NoiseXT phase noise measurement bench with cross-correlation, temperature-stabilized fully-equipped optical laboratories with maser reference signal distribution and fiber optics processing equipment. Optical power meters, opto-mechanical mounts, generic optical components like lenses, waveplates, filters, mirrors etc. are also available. Optical sources characterization instruments like optical spectrum analyser, autocorrelator, fast photodiodes up to 50GHz and optical frequency combs are also available.

Role in SOLE:
CSEM will make available to SOLE its long expertise in low noise lasers and optical clocks and in engineering their optical devices.
Within SOLE CSEM will design and develop the optical oscillator that will serve as optical clock of the whole radar network. Moreover CSEM will collaborate with CNIT in the set up of the demonstrator.

The Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment (IREA) is part of the largest Italian public scientific and technological research institution, the National Research Council (CNR). IREA is committed to the “Engineering – ICT and technology for Energy and Transports” Department and participates in the activities of the “Earth System Science and Technologies for the Environment” Department. In addition, the Institute is involved in research projects in collaboration with the Department of “Social and Human Sciences - Cultural Heritage”.

The research activities respond to important needs of scientific and technological development of the country in the fields of remote sensing and electromagnetic monitoring of the environment aimed at territory surveillance and management, security and risk assessment, including the one resulting from exposure to electromagnetic fields. The activities focus on the study of methodologies and technologies for acquisition, processing, fusion and interpretation of images and data achieved through electromagnetic sensors operating on satellites, aircraft and in situ, and for dissemination of the extracted information. In addition, methodologies and technologies are developed for the realization of infrastructures for geospatial data and biomedical applications of electromagnetic fields.

Founded in 2001, IREA has become in few years one of the institutes of excellence of CNR. It can be regarded as a reference point within the research fields in which it operates. It is capable of exploiting its multi-disciplinary characteristics and to effectively interact with the scientific and socio-economic reality at a national and international level. The results of the research activities have given rise not only to a high scientific production, characterized by publications in the most prestigious journals in the fields of reference, but also to important initiatives of technological transfer and to the creation of a new company. IREA is a growing reality. The analysis of the last years records related to the research staff, the technical and administrative staff and the temporary staff, in fact, shows an increasing trend.

The research activities focus on 5 main topics: Microwave Remote Sensing, Optical Remote Sensing, Electromagnetic Diagnostics, Bioelectromagnetics, Geographic Information Systems. In addition, activities in the field of  public communication of science are also carried out.

Role in SOLE:
CNR-IREA will be responsible of the radar system architecture, and it will contribute with CNIT and CSEM to the definition of the system specifications. Moreover it will take care of the radar signal processing and of the development of the required signal processing software. It will participate to the testing of the demonstrator and to the SOLE field trials. Moreover they will analyse the field trial results to compare the SOLE system imaging capability with the feature of the current technologies.