Date of Award

Spring 2017

Project Type


Program or Major

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Nicholas Kirsch

Second Advisor

Thomas Miller

Third Advisor

Michael Carter


The scarcity of spectral resources in wireless communications, due to a fixed frequency allocation policy, is a strong limitation to the increasing demand for higher data rates. One solution is to use underutilized spectrum. Cognitive Radio (CR) technologies identify transmission opportunities in unused channels and avoid interfering with primary users. The key enabling technology is the Spectrum Sensing (SS). Different SS techniques exist, but techniques that do not require knowledge of the signals (non-coherent) are preferred. Noise estimation plays an essential role in enhancing the performance of non-coherent spectrum sensors such as energy detectors. In this thesis, we present an energy detector based on the behavior of Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) towards vacant channels (noise-dominant). The energy trend from the EMD processed signal is used to determine the occupancy of a given band of interest. The performance of the proposed EMD-based detector is evaluated for different noise levels and sample sizes. Further, a comparison is carried out with conventional spectrum sensing techniques to validate the efficacy of the proposed detector and the results revealed that it outperforms the other sensing methods.