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School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

Next generation of antenna research secured with £1.2m grant

Queen Mary University of London has secured funding of £1.2m to research the next generation of antennas required for mobile communications.


Antenna Measurement Laboratory at Queen Mary University

The grant, from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will help to form the TERRA project (Thz antEnna fabRication and measuRement fAcilities) based in Queen Mary’s Antenna Measurement Laboratory in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).

As the global demand for bandwidth increases, driven by wireless technologies like 5G and the Internet of Things, exploiting the large bandwidths offered by terahertz (THz) operating frequencies will provide a solution.

TERRA aims to meet the technical challenges posed by this demand by offering UK academia and industry a unique facility to fabricate and fully test the next generation of THz antennas and devices, which will play an important role in future generations of mobile communications.

The grant announcement also coincides with the 50th anniversary of Queen Mary’s Antennas and Electromagnetics Research Group.

A world-class facility

Project lead Professor Yang Hao, from Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Sciences, said: “TERRA will be a truly world-class facility at Queen Mary supported by an internationally renowned team, in addition to the already comprehensive microwave and THz test facilities in our Antenna Measurement Laboratory.”

He added: “EPSRC has been very supportive of our research on the study of antennas and electromagnetics and this announcement is a great way to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of our antenna group.”  

The Queen Mary antenna group plans to register TERRA as a Small Research Facility (SRF). This will allow academic users to access the facilities via EPSRC funding and will establish it as a focal point for enhanced engagement with the industry.

The group will collaborate with industrial partners including QinetiQ, Catapult, DSTL, NPL, Leonardo, ESA, Huawei and Airbus as well as the small medium enterprises they support.

Professor Clive Parini, also from EECS, said: “The emergence of new technologies such as 5G and future generations of wireless communications means that UK industry needs facilities such as TERRA to support this important sector of the UK economy. TERRA will provide vital training to a new generation of engineers needed to be skilled in the technologies of tomorrow, not the past. UK Industry will need these new skills, both to survive and increase productivity post-Brexit.”

Important for the economy

TERRA will also encourage collaboration from researchers at Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science and School of Physics and Astronomy to study research areas including additive manufacturing and understanding the physical-chemical properties of the universe. 

Dr Flynn Castles, a newly appointed lecturer from EECS, said: “A large benefit to the academic team will be the increase in scientific research, which will be accelerated through the proposed interdisciplinary collaborations. Staff exchange between industry and Queen Mary will also result in knowledge share and foster a culture of working across the traditional academic-industrial boundaries to benefit both parties.”

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