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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R024707/1
Title: Millimetre wave measurement equipment
Principal Investigator: Langley, Professor RJ
Other Investigators:
Derrick, Professor J Reaney, Professor IM Ball, Mr E A
Rigelsford, Dr J Tan, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2018 Ends: 28 February 2019 Value (£): 1,047,252
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
06 Dec 2017 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel December 2017 (2) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Over the past 5 years there has been a massive explosion in the use of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. These are wirelessly connected devices requiring broadband internet connection. Numbers are forecast to reach 40 billion worldwide by 2020 as areas as diverse as the home, transport, healthcare, military and infrastructure experience increasing levels of embedded 'smart' functionality and user operability. The 'Internet of Things' (IoT) was recognised by Sir Mark Walport, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office for Science, as offering great opportunities for the UK economy, requiring increasing use of wireless communication methods such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, NFC, and other IoT standards. In areas such as mobile broadband uptake has driven the development of 3G/4G technologies and is growing at double digit rates. 68% of UK adults use mobile phone or portable computers to access the Internet and there are currently over 3 billion mobile-broadband subscriptions globally. Current mobile broadband operates at frequencies up to 6 GHz. However, there is a growing realisation that the spectrum below 6 GHz cannot support the huge data rates being demanded by future users and applications. The next step is to develop 5G technologies utilising very high frequencies, so called millimetre wave frequencies (mmwave) to give data rates compatible with future demand. Currently world licencing bodies such as ETSI and ITU have identified frequencies from 30 GHz to 90 GHz as most likely for this expansion in the spectrum.

Conventionally, mmwave technologies have not been used (or suitable) for mobile, low power, handheld products, instead its applications have been focused on fixed wireless and cellular backhaul infrastructure. This was due to costs and the fact that high frequency signals propagate over short distances - the latter will be overcome by adopting small local cells. However, low cost, power efficient and high performance mmwave transceivers will become vital, especially for use in consumer mobile devices - where the battery energy budget and 'Bill of Materials' costs are of prime importance. Critical components for millimetre wave systems include materials, antennas, devices such as transistors and amplifiers, circuits, components and filters. Such components require research and development to reduce costs and improve efficiency to sustain battery life. New low loss materials need to be developed for millimetre wave frequencies. The most efficient method to achieve low cost efficient designs is to integrate all the system components onto chips or wafers which can subsequently be produced in very high volume and at low cost.

Strategically the UK must develop wireless technologies to compete on the world stage and increase its competitiveness particularly in competition with the far east. Superfast 5G level Telecoms infrastructure is central to the Industrial Strategy Green Paper that the UK government have been championing and announced in ten pillars of combined strategy.

The requested equipment will be based at and supported by the University of Sheffield and provide a flagship measurement system for millimetre wave components. It will be accessible to all UK universities and industries. It provides for measurements on devices, components, antennas, circuits, materials and integrated systems. Uniquely for the UK, it provides a facility to test antennas on wafer which will be the technology used to produce low cost systems. The measurement system can be split into three components - the antenna measurement scanner; the vector network analyser which provides the signal transmission and reception; and a probe station which makes contact to the on-chip components.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk