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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N010493/1
Title: SYnthesizing 3D METAmaterials for RF, microwave and THz applications (SYMETA)
Principal Investigator: Whittow, Professor WG
Other Investigators:
Stevens, Professor CJ Hao, Professor Y Vaidhyanathan, Professor B
Engstrom, Dr D Sambles, Professor Sir JR Conway, Professor P
Reaney, Professor IM Hibbins, Professor AP Shamonina, Professor E
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Filtronic Institute of Circuit Technology MBDA
MTG Research Ltd Radio Design Ltd Teledyne UK Ltd
Viper RF Ltd
Department: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2016 Ends: 28 February 2021 Value (£): 4,012,827
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant Materials Processing
RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Sep 2015 EPSRC Grand Challenge 3 - Engineering across Length Scales Announced
29 Jul 2015 Grand Challenges Prioritisation Meeting Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The outcomes of SYnthesizing 3D METAmaterials for RF, Microwave and THz Applications (SYMETA) have the potential for significant academic, economic, societal and environmental impacts. To achieve these outcomes SYMETA will bring together leading expertise in engineering, physics and materials science from five institutions: Loughborough University, University of Exeter, University of Sheffield, Oxford University and Queen Mary, University of London together with twelve industrial partners from a range of sectors including defence and electronics manufacture. The Grand Challenge will be led by Loughborough University.

SYMETA responds to Grand Challenge 3: Engineering across length scales, from atoms to applications. This Challenge area requires researchers to consider design across the scales for both products and systems looking at new approaches to bridge the meso-scale (intermediate-scale) gap and taking into consideration that many engineering systems are dynamic. SYMETA's grand vision is to deliver a palette of novel, multi-functional 3D metamaterials (synthetic composite materials with structure that exhibit properties not usually found in natural materials) using emerging additive manufacturing (AM), with the potential to support a single 'design-build' process. Our goal, to compile a palette of meta-atoms (the basic building blocks of metamaterials) and then to organise these inclusions systematically to give the desired bulk properties, opens up a plethora of new structures. This will not only improve existing applications but inspire new applications by breaking down barriers to innovation.

Introducing these novel structures into the complex world of electronic design will offer a radical new way of designing and manufacturing electronics. The metamaterials will be developed to give end-users the electromagnetic responses they require, for a wide range of communication, electronics, energy and defence applications. The meta-atoms comprising the metamaterial will be micro-scale, i.e. small in comparison to the wavelength of operation, and fabricated from a range of new and existing raw materials, including the incorporation of dielectric, metallic and magnetic components. They will facilitate complex multi-component systems, incorporating elements such as inductors, capacitors, and resistors through to transmission lines and matching circuits and filters, to be created in hybrid and multi system AM - reducing waste, cost and timescales.

The SYMETA project has three overarching research goals:

1. To synthesize a palette of 3D meta-atoms using suitable materials.

2. To construct designer-specified 3D arrangements of meta-atoms using process efficient AM to create metamaterials

3. To build demonstrators for applications at RF, microwave and THz frequency ranges.

Supplementing these research goals SYMETA will:

4. Build a cohort of new knowledge by bringing together multi-disciplinary expertise from a number of institutions and companies and share this knowledge across academic networks.

5. Engage industry, sector relevant professional bodies and the wider academic community to ensure that the potential of this research is recognised and realised. To translate and condense the exciting science to key messages and outcomes and to communicate these to the public to boost the public understanding of science.

The likely impacts of the SYMETA are manifold. It has the potential to transform manufacturing processes and to significantly shorten the time it takes for innovative new technologies to reach consumers whilst reducing waste and removing some of the more harmful processes associated with the manufacturing such as the use of harsh chemicals. This is transformation science, which could place the UK at the leading edge of engineering innovation stimulating economic growth and opening up huge potential for innovation in many sectors from consumer electronics through to defence and space.

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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk