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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S010009/1
Title: THz Antenna Fabrication and Measurement Facilities (TERRA)
Principal Investigator: Hao, Professor Y
Other Investigators:
Castles, Dr F Parini, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Electronic Eng & Computer Science
Organisation: Queen Mary University of London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 December 2018 Ends: 01 March 2022 Value (£): 1,232,783
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Communications
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
10 Jul 2018 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel July 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This Strategic Equipment proposal aims to facilitate an integrated "digital" manufacturing and characterisation capability in the UK for a wide range of THz antennas and passive components, which, in turn, will accelerate the impact of our THz research and serve both S&T communities in the UK to align with the EPSRC priority area of "21st Century Products", especially for Metamaterials and Manufacturing with reduced materials pallet. We aim to achieve this by combining a state of the art millimetrewave spherical near-field antenna measurement system with a state-of-the-art sub-micron resolution 3D printer to provide rapid prototype fabrication and test of antennas and devices up to 500GHz. This will be installed within the already extensively equipped Antenna Measurement Laboratory (AML) at Queen Mary and will form the Thz antEnna fabRication and measuRement fAcilities (TERRA).

TERRA consists of three key items of equipment, firstly the NSI compact antenna multi-test system operating at frequencies up to 500 GHz, will be the first of its kind in the UK for THz antenna measurement and will serve to enhance our world-leading AML test facilities at RF/Microwave and THz frequencies. Secondly a pair of 140-220 GHz THz transmit/receive modules, which will fill the frequency band gap in our current Keysight vector network analyser (value £420k), giving us overall test capability from 10 MHz to 325 GHz (extendable to 500 GHz in the future). The final key component of TERRA is the Nanoscribe 3D laser lithography system that provides a fast and powerful platform for micro and nanofabrication, at the highest resolution commercially available with a writing area of up to (100 x 100)mm and 3mm height.

For future THz antennas, agile beam steering will be a frequent requirement (not least for 5G millimetrewave antennas) and the requested NSI system is the ONLY system that can characterise such antennas at the prototype stage prior to the expensive and time consuming packaging process. Such capability can rapidly reduce development time and cost-to-market of new millimetrewave antennas and so will be of major impact to UK universities and industry.

TERRA will be housed in the AML and the existing full-time Manager will administrate usage, supervision, advertising, future training and maintenance. To extract the maximum capability from TERRA, we will create a new full-time TSO (technical support officer Grade 4) post (supervised by the AML Manager). To maximise the external use of TERRA, we will register TERRA equipments as Small Research Facility (SRF) allowing academic users to incorporate hire costs into new research proposals. For industrial access, the priority will be given to our EPSRC collaborative partners, mainly QinetiQ, Catapult, DSTL, NPL, Leonardo, ESA, Huawei and Airbus as well as the SME's we support. QinetiQ have already offered an iCASE PhD studentship to TERRA to help fully exploit the capability offered by the facility. It is envisaged that by the end of year 2 there will be a (50/30/20)% split between QMUL, external RCUK funded academic partners and industry respectively.

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, the application of radio alone contributes in excess of £13 billion to UK GDP and supports more than 400,000 jobs. The changing nature of the science and technology base, e.g. materials by design, additive manufacturing and industry 4.0 etc. means that facilities accessible to UK industry and academia, such as 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.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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