EPSRC Platform Grant awarded

Posted on August 18, 2008

The Antennas Group at QMUL has been awarded a £1m EPSRC Platform Grant in Antennas for Healthcare and Imaging. Platform Grants are only awarded to groups with an internationally-leading reputation and a high international profile; furthermore, they can only be awarded to groups that have received significant and sustained funding from EPSRC in that field, so are a recognition of ability and consistency in excellence.

About the Grant

Antennas control, direct and filter electromagnetic waves and form a key component of the microwave wireless communications revolution . Future developments will climb the frequency spectrum to embrace millimetre-waves, where 60 GHz, for example, offers short-range communication with Gigabit bandwidths. Microwave wireless communications will move from the largely social voice/text media to a wide range of monitoring applications via sensor networks, and patient health telemetry/monitoring/control via on-body and in-body sensors and actuators will be a major user of this technology. Indeed, medical and healthcare application of microwaves for treatment and communication is rapidly becoming a major worldwide growth area. Electronic implants to aid patents on a permanent or temporary basis are also seeing major growth, with international companies investing massively in R&D. Coincident with this technology, there has been a massive increase in healthcare provision in the UK, combined with an associated revolution in how treatment is offered to the patient. The simplicity and utility of technologies, such as UWB, Bluetooth, GSM and 3G with voice, data, and streaming video, offers much to healthcare. In the field of imaging, short pulse microwave UWB offers non-ionising screening technology for cancer detection, whilst Terahertz (THz) radiation has enormous potential for a broad range of applications from health care to security, with spectroscopic materials analysis and atmospheric sensing of special scientific importance. It has already proven to be a valuable tool for applications including chemical spectroscopy (to detect biohazards and label-free sensing of genetic sequences), security imaging, non-destructive testing, cutaneous imaging and wireless communication at data rates exceeding 10 Gb/s. This grant aims to focus our antenna, on/body propagation and metamaterial expertise into these areas by deploying short to medium term PDRA effort on feasibility studies or proofs of concept, which, if successful, would lead to full proposals being submitted.