Facility News

Here is some of the latest news of what has been happening at the UKRI National Millimetre Wave Measurement Facility.

Off

 Last week we had a wonderful impromtu visit and tour from the attendees of the first UK Space and Satellite Sandpit. The sandpit is aimed at developing new research proposals on metamaterials for space applications and is organised by Simon Pope from of the University of Sheffield. The visitors were from universities around the UK, and also from the Satellite Applications Catapult and Space Hub Yorkshire.

Image of the visitors form the first UK Space and Satellite Sandpit

Rawad Asfour a regular PhD student user of the national mmWave measurement facility, has published his research on chip antenna using data collected at our facility. Read the paper using the link below

Image of the experimental set up used for Rawad's paper

https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/24/2/321


In November our academic Eddie Ball and his RA Sumin went to IEEE CAMA in Genoa, Italy.

Image of Eddie and Sumim outside the IEEE CAMA
Image of Eddie presenting at IEEE CAMA 2023

In September we had 30 visitors for the launch of the YORAN project that is being run in the Electronic and Electrical Engineering department with the AMRC. We had a great time explaining how our facility and equipment worked.  

Image of the guests for the launch of the Yoran Project
Image of the guests for the launch of the Yoran Project

In August we did some more measurements for the University of Brest. We took near field and far field measurements on a 2 inch silicon carbide wafer. The photos show our setup which can probe the wafer to take measurements.

Sideqe setting up the measurements
The team setting up the measurements
image of set up for University of Brest measurements
The team setting up the measurements

In June We had a visit from Dr Gavin Cox from Global Invacom to measure a new antenna. 

Image of Global Invacom antenna measurement set up
Image of Gavin and Sideqe
Global invacom antenna set up

We had a successful visit from researchers at the University of Brest. They used the facility to measure their antennas on fabricated on the semiconductor 4H-SiC. The antennas were also fabricated in the cleanroom at the University of Sheffield.

image of the guests from the University of Brest
image of the guests from the University of Brest

Recently one of the PhD students using the National mmWave Measurement Facility as presented a poster at EuCap 2023! Tarek’s poster explained his resent work on a Direct Resonator Antenna with two dielectric layers and a bandwidth of 14 GHz to 30.9 GHz. He designed a customized holder specifically for aligning the Direct Resonator Antenna, which further enhances its performance.

The measurement presented in his poster were taken at the National mmWave Measurement Facility.

The lab provided an ideal environment to conduct my research, and the support I received from the staff greatly contributed to my success. Thanks to the high-quality equipment and expert guidance of Steve Marsden, I was able to conduct precise measurements and collect valuable data.

Tarek Abdou PhD student

Image of Tarek's poster at EuCap

This month a paper by our academic lead, Eddie Ball, published a paper which references the facility. The article describes a bespoke and low-cost design of portable channel sounder for 28 GHz band portable propagation measurement system. The close to the ground system was tested for path loss both indoors and outdoors and showed very few strong reflections with delays exceeding 33 ns. This system could be very useful for mobile device-to-device communications.

You can read the paper in IEEE here.

Image of circuit board

In January the UKRI National mmWave Measurement Facility had its open day and Networking event. It was a great day and thank you to all the visitors who joined us. We had a total of 56 Guests from various companies and universities around the country, including Cambridge and Edinburgh.

We hope you had a good day, and we especially want to thank Prof. Jon Willmott and his research group for giving tours of their lab and explaining how they can print mmWave planar antennas on their Optimec printer. This attracted a lot of interest.

There was also exciting news from Prof. Tim O’Farrell as he announced he had just gained funding for a new 6G sub-THz SDR measurement facility in Sheffield.

I had a lot of interesting conversations with attendees and it is clear that the wider research and commercial community is becoming increasingly active in mmWave systems

Eddie Ball (Academic Lead for EPSRC National mmWave Measurement Facility)

Attendees were very interested in what they saw and several asked if we would be running the event again next year

Steve Marsden (Technician for EPSRC National mmWave Measurement Facility)


In January there has been some exciting news released about measurements take at the National mmWave Measurement Facility. Some printed antennas designed and printed at the University of Sheffield and measured in our facility, have shown performance that matches those produced using conventional manufacturing techniques. You can read more about this in the University of Sheffield's Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering news page linked below.


Networking and Open day!

We are having a Networking and open day on Friday 20th January 2023!

This is a networking event for people working in the area of millimetre antennas, circuits and systems. You can tour the facility and network with academics, researchers and companies working in the mmWave area. There will also be talks from Innovate UK, DASA and other key research funders to explain how you can apply for funding to support your activities. 

You can register for the event on eventbrite here

Please can fill out the form below with your dietary requirements and areas of interest, this will help us make sure you get the most out of the day.

National mmWave Measurement Facility Networking and Open day form

You are welcome to bring along a poster or something to display to help explain and advertise your work if you wish to.

We hope you can make it to our open day, if you have any questions please contact the facility.


In Novemeber the National mmWave measurement facility was used by Eddie Ball & Sumin David Joseph to perform some initial measurements of three different GaAs mmWave integrated circuits at 73 GHz they have designed. The circuits were made by United Monolithic Semiconductors as part of a GaAs multi-project wafer. Initial lab tests of RF performance have shown good results. Probing used two MPI DC probe cards and our VNA with VDI WR15+ frequency extenders and 150 micron GSG PicoProbes. Circuits for VCOs and antenna array beam steering have been prototyped, with more testing to follow. The circuits are part of Eddie’s UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship in mmWave Transceivers.

Image of the measurement setups for 73GHz antenna
Image of 76 GHz antenna probed

In October Dr Stephen Henthorn has been using the facility in his research into metasurfaces, below is a quote from him and some images of his research.

I've been using the mmWave facility to measure metasurfaces at frequencies from 30 GHz to 100 GHz. Metasurfaces allow us to control how electromagnetic energy reflects off and transmits through surfaces by designing their structure, rather than relying on their chemistry. We can choose patterns of metal on a surface to produce the magnitude and phase response required at different frequencies, and in advanced forms we can get exotic effects like bending microwaves in unexpected directions, or breaking symmetry by letting waves through in one direction, but not the other. It's expected that metasurfaces in the mmWave range will have applications in 6G mobile communications, such as improving antennas and radio transmitter efficiency, and producing intelligent surfaces which can direct beams of energy to our phones. The facility and technicians have been very helpful, using the PNA-X Vector Network Analyser with VDI frequency extenders to measure reflectivity and transmission through the metasurfaces, and constructing test rigs to ensure repeatable and reliable measurements.

Dr Stephen Henthorn 

image of a metasurface
Image of metasurface magnified
mounted metasurface sample

In July we had a visit from the UTC Sheffield Physics class, it was great to meet them and explain what we do here at the National mmWave Measurement Facility.

Image of UTC students and mmWave staff
Image of UTC students and mmWave staff

This month we have a new user of the National mmWave facility, Mr Meshari Alanazi, we look forward to working with you.

I am a PhD student working on the efficient design of mmWave dielectric resonator antennas. The designed antennas operate at the 28 GHz, 40 GHz and 60 GHz frequency bands with excellent agreement between simulations and measurements using the mmWave facility.

Mr Meshari Alanazi

 

In June we had a visit from Dr Sergio Rodriguez-Albarran, the first ever user of the National mmWave Facility. It was great to see him on his graduation day.

I’m honoured to have been the first ever user of the cutting-edge National mmWave facilities in the University of Sheffield back in late 2019.

My project was about exploring tunable materials in dielectric resonant antennas (DRAs) at mm-Wave typical frequencies (24 -26 GHz) the resonators I studied were 3D-Printed in Polylactic Acid (PLA) and filled with graphene oxide gel, which, in presence of an incident biasing voltage achieved electronic tunability in the desired frequency range. The involvement of the innovative equipment was crucial in obtaining the frequency response, reflection coefficient and both 2D and 3D radiation patterns of all the antennas I designed constructed and characterised in my last chapters of the Thesis I presented to obtain my PhD degree in March 2020.

Dr. Sergio Rodriguez-Albarran 

Image of Sergio outside the Portobello building
Image of Sergio and Eddie in the mmWave Facility

In February we had a visit from Ming Yang and Ryan Fairclough from Arralis to test their antenna design on our NSI spherical measurement system.

Image of the front  of Arralis Antenna
Image of the users from Arralis
Image of the antenna from Arralis