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PHD in Miniaturised Cellulose Nanomaterial-based Antennas and Arrays Design and Performance Evaluation for Internet of Things applications.

   School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment

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  Dr C H See, Dr M Dorris, Dr D Sun, Prof H Yu  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The advances in wireless networks and electronics have led to the emergence of Wireless Sensor

networks (WSNs), which are considered to be one of the most important technologies that can

revolutionize healthcare systems. This technology has impacted the medical devices field,

replacing thousands of wires connected to traditional sensors as found in hospitals and providing

enhanced mobility. However, miniaturization is one of the key requirements for both wearable and

implantable devices.

Antenna is the key element in the wireless communication devices to transmit and receive radio

signals. It acts as an omnipresent critical component in smart phones, tablets, implantable wireless

biomedical devices, radio frequency identification systems, radars, etc. Compact antennas rely on

an EM wave resonance, and therefore typically have a size of more than one-tenth of the EM

wavelength. The limitation on antenna size miniaturization has made it very challenging to achieve

compact antennas and antenna arrays, particularly at very-high frequency (VHF, 30–300 MHz)

and ultra-high frequency (UHF, 0.3–3 GHz) with large wavelength, thus putting severe constraints

on implantable medical devices and Internet of things (IoT) transceivers.

Implantable medical devices are at the centre of much academic and technical research in

biomedical engineering, medicine and biology. Much of the work surrounding implantable

technology has been a global initiative. With the advancement of MEMS structures, numerous

devices are being designed and fabricated using silicon (Si) as the primary material. This is logical

since Si is a very well-known and reliable material, has excellent mechanical and electronic

properties, and has been used in many sensing applications. While Si will continue to be the

material of choice for short-term biomedical applications, considerable work is needed to select a

biocompatible device material suitable for long term implantation that is, at the same time, capable

of efficient sensing. The increased demand of biomedical devices to solve medical problems has

motivated the research in vivo antennas that would permit both interoperable communications

between sensors as well as data transfer into and out of the human body. As a result, a

biocompatible implantable antenna is a key component of an implantable device as many factors

such as antenna dimensions, operation bandwidth, radiation performance, and so on should be

considered within the overall framework of device requirements.

The aim of the proposed PhD research is to develop miniaturised antennas by using optimized

structures/material combinations for biomedical wireless sensing and communication applications.

By incorporating metamaterial structures, cellulose nanomaterial, conductive polymer and carbon

nanotubes, the electromagnetic constitutive parameters of the host substrate can be enhanced

and thus the size of the antenna reduced and the performances improved, i.e. impedance

bandwidth, radiation characteristics, etc. The work proposed herein is novel and can be

distinguished by its innovation to utilize new flexible, renewable, biodegradable materials as the

device materials. With these, well-tailored magnetic and electric properties offer great potential in

realizing compact antennas with adequate bandwidth and efficiency. The outcomes of this research will provide the necessary leap within biomedical and wireless communication research to satisfy the ever-growing demands for miniaturised and “green” transceivers. This project is a collaboration between two engineering subject areas, i.e. Material science and Electrical & Electronic Engineering within School of Engineering and the Built Environment (SEBE). It is suitable for applicants with interests and good background in electromagnetics and materials science and particularly in antenna and antenna arrays, metamaterial. Academic qualifications A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in Electronic and Electrical Engineering with a good fundamental knowledge of Electromagnetism, antenna, materials science and microwave theory. English language requirement IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online. Essential attributes: · Experience of fundamental antenna design and modelling · Competent in Electromagnetics Theory and Fields · Knowledge of material science, Microwave/millimetre wave transmission systems and devices, and wireless communication theory/principles · Good written and oral communication skills · Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project · Good time management Desirable attributes: This project is suitable for applicants with interests and good back ground in materials science, electromagnetic and electromagnetics design and particularly in electromagnetic wave propagation, antenna and antenna arrays for communications systems and energy harvesting systems.

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded position


C. M. Boutry, C.M. et al., “Towards Biodegradable Wireless Implants,” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 370, pp.2418-2432, 2012 M. Irimia-Vladu, “ Green electronics: biodegrable and biocompatible materials and devices for sustainable future,” Chem. Soc. Rev., vol.43, pp.588-610, 2014