RPF 13/14 Electromagnetic properties of nanostructured materials

Project: Research project (funded)Internal pump-priming

Project Details


The aims of this project are: to enhance the capability of the Physical Layer Research Group in the manufacture and characterisation of the electromagnetic properties of materials fabricated using nano-particles in the frequency range up to 20 GHz; and to consider the potential uses of nano-particle films and bulk materials for radio-frequency and microwave materials/devices and applications.

A coaxial shielding effectiveness jig capable of charactersing planar samples from dc up to 20GHz has been developed along with, parameter extraction software and facilities for the fabrication of planar material samples using graphene and carbon nano-tubes.

Layman's description

The inclusion of nano-scale structures with materials has the potential to provide enhanced or customised electromagnetic properties. Applications include: shielding of sensitive systems from electromagnetic radiation (e.g. as widely used in the electronics and aerospace industries); the ability to allow some radio signals to pass whilst preventing others (e.g. privacy and security applications); and absorption electromagnetic radiation (e.g. preventing wind-farms from interfering with RADAR and TV transmissions). The aim of the project is to enhance the capability of the Physical layer research group in the production and characterisation of such materials. In particular the measurement of the electromagnetic properties of such materials at high frequencies is challenging.

Key findings

We have purchased a calibration kit capable of functioning to 20GHz for our Vector Network Analyser. We have designed and fabricated a coaxial shielding effectiveness jig capable of operating from dc up to 20GHz, on small (~43mm dia.) samples, suitable for determining the electromagnetic properties of planar material samples. The jig fabrication of the jig took longer than anticipated due to production delays in the mechanical workshops and the need to make modifications to the initial design to ensure adequate mechanical stability. Tests on initial samples with known properties have recently (June 2015) been completed (see progress report) and show that the jig operates though with some imperfections. We have purchased and commissioned a process oven and are about to begin the process of fabricating material samples containing nano particles. A further optimisation of the coaxial jig design is also planned. We have also carried out an extensive literature survey on material characterisation techniques included in the progress report (July 2015). We have also developed and validated software to help with material parameter extraction from various electromagnetic measurements ( the fundamental material parameters can seldom be directly measured at high frequencies). Follow on work in the use of nano-fabricated materials for drug delivery is ongoing within the physical layer group (CATMINT) and other University research groups. Follow on proposals for the fabrication of novel materials are in the planning stage.
Effective start/end date1/08/1331/07/15


  • Unknown


  • QC Physics
  • nano-technology
  • Electromagnetic properties
  • Electromagnetic Shielding
  • Electromagnetic Aborption
  • Electromagnetic metrology