Cambridge Project Advances Materials For Wireless Apps

A consortium of vendors and a British university are looking at nanotechnology that promises to improve the reception of mobile devices.

LONDON — Advance Nanotech Inc., a company that specializes in organizing finance and services for projects in nanotechnology, has partnered with Alps Electric Company Limited, Dow Corning Corporation and engineers at the University of Cambridge on research that promises improve the reception capacity of mobile devices.

The project, to be based at the Center for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE) at the University of Cambridge, England will explore a new class of materials with novel dielectric properties in the microwave range, suitable for applications in mobile phones and other wireless systems.

The partners say development of these materials will enable new wireless antenna technologies that substantially reduce the footprint required for multiple antenna systems, while simultaneously reducing background noise and increasing the capacity of mobile wireless systems.

The project, dubbed RANTED, will deliver proof-of-concept demonstrators after two years, and the development of components ready for market applications will begin after three years.

In addition to mobile phones and wireless devices, the materials being developed are expected to have applications in medical imaging, other types of antennas, filters, receivers and transmitters for microwave and terahertz systems as well as radar and satellite systems.

"The RANTED project is an excellent example of collaboration at work between industry leaders at the CAPE center," said Professor Bill Crossland. "Each of our partners brings a host of unparalleled expertise to the table: Alps Electric in optoelectronic components, Dow Corning in materials research, and Advance Nanotech in nanotechnology. This is one of many success stories to come." Dr. Peter Gammel, Senior Vice President, Electronics at Advance Nanotech (New York) noted that by 2009 mobile devices will be required to support a myriad of wireless frequencies and protocols, including 2, 2.5 and 3G telephony, Bluetooth , WiFi , ZigBee and DVB-H (mobile TV) in order to be competitive. “This poses a significant challenge to designers and developers of RF antennas and subsystems. The RANTED technology will demonstrate antennas which support all these applications in a compact footprint with improved performance."

CAPE is part of the Department of Engineering of the University of Cambridge and forms an integrated research facility with a staff of 20 academics, 70 post-doctoral researchers and 170 research students. It is part funded by Advance Nanotech, Alps Electric Company Limited, Dow Corning Corporation plc, and is designed to encourage research activities to proceed to development and exploitation in close collaboration with industry.

Over the past five years, numerous patents have been filed and ten spin-out companies have been formed from projects that began in the Electrical Division within the Department of Engineering of the University of Cambridge. Advance Nanotech is currently funding 21 portfolio companies in the electronics, biopharma, and materials science sectors. The firm provides services ranging from funding, to human capital, advice on IP issues and licensing and access to research equipment.

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