New IET mm-wave and THz Engineering and Technology Group

27 August 2013
By Keri Allan
Satellite orbiting the earth

The new THz Group represents an area that cuts across several disciplines, as well as radar and satellite.

IET members from across three technical and professional networks (TPNs) have come together to create a new technology-focused group, with the aim of creating a joined-up community for engineers in this area.

The newly created Millimetre-wave and Terahertz Engineering and Technology Group is made up of members from the Electromagnetics, RF and Microwave technology and Antennas and Propagation TPN committees and represents an area that cuts across those disciplines, as well as radar and satellite.

Developed for and by members, the group aims to evolve into a joined-up community for engineers working in this area.

“In recent months three TPNs have expressed a strong interest in this area, so we came together to drive this activity – something that’s very novel for the IET. I think it’s all very inspirational – the first coming together of TPNs in this way,” says Nick Ridler, chairman of the IET RF and Microwave technology TPN and the man who first came up with the idea for this new group.

Technologies on the “cusp of taking off”

“All of us are involved in some of the IET’s TPNs and we became aware of a gap in the market around millimetre-wave (mm-wave) and terahertz (THz) engineering and technology and began discussing how the IET could penetrate this area, one that’s really on the cusp of taking off,” he adds. “There’s a lot of interest in THz with security, and mm-wave is getting a new lease of life with research into 5G – it’s now becoming a massive topic around next generation communications.

“Another burgeoning area for mm-wave is earth remote sensing,” continues Dr Robert Donnan a lecturer at the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary University London. “I’m currently involved in the European Space Agency (ESA) programme to develop next generation satellites – it’s a massively developing area.”

Not currently on a TPN committee, Rob was asked to join the new group because of his links between industry and academia.

“One of the things we all agree amongst us is that there needs to be a more effective understanding between technologists, industrialists and the degree of research that’s going on in the laboratories,” he explains.

Providing a great service to the engineering community

Nick believes that the IET will be providing a massive service to the engineering community by putting these kinds of knowledge dissemination and impact mechanisms in place.

“Organisations like the IET can really help as there’s no allegiance to any particular camp. Being a professional institution, it’s a generic platform. It can represent all interests and that’s important. We can represent academia, industry and the government labs, being an enabling mechanism for these bodies to come together without any partiality or bias,” he explains.

The group is still very new, but the organising committee has begun to have informal meetings to discuss setting up regular events such as colloquia and to see how it might evolve in the future. It has already begun to arrange it’s first event, entitled the IET Colloquium on Millimetre-wave and Terahertz Engineering and Technology.

Its first event

“This will take place on 5 March 2014 at the University of Liverpool,” says Professor Yi Huang, a member of the Electromagnetics TPN and part of the new group’s organising committee. “This will be a one-day, free event to encourage as many people as possible to come.

“We already have some well-known speakers lined up, and have just launched our call for papers, so please head to the event page for more information.”

The team is hoping that early events such as these will help establish the group and create a presence in the community. From there they will look into how they can develop further.

“There are all sorts of possibilities from online activities to webinars and possibly recording some presentations,” Nick notes. “These are all candidates for discussion by the TPN committees to get a feel for what people want to see moving forward. I think we’ll continuously be reviewing and monitoring how things are going and then adapt and evolve accordingly.”

The group’s organising committee would love to hear ideas and receive feedback from interested members. For more information and to make contact, please email the IET’s David Houssein at DHoussein@theiet.org

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