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University engineering and scientific research

New project aims to take the brakes
off wireless broadband data transfer

A new European Commission-funded project is setting out to develop a novel form of ultra-fast wireless data transfer.

The University of Glasgow is leading the 'Innovative ultra-BROadband ubiquitous Wireless communications through terahertz transceivers' (iBROW) project, which has received €4M (£3.1M) in support from the European Commission's Horizon 2020 initiative.

iBROW brings together universities and private-sector companies from the UK, France, Germany and Portugal to explore the potential of resonant tunneling diode technology to create ultra-broadband wireless communications.

The demand for broadband content and services has been growing at tremendous rates, and high-speed fibre-optic broadband is becoming increasingly common.

However, wireless technology is lagging behind the increasing capacity of broadband communications. Experts expect that by 2020, wireless data rates in the range of tens of gigabits per second (Gbps) will be required, which is not possible using the frequency spectrum of current wireless systems. Without new forms of wireless data transfer which operate at frequencies above 60 GHz (and up to 1 THz) there could be a significant bottleneck in the rates of delivery available to wireless devices.

Dr Edward Wasige, Senior Lecturer in Electronic and Nanoscale Engineering at the University of Glasgow, said: "We'll be working with our partners over the next three years to develop new forms of wireless communication which use resonant tunneling diodes (RTDs).

"RTDs are pure solid-state electronic devices operating at room temperature with reported working frequencies exceeding 1 THz. They have the potential to create wireless broadband systems at frequencies where other electronic semiconductor devices cannot be used, and could allow wireless data transfer rates of up to 100 Gbps in the long term.

"We'll be working to increase RTD output power and optical detection efficiency with reduced energy consumption, through development of a low cost and energy-efficient unified technology which can be integrated into wireless devices such as tablets and mobile phones as well as the base stations these devices communicate with."

In addition to the University of Glasgow's School of Engineering, the University of the Algarve and INESC Porto in Portugal and the Technische Universität Braunschweig in Germany will also contribute to the project.

Vivid Components Ltd will handle management of iBROW, Alcatel-Lucent Deutschland AG will be responsible for end-users and Optocap Ltd will manage the packaging of the device. Also involved in the project are IQE Silicon Compounds Ltd, III-V Lab, Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global Ltd, and the Commissariat a L'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives.

iBROW is funded by Horizon 2020, the biggest-ever EC Research and Innovation programme, which will allocate nearly €80 billion of funding between 2014 and 2020.

For further information, view website: www.glasgow.ac.uk

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