Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Radio frequency and microwave devices

Design and development of novel device architectures throughout the radio frequency, microwave, millimetre wave and terahertz domain.

Partners involved:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The scope and what we're doing

This research area covers the design and development of novel device architectures throughout the radio frequency, microwave, millimetre wave and terahertz domain – for example:

  • custom antennae
  • transmitters
  • amplifiers
  • switches
  • filters
  • transceivers
  • linearisers.

We aim to support a portfolio of ambitious research that can have a truly disruptive impact and to allow this research to find applications across a wide range of areas.

Our aims for this research area are below.

Exploring new concepts and technologies

A portfolio in this area that includes a significant proportion of fundamental research exploring new concepts and technologies. There is expected to be significant merit in funding more fundamental research and we encourage researchers to be more ambitious and far sighted in their research programmes.

Research across disciplines

Increased application of advanced materials research to developments in radio frequency (RF) and microwave devices, with an increased level of cross-disciplinary research between the fields. We expect this to lead to more interaction, networking and mutual understanding between the disciplines.

Collaboration in application domains

More collaboration with researchers working in application domains where RF and microwave devices can have an impact. Many societal and technological challenges have a communications dimension, while a number of other technologies use RF, millimetre wave and terahertz transmission. To tackle these challenges, we would like to see collaboration with researchers working in these domains, as well as with users.

Balanced support across career stages

A greater number of postgraduate students and early career researchers, as part of a rebalancing of support across the career stages in this research area.

Researchers working in RF and microwave devices are encouraged to consider EPSRC’s cross-disciplinarity and co-creation cross-ICT priority, and what this means for the way they engage with researchers in other areas and the opportunities this presents.

Why we're doing it

A small number of high quality groups tend to dominate this research area and, while there are several internationally leading groups in the UK, a comparatively low number of researchers who are at the beginning of their career and postgraduate students working in the field.

Research in this area requires significant investment in equipment and infrastructure and so it tends to be localised at a small number of research organisations.

Despite efforts to increase the size of this research area, it has remained small and of insufficient capacity to enable it to have the impact it should.

There are many societal and technological challenges beyond telecommunications that make use of radio frequency, millimetre wave and terahertz transmission.

For example:

  • radar for civil and military use
  • novel healthcare technologies
  • communications in robotics and autonomous systems
    non-destructive testing
  • new spectroscopic techniques
  • low powered communications between sensors that will enable sensor networks
  • the Internet of Things.

These developments are likely to be challenge driven. The research that will go the furthest towards reaching such societal outcomes is, by its nature, collaborative and multidisciplinary and will involve strong user input.

New developments in other areas (for example, advanced materials) offer the prospect of exciting new device concepts and technologies that could have significant impact. However, the current size of this research area limits the realisation of this.

View evidence sources used to inform our research strategies.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Visualising our portfolio (VoP) is a tool for users to visually interact with the EPSRC portfolio and data relationships. Find out more about research area connections and funding for RF and Microwave Devices.

Find previously funded projects on Grants on the Web.

Last updated: 4 January 2023

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