The University of York : Department of Electronics

Applied Electromagnetics Research


We currently have a number of projects suitable for research students who wish to study for a PhD:

Antenna Design, Electromagnetic Compatibility, Interaction of Electromagnetic Fields with Biological Tissues, Evolutionary Optimisation Techniques

Some of the projects on offer are listed below. We are always happy to discuss your ideas.

Numerical Electromagnetic Modelling - TLM method

This project involves the development and implementation of new modelling techniques for transmission line matrix (TLM) method of numerical electromagnetic modelling. The TLM matrix method of electromagnetic modelling is similar to the finite-differenc time-domain method. It discretises space and simulates the propagation of electromagnetic waves through the 3-D space. Interaction with materials (buildings, enclosures, wires, etc.) are included and such codes are used to predict how electromagentic interference may couple to electronic systems.

A funded studentship is possible for UK nationals only

Applicants will be expected to have a first degree in Physics, or Electronics with a strong background in Electromagnetic theory and some experience of writing numerical modelling software.

Contact: John Dawson

Wireless Sensor Networks in Vehicles - propagation studies

Wireless sensor networks are of interest in many areas. The Communications Research Group is working on many aspects such as suitable low-power network protocols and routing algorithms as wells as many applications. In the applied electromagnetic research group we are interested in understanding the propagation of radio waves between nodes in sensor networks, and the effects of interference. In particular the propagation environment in vehicles presents challenging conditions and we are interested in how it impacts on network protocols, performance and localisation algorithms.

The aim of this project is to develop wireless sensor networks for operation in vehicles. The conducting body of a vehicle presents a unique propagation environment with multiple, reverberant compartments, which exhibit a large delay spread, along with the need to couple energy between departments. This project will involve developing models, and investigating by measurement, the performance of wireless sensor networks along with the development of low power protocols in collaboration with the Communications research group.

Applicants with a background in Physics or Electronics would be suitable for this project.

Contact: John Dawson.

Electromagnetic Modelling

Current applications of the electromagnetic modelling capability within the group lie within the areas of Electromagnetic Compatibility and Interaction of Electromagnetic Fields with Biological Tissues. There are opportunities available for researchers to participate in this activity. Of primary concern is the efficient performance and use of these techniques, including the Finite Difference Time Domain method, on modern computing platforms. When modelling a human body "phantom", it is desirable to truncate the modelling space so that only the region of interaction is considered. The consequence is that only part of a complete phantom is used. Additionally, the phantom is required to be modelled in a number of orientations in the vicinity of a number of different radio systems. We anticipate that these aspects and others will be considered in the research.

Applicants with previous electromagnetic modelling experience are welcome. However, as above, this is a rare skill and applicants with a good background in electronics or physics and whose interest is stimulated by the description above are encouraged to apply.

Contact: John Dawson or Stuart Porter.

Evolutionary Optimisation Techniques

The areas discussed above and other applications within the research group, both electromagnetic and non-electromagentic based, often involve the need for optimisation of some design, system or process. Evolutionary optimisation techniques, particularly genetic algorithms and neural network enhanced genetic algorithms (NNEGA), have been developed and advanced within the group. The applications typically have complex target/"cost" functions that represent the performance that must be achieved. These must be defined with care and may be optimised themselves as part of the overall algorithm, using, for example, the NNEGA developed within the research group. In addition, the parameters necessary for specifying the structure or system to be modelled/measured are of varying types and precision and automated optimisation of this specification process is desirable. The work will focus on enhancing the ability of these algorithms to manipulate both complex paremeter types and complex cost functions.

Applicants with previous evolutionary optimisation experience are welcome. However, applicants with a good background in electronics, physics or mathematics and whose interest is stimulated by the description above are encouraged to apply.

Contact: Stuart Porter or John Dawson.

igh Intensity Radiated Field - Synthetic Environment (HIRF - SE)

This project is supported by an EU FP7 project concerned with the development of a computational electromagnetic framework intended to replace physical measurements in the airframe certification process. This project is undertaken as part of a large European consortium or airframe manufacturers and universities and involves both the detailed modelling of the electromagnetic fields caused by a variety of types of sources around an airframe and complementary measurements. The work at York is mainly concerned with computationally efficient solutions to energy balance problems inside airframes containing cables and energy dissipating structures such as seats and bodies. A programme of measurement will also be necessary to support and validate the modelling.

Applicants with previous electromagnetic modelling experience are welcome. However, as above, this is a rare skill and applicants with a good background in electronics or physics and whose interest is stimulated by the description above are encouraged to apply.

Contact: Andy Marvin

Measurement of Non-Linear Devices in Reverberation Chambers

he interaction of radio frequency interference with a complex digital electronic syetem is often measured in an electromagnetic reverberation chamber. We are interested in the interaction of the radio frequency energy with the non-linear devices in the electronic equipment. Our current work has concentrated on single non-linearities and we are now ready to move onto the examination of the interaction of multiple arrays of non-linear devices that would mimic a real electronic system. This project is a combination of measurement and modelling and would suit a Physics or Electronics graduate.

Contact: Andy Marvin

Total body volume in a stirred mode chamber

Accurate measurement of body volume has important medical applications in body composition research and in nutritional studies. A more comfortable method than water displacement would be to place the subject in a ‘stirred mode environment’ in which low-power radio waves are propagated randomly in a resonant room, and the change in their statistics owing to the presence of a body determines its volume. The work would involve both measurements and simulations, and collaboration with body composition researchers at Leeds General Infirmary.

Contact: Martin Robinson

Segmental Hydration Analysis by Resonant Perturbation (SHARP)

Resonant cavity perturbation techniques to measure the dielectric properties of materials have applications ranging from industrial component testing to measurement of moisture content of agricultural products. Changing from a closed to an open cavity would enable medical applications of this technology such as the diagnosis and monitoring of arthritis, and of fluid retention in limbs or around the heart. The challenges of developing these methods require a combination of radio frequency measurements and computational electromagnetic simulations.

Contact: Martin Robinson

Applied Electromagnetics and Electron Optics Research, Department of Electronics, University of YorkResearch in the Department of Electronics, University of YorkThe University of YorkThe University of York