Our purpose-built laboratory includes an electromagnetically shielded test chamber for conducting cutting edge research and innovation utilising higher electromagnetic frequencies.
Our research programs
The widespread use of mobile telecommunications, especially 5G and soon 6G, has increased the variety and complexity of our everyday exposure to radiofrequency transmissions. A set of international safety standards has been developed to set limits for human exposure to radiofrequency energy and address concerns about human exposure.
Demonstrating compliance with these standards is not simple. Whether and how radiofrequency energy is absorbed by the body is not easy to measure. For example, different tissues have differing susceptibility and radiofrequency energy beams can spread out and be reflected off nearby objects.
The 6G Research and Innovation Lab includes features to measure such variables. In this work, we are collaborating with ARPANSA – sharing facilities and personnel.
In this program, we explore the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on microorganisms. Exposure of microorganisms to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF), such as those emitted from mobile phones and Wi-Fi devices, has been shown to cause biological changes, including modified growth rates and alterations in antibiotic resistance patterns in bacteria.
We will study the effects of RF-EMF on microorganisms of clinical, industrial and environmental importance. In addition, we will explore the effects of RF-EMF on the normal human microbiota (e.g. skin). The results of these studies will help us to identify any changes in microbial populations caused by exposure to RF-EMF, and may have implications for the management of infectious diseases, control of microbial growth, and the relationship between people and their resident microbes.
In this program, we investigate antenna design for IoT-based applications using 6G protocols such as narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and long-term evolution for machines (LTE-M). Our main interest is in the application of the IoT for use in natural disasters such as bushfires and floods.
Sensors can be used to detect smoke, fire, heat, wind, rain, river and water levels, while actuators can be used to start sprinkler systems, open diversion channels or start pumps to help fight or minimise the effects of the disaster. The network connecting the sensors and actuators must be energy efficient and robust, and operate in the very high frequencies proposed for 5G and 6G.
We will develop and experiment with several designs, potentially incorporating massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) and beam forming, but with the very limited energy budgets of battery-powered devices in highly exposed environments. The program can help in the protection of rural, remote and semi-urban bushlands.
THz spectroscopy is a new spectroscopic method that uses THz waves or THz light ranging from 300 GHz to 10 THz. There are many different THz spectroscopy systems depending on the type of wave generation methods.
Their application covers various areas such as biology, medicine inspection, biomedical diagnosis, food inspection, explosive inspection for security and environment monitoring. They are mainly used in scientific research; however, it is expected to have a near future use and application in everyday life.
Our TDS1008 is a benchtop terahertz time-domain spectrometer (TDS) that contains a femtosecond pulse laser with a wavelength of 780 nm and pulse duration ~ 100 fs.
This laser in combination with high performance photoconductive antennas allows a large spectral bandwidth and a high dynamic range. The TDS1008 parameters inside the sample compartment are spectral bandwidth 0.05–4.0 THz with a dynamic range of ≥ 85 dB.
We also have been carrying out experiments at the Australian Synchrotron which help confirm and extend the data we obtain using the benchtop spectrometer.
In this program, we use computational techniques to assess the absorption of radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (RF-EME) and resultant thermal effects in humans, animals and biological matter under examination during in vitro experimentation.
Our research findings are being used to contribute to the setting of international RF-EME safety standards for human exposure and to provide dosimetric support to our research partners at Swinburne, ARPANSA and other research groups around Australia and internationally.
The computational modelling environment that we have developed over more than 20 years combines commercially available software and our own purpose-built software, mostly based on the finite-difference numerical technique which is well-suited for calculating entities in highly heterogeneous objects, such as human or animal tissue.
Device-to-device communication is made possible by the IoT. There are; however, many challenges associated with this technology. The self-sustainability of machines due to limited energy capabilities is one of these challenges.
The aim of this program is to design and prototype low-cost energy harvesting devices (e.g. using rectifying antennas) in areas experiencing battery constraints. Smart city applications can benefit from radiofrequency energy harvesting and transmission by utilising energy harvesters designed, optimised, fabricated and characterised to convert electromagnetic radiofrequency efficiently and effectively to direct current (DC) power.
The nature of dark matter is one of the biggest mysteries in the Universe – it makes up 5/6 of all of the matter and passes through us at all times, but we do not know what it is made of. Some of the leading hypotheses about the nature of dark matter can be tested using microwave and millimetre-wave techniques, including 5G and 6G technologies.
Quantum technologies will yield the major technological revolution of the 21st century. Advancements in computing, sensing and communication are coming in the short to medium term, based on technologies which exploit the weird world of quantum mechanics. The development and characterisation of these technologies often relies on microwave and millimetre-wave research.
Space technology research is another growing area that can make use of similar device development and characterisation techniques, employing 5G and 6G technologies.
The exponential advancement of semiconductor technologies has enabled the usage of high-density electronic components, such as integrated circuits (ICs) with ultra-low power consumption, in the design and development of computer communication and electronic warfare systems with advanced functionalities.
On the other hand, ICs, which are the core of any electronic system, can be highly sensitive to electromagnetic interference. High Power Radio Frequency (HPRF) electromagnetic radiation can overload or disrupt numerous electronic circuits and systems at a distance. Our program aims to test radiation of nanoscale IC chips under HPRF radiation for high radiation environment applications.