Today’s information-rich, wireless world depends on microwave amplifiers that operate efficiently and linearly at high power and high frequencies, so it is crucial that Europe is at the forefront of such research.
Europe’s rapid advance into the front ranks of microwave amplifier research and development was stimulated to a large degree by European researchers in the TARGET project.
TARGET was a four-year effort that linked researchers and laboratories across Europe into an agile and aggressive research and development community.
Guided and energised by TARGET, formerly uncoordinated European research into microwave amplifier development has become “ambitious, highly successful, and collaborative”, says TARGET’s scientific coordinator, Gottfried Magerl at the Technical University of Vienna.
The EU-funded project’s first challenge was to coordinate the efforts and expertise of 49 core laboratories, research centres, and businesses scattered across 16 countries.
The TARGET team tackled the problem in part by using sophisticated software to create a virtual research centre. Wherever they are, members can communicate readily with each other and access a common pool of software, documents and data.
This virtual community was supplemented by frequent face-to-face meetings, tutorials, and research collaborations.
The result, says Magerl, “is a very special kind of team spirit that is still alive”.
TARGET’s network coordinator, Sue Ivan at the telecommunications Research Center in Vienna, adds that the project grew into the largest international research co-operation in civilian microwave engineering history.Real research in a virtual lab
This surprising discovery motivated them to go to great lengths to ensure that the nine co-operating laboratories used comparable equipment and analytic tools and so could produce equivalent results.
In addition, the labs were linked together via a shared computer interface and a powerful design language, XML, which let them manage and share mathematical models, research protocols and the resulting data.
The result was a Europe-wide virtual laboratory in which researchers can quickly and seamlessly perform all the steps needed to design, fabricate, and assess the performance of new components, amplifiers, and systems.
“The steps may be made by several different labs, situated maybe in Vienna, Torino, Lille, and Rome,” says Magerl. “Yet you think you get your results from one expert lab.”Expanded horizons, award-winning results
In the end, they developed expertise in a full spectrum of activities, from the fabrication and characterisation of basic semiconductor devices to the design of entire broadband transmission systems.
Spurred by the realisation that the field needed better tools for modelling the non-linear behaviour of components, sub-systems and complete amplifiers, TARGET researchers developed so much expertise in the area that they have literally written ‘the book’ on the subject, to be published in October 2008.
Before TARGET, European manufacturers of Gallium nitride amplifiers trailed their North American and Asian competitors in terms of power output across the frequency spectrum.
But in just four years, the manufacturers have doubled the power of their amplifiers, matching or exceeding their competitors, especially at the high frequencies needed for heavy data loads.
Building on the foundation of their coordinated virtual labs and modelling expertise, TARGET’s connected labs quickly began to turn out amplifiers that were both powerful and efficient – intrinsically competing qualities that rarely appear together.
In 2005, they produced a six-watt amplifier that operated at close to 60% efficiency, and which garnered an international prize.
Magerl explains that the combination of a high efficiency and a linear response, although extremely hard to achieve, is a key issue.
“For mobile phones it decides battery lifetime and quality of service,” he says. “For base stations it decides operational costs.”
TARGET, which received funding from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research, resulted in 35 joint research projects, 63 journal papers, and 340 conference presentations, among other achievements.
“TARGET has become a brand name in the microwave community,” says Magerl.
TARGET’s researchers feel that the combination of precise measurement, powerful models, and fast turn-around times can now allow manufacturers to produce better and more creative designs, while reducing the time it takes for an idea to move from a perceived need to a finished product.
TARGET researchers hope that the level of expertise developed through the project will be its legacy to the European research and development community.
“We think that we achieved more than just the sum of our efforts,” says Magerl. “TARGET can serve as a showcase of how to convince competitors to co-operate and to create a win-win situation.”
Christian Nielsen | alfa
UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville
New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely
23.11.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy