Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new project to test a pioneering method to advance technology

28.03.2002


Technological advances take place all the time – driven by need. But can these advances be speeded up in quantum leaps? The European Space Agency thinks they can, and is launching a pioneering project to test this.



The European Space Agency has launched a project to test whether technological advances can be speeded up in quantum leaps. The Star Tiger project will gather together a small team of enthusiastic scientists and engineers with a range of expertise from around Europe, put them together for four months at a location with state-of-the-art facilities, remove distractions and administrative burdens, and give them a technically challenging project.

"With Star Tiger we want to reduce dramatically the turn-around time for state-of-the art technology developments," says Niels Jensen, ESA`s Head of Technology Programme Department. "A small group of researcher and experts will be given the possibility to concentrate just on their R&D. They will be able to try-out new ideas on the spot, select or eliminate new paths as soon as identified and make prototypes on the fly. By creating a highly motivated team of researchers and experts and let them work together in the same labs with all needed for an intense period we will get an extra synergy not known in the conventional world of R&D, and a prospective of a key scientific breakthrough in a strategically important technological area."


The Star Tiger team will be recruited from across Europe and members will have the opportunity to work in a small group of like-minded scientists and engineers, and endeavour to produce a terahertz imager operating in two frequencies, 250 GHz and 300 GHz. The team has been given the specific task of imaging a human hand in more or less real time. The use of two frequencies provides a means for contrasting between materials with different transmission and reflection properties of skin and tissue, effectively creating two colours.

“Forget Big Brother and Castaway, where people were thrown together with no goal other than to entertain the public through TV programmes. In this project we’ll be handpicking people for their expertise and ability to work in a team – to work together to push technology to its limit”, explained Dr Chris Mann, the project manager at CLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, UK, where the team will be located.

The imager will provide a view port into presently hidden information embedded in the natural terahertz radio waves emitted by pretty much everything, including people. Space applications presently include astronomy, atmospheric physics, and Earth and environment monitoring. With the use of MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) and Photonic Band Gap technology the Star Tiger imager will be low powered, small and compact and opening up the possibility of planetary and micro satellite missions.

“We’re asking the team to produce a low cost, mass and volume colour terahertz imaging system, which would be made using a combination of micro machining and lithography-based manufacturing techniques”, explained Peter de Maagt, the project manager at ESA. “The over-riding limiting factors for present imagers are their complexity, combined with their size, mass and cost. Star Tiger’s requirement of colour imaging makes this challenge truly demanding”.

Non-space activities will also benefit from this technology, including industrial process control and medical diagnostics – terahertz radio waves are able to penetrate the uppermost layers of skin making the early detection of skin cancers an exciting and real possibility. Security surveillance is another area that may benefit. By observing terahertz radio waves it is possible to see through many materials such as clothing, and obtain the equivalent of an X-ray image without the use of X-rays. To this end Star Tiger have sought support from Dr Roger Appleby of Qinetiq who heads the team currently developing a real time millimetre wave imager.

“Qinetiq obtained the first video-rate millimetre wave images which they unveiled at a recent conference. Their images inspired me to bring this technology into the terahertz range where theoretically higher resolution and smaller systems can be achieved. The technical tasks, however, are daunting. Star Tiger was the only way in which Peter and I could see it happening soon”, commented Chris Mann. “In order for Star Tiger to succeed it will need to demonstrate that a small focused team can bring about dramatic technical advances in a short period”. To provide the maximum chance of success they have at their disposal the full support and resources of RAL’s Space Science and Technology Department, the Central Microstructure Facility and the Millimetre Wave Technology Group.

"The Star Tiger project promises to be extremely exciting - and everyone in my department at RAL will be watching it with great interest. As well as being the largest space science department in Europe, we have some of the most highly regarded scientists and engineers, and many of them will be providing support and help to the Star Tiger team during their stay. The team will also have access to some top class laboratories. With the right team recruited, and the backing from my department, this project just has to succeed!." said Professor Richard Holdaway, Director Space Science and Technology at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Star Tiger starts at the beginning of June 2002 and will run for 4 months. Scientists and engineers wishing to take part should apply online at the Star Tiger website www.startiger.org.

Jacky Hutchinson | alphagalileo
Further information:
http://www.startiger.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Nanotechnology for energy materials: Electrodes like leaf veins
27.09.2016 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH

nachricht First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source
27.09.2016 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development

28.09.2016 | Medical Engineering

Innovate coating extends the life of materials for industrial use

28.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

Blockchain Set to Transform the Financial Services Market

28.09.2016 | Business and Finance

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>