Kent awarded £322k for Study into the Electro-Magnetic Architecture of Buildings

Dr John Batchelor and Professor Ted Parker in the Department of Electronics, University of Kent, have received a grant of £322,910 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to co-ordinate an investigation into the electro-magnetic architecture of buildings with the aim of better controlling indoor radio signal strengths.
Their research will ultimately improve wireless network access in offices and also security in prisons where the illicit use of mobile phones is widespread.
The project, which begins in January 2007, is in collaboration with the Universities of Manchester (who received £228k) and Auckland (New Zealand), and the Police Information Technology Organisation who have pledged a further £30,000. This will bring the total funding for the project to £581,000 over three years.
Dr Batchelor explained: ‘Our research will involve integrating frequency selective surfaces into building walls. These surfaces can either pass or block certain radio frequencies meaning that transmissions can be contained in, or passed out of sealed rooms. This has promising implications for ‘reusing’ radio signals in adjacent rooms and increasing the total number of wireless channels available, or conversely, blocking signals completely and stopping people from making unauthorised mobile phone calls. Modern architectural regulations are aimed only at structural and aesthetical issues, while ignoring the problem of controlling access to an ever expanding wireless infrastructure.’

Dr Batchelor is a Senior Lecturer in Electronic Engineering with research interests in the design and modelling of multi-band antennae for personal and mobile communication systems, and reduced size frequency selective structures for incorporation into smart buildings for control of the radio spectrum. Professor Parker is Professor Emeritus of Radio Communications, with research interests in microwave antennae, frequency selective surfaces for microwave and millimetre wave multiband antennae, radomes, and the electromagnetic architecture of buildings, particularly time-dependent and frequency-dependent screening for secure buildings.