press release
Published: 10 June 2016

New joint facility launched at University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to help improve the design of circuits for ultra energy efficient wireless communications

A new joint facility – the Nonlinear Microwave Measurements and Modelling Laboratories (n3m-labs) has been launched at the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to help develop the next generation of super-efficient electronic devices. 

5g waves twisting around high rise office buildings
  • New laboratories opened to help find a global solution to reducing power wastage from electronic devices such as mobile phones and base stations.
  • The world’s first multi-physics enabled laboratory dedicated to nonlinear microwave measurements and modelling from the University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory.
  • The joint facility will build on the strategic partnership and knowledge exchange between the National Physical Laboratory and the University of Surrey.
  • Research will involve close collaboration with the University’s 5G Innovation Centre to ensure the next generation of wireless technology is highly energy efficient.

The n3m-labs facility comprises shared laboratories which will continue the long-standing collaboration between NPL and the University of Surrey. n3m-labs builds on a track record of success established over many years of joint interaction in a number of areas of measurement-related research and knowledge exchange.

Attending the n3m-labs launch was Professor Max Lu, the world-renowned academic and engineer, who was recently formally installed into the post of Vice Chancellor of the University of Surrey.  Dr Peter Thompson, CEO of the National Physical Laboratory, also attended the launch and addressed attendees before officially opening the new facility with Professor Max Lu.  The event also featured a keynote speech from Dr Chris Clifton, Chief Technology Officer at Sony Europe, who spoke about the new wireless world of the future and the importance of semiconductor device design.  Dr Clifton’s speech emphasised how the new facility will play an important role in this future.

The University of Surrey is already home to the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), which is a highly-respected innovation hub bringing together leading academic expertise and key industry partners to develop the next generation of wireless technology, 5G. 

Dr Peter Aaen, the n3m-labs Director at the University of Surrey, said: “We are delighted that our already close relationship with the National Physical Laboratory has been further demonstrated with the opening of this new facility.  It will build on the excellent relationships between the organisations in creating a continuing and expanding pipeline of research and innovation that is tailored to regional, national and global challenges.  The new facility will provide an outstanding platform for strategic, high-quality, joint research into the next generation of scientific and engineering innovation.” 

Professor Nick Ridler, the n3m-labs Director at NPL, said:  “Through n3m-labs, we will be able to focus on major research areas that will underpin next-generation information and communications technology.  This technology is necessary to establish an effective Internet of Things (IoT), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, and other multi-sensor dependent applications, including Smart Cities.  The facilities at n3m-labs will enable these areas to achieve their full potential in the years to come – i.e. during the realisation of what is becoming known as Industry 4.0.”

Also announced at the event was the establishment of the NPL regional hub hosted at the University of Surrey, NPL South of England. NPL South of England will be a world-leading, responsive and sustainable measurement capacity that develops strategic, high-quality research capabilities in a number of key metrological areas.   The Director of NPL South of England will be Dr Peter Aaen** of the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute, and one of the founders of the new joint facility, n3m-labs.


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