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SURFAS: Flexible smart surfaces for augmented indoor communications

This project aims to develop efficient radio frequency energy harvesters and zero-power consuming smart electronic surfaces that are able to reflect and enhance electromagnetic radiation and improve the accessibility of wi-fi signals in buildings.

Start date

June 2017

End date

May 2021

Overview

We’d like to find a way to help everyone cut down on their use of fossil fuels. Renewable energy resources (i.e. wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal) are green alternatives, but have you ever thought about the radio waves and mobile phone signals travelling through the air that we don’t use?

Besides the environmental and economic benefits of recovering even a fraction of this untapped energy, harvesting and converting it into useable electrical energy could drive low-power electronics, like wireless sensor networks, wearable devices and the internet of things. Maintenance free, efficient and sustainable, batteries could become a relic of the past.

Aims and objectives

Making use of the untapped energy in ambient electromagnetic radiation (EM) waves, can replace the need for batteries and low AC power consumption in devices, delivering significant cost savings to the consumer.

So we are looking at how we can harvest the energy in radio frequency (RF) radiation efficiently and use it to power electronic devices as an alternative to battery power and how we can minimise attenuation and improve propagation of wi-fi signals in buildings.

Collaborate with us

The technology developed will be shared with small and medium enterprises. We’d like to work with you to learn how energy harvesting and self-powered devices can help you and your business. Be it the internet of things, embedded electronics, boosted connectivity or sensor applications, we hope that the collaborations formed during this project will continue after it has ended.

Get in contact

If you are interested in collaborating with us then please contact Maxim Shkunov:

Funding amount

Total project budget was €1.859 million with €1.283 million coming from the European Regional Development Fund.

Funders

Team

News

Materials Research Society (MRS) Virtual Fall Meeting and Exhibit

2020 virtual spring/fall meeting and exhibit banner

27 November - 4 December 2020

We presented a talk on “Flexible Inkjet-Printed Nanoparticle-based Supercapacitors: Effect of Substrates, Printing and Materials” at Symposium: F.FL03: Flexible, Wearable Electronics and Textiles.

Spring meeting of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) in Nice, France

Nice in France

27-31 May 2019

We presented a poster on “high performance inkjet‐printed and flexible NiO supercapacitors” at Symposium C: Batteries and Supercapacitors: Fundamentals, Materials and Devices.

Innovations in Large Area Electronics (InnoLAE) Conference

Members at the conference

January 2019

We presented a poster on energy storage and harvesting titled “self-powered devices with RF energy harvesting” at the InnoLAE conference in Cambridge, UK.

Advanced Energy Materials (AEM) conference at the University of Surrey, UK

Member at the conference standing in front of poster

10-12 September 2018

 

Second and third general assembly

Members at the assembly sat around tables

October 2017 and January 2019

The second general assembly was held by Intrinsiq Materials Ltd, in Farnborough, UK and the third was hosted by the University of Surrey in Guildford, UK. The University of Surrey presented their research into single-layer coplanar super-capacitors and their long-term stability, as well as prototype fabrication and process optimization in collaboration with Intrinsiq Materials, UK.  ESIGELEC presented preliminary analysis of high impedance surfaces and design considerations within the lower ISM band (868MHz/2.4GHz), including the first trials of indoor power density measurement methods.

The University of Kent discussed their preliminary simulation results for a tri-layer design operating at Wi-Fi frequencies (5.8GHz) and their characterisation apparatus. The first feasibility studies of smoke alarms and Wi-Fi boosters were approved. There is also potential for home automation sensors to be considered.

SURFAS, we have lift-off!

ESIGELEC logo

June 2017

SURFAS was launched at ESIGELEC in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France. The keynote address was delivered by Moncef Kadi, the Head of IRSEEM’s research team of Electronic and Embedded Systems.

Along with rules and regulations, the University of Surrey outlined their fabrication facilities and capabilities, ESIGELEC discussed the objectives and challenges of rectenna design and the University of Kent highlighted surface design constraints (i.e. size, number of cells, pattern redirection) over the frequency bands of interest.

What we do

In collaboration with ESIGELEC in Rouen and the University of Kent, we are an integral part of the SURFAS consortium. Our group specialises in printable nanoelectronics for energy harvesting and RF applications. Our expertise and state of the art fabrication and characterisation facilities enable us to print electronic components and circuitry on flexible plastic and paper substrates from micrometre to centimetre scales.

We work with small and medium enterprises custom-making devices to suit each company's needs, as well as coordinating personnel training at partner institutions and further developing research themes for funding bodies, such as Innovate UK.

    Printed electronics

    Epson printer printing out 3d prints

    We specialise in the fabrication of inkjet and screen-printed devices of any shape, size, and rigidity that could ultimately be printed in the comfort of your own home. The extraordinary developments in digital printing technology in the last decade could soon make this a reality.

    We’re currently busy making

    • Custom-designed 3D printed structured metal nanoparticle conducting layers of 20 - 300μm thickness with high lateral resolution on rigid and flexible substrates.
    • Inkjet and screen-printed microstrip waveguides on flexible plastic substrates for testing the RF parameters of nanoparticle conducting layers.
    • Inkjet printed co-planar supercapacitors for energy storage that can be integrated with RF energy harvesters.

    Research groups and centres

    Find out more about our research at Surrey:

    NanoElectronics Centre

    Contact us

    • Email:  m.shkunov@surrey.ac.uk

    Find us

    Address

    Advanced Technology Institute
    University of Surrey
    Guildford
    Surrey
    GU2 7XH