Networks and communications

Networks and communications

Interdisciplinary research in information networks and communications within the department covers a range of areas from the fundamentals of communications, protocols and network theory to the design and development of new wideband antennas and terahertz imaging systems.

This research theme is broken into two research groups:

Specialist areas included:

  • Next generation internet architectures including protocol design and/or system-on-chip (SoC) design
  • Internet of things
  • Machine-to-machine communication
  • Network security and cybersecurity
  • Wireless networks including co-operative relay, MIMO/massive MIMO.
  • RF/microwave antennas and devices
  • Electromagnetic imaging
  • Wireless energy harvesting and power transfer

Our collaborations with other institutions

The research includes programs of collaborative communications and networking with international and national academic institutions as well as industrial partners pursuing both fundamental and practical studies. For example, Queens University in Belfast and Rice University in Texas, concerning the use of adaptive beam-forming and beam-steering to generate secure localized wireless regions.

Research collaboration with Cambridge University and industrial partners has led to the world first online terahertz probe capable of monitoring the coating process of pharmaceutical and automotive industries. The group has also contributed to the University's personalised health theme by establishing research collaborations cross-school regarding disease diagnosis through spectrochemical imaging of tissue architecture and carrying out cross-faculty studies about eye disease.

Liverpool 5G

Research into physical layer security has led to collaborations with SouthEast University and shortlisting for two research fellowships, while work on adaptive relaying has contributed to the establishment a 5G test-bed with Sensor City called Liverpool 5G testbed in which Professor Joseph Spencer was the lead.

Liquid Antennas

Research with manufacturers provides facilities for designing and testing of radio-frequency communication systems and terahertz technologies. Research into high-frequency electronics has opened up an important new area investigating liquid antennas.  This inter-disciplinary project has developed some new liquid materials which are suitable for an ultra-wide frequency band (MHz to 50 GHz) and a temperature range (-60 to +90 Co).

Unlike conventional metal antennas, liquid antennas are configurable and transparent and can be used for many commercial and military applications. A collaboration with GWS on wireless energy harvesting has resulted in the development of a high-efficiency broadband rectenna which is now used to power wireless sensor devices for IoT application. It was awarded the IET 2018 innovation award for emerging technology designs. 

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