Design of integrated filtering solutions for space communications
PI: Bakr, Mustafa
Department: Condensed Matter Physics
The coming revolution in satellite communications creates some exciting challenges for engineers and physicists working on the design of microwave component technology and equally exciting business opportunities for companies in this field. One of these challenges is that existing satellite payloads are already overcrowded with numerous radios, antennas etc and there is not enough physical space to add the extra hardware for the next generation of satellites for the most promising applications such as 5G integration, future space communications, Earth observation, aeronautical and maritime tracking, and communication. Hence there is a need for new solutions to assist the space industry in achieving cost-effective upgrades of space communication infrastructure with minimal increase in complexity and launch cost. The RF devices need to be of much lighter weight and smaller physical size, while ultra-reliable and robust and capable of handling much higher data rate and being more energy-efficient.
One of the most critical devices is the RF filter, which is used to separate/combine different communication signals according to their electrical frequency. Typically, filters are physically quite large devices. The number of them needed for satellite payloads is growing rapidly, e.g. Eutelsat's Ka-Sat carries almost 1100 radio-frequency waveguide filters that are customised to handle specific task frequencies. Thus, it is vital to develop a miniature filter technology for space communication in order for the UK to be successful in this rapidly growing sector, with a projected global market of $138 billion by 2028.
In this project, we will move to demonstrate the viability and superiority of our recently filed technology for use in space communications. We will design and demonstrate new types of miniature RF channel filters for space communication based on new types of azimuthal propagation waves in the waveguide and dielectric technologies.