The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering is located on Thornton Science Park, a modern expressly-designed site that profits from a recently-completed multi-million pound renovation that has created a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility. The site was home to Shell UK’s exploration and research centre since the 1940s, and its takeover by the University heralded the opportunity to apply its legacy to the continuation of world-class innovation and research in the North West.

Recent Submissions

  • Controllability of buildings: computing and managing energy in practice

    Khalid, Yousaf; University of Chester (Journal of Computing and Management Studies (JCMS), 2018-05)
    Modern buildings utilise multiple systems for energy generation, supply and storage in order to maintain occupant comfort. Consequently, complex computer based energy management systems are utilised for design and operation of such buildings. Often these buildings perform poor in practice in terms of energy consumption, cost and carbon emissions due to lack of thorough analysis of their controllability during the design process. This paper highlights the deficiencies in the current building design practice and the need for appropriate framework to assess controllability of buildings during design stages so that complex building energy systems are easier to manage in practice.
  • SrFe12O19 based ceramics with ultra-low dielectric loss in the millimetre-wave band

    Yu, Chuying; Zeng, Yang; Yang, Bin; Wylde, Richard; Donnan, Robert; Wu, Jiyue; Xu, Jie; Gao, Feng; Abrahams, Isaac; Reece, Mike J.; Yan, Haixue; Queen Mary University of London; Hunan University; National University of Defence Technology; University of Chester; Thomas Keating Ltd; Northwestern Polytechnical University (AIP Publishing, 2018-04-02)
    Non-reciprocal devices such as isolators and circulators, based mainly on ferromagnetic materials, require extremely low dielectric loss in order for strict power-link budgets to be met for millimetre (mm)-wave and terahertz (THz) systems. The dielectric loss of commercial SrFe12O19 hexaferrite was significantly reduced to below 0.002 in the 75 - 170 GHz band by thermal annealing. While the overall concentration of Fe2+ and oxygen vacancy defects is relatively low in the solid, their concentration at the surface is significantly higher, allowing for a surface sensitive technique such as XPS to monitor the Fe3+/Fe2+ redox reaction. Oxidation of Fe2+ and a decrease in oxygen vacancies is found at the surface on annealing, which is reflected in the bulk sample by a small change in unit cell volume. The significant decrease in dielectric loss property can be attributed to the decreased concentration of charged defects such as Fe2+ and oxygen vacancies through annealing process, which demonstrated that thermal annealing could be effective in improving the dielectric performance of ferromagnetic materials for various applications.
  • Quality-Control of UV offset Lithographicaly Printed Electronic-Ink by THz Technology

    Zeng, Yang; Donnan, Robert; Edwards, Marc; Yang, Bin; University of Chester (IEEE Conference Publications, 2017-10-16)
    In this paper, a novel quality-monitor method of inkjet-printed electronics based on terahertz (THz) sensing is presented. Specifically, two different approaches, namely THz reflection spectroscopy and THz near-field scanning, are proposed.
  • Terahertz Characterisation of UV Offset Lithographically Printed Electronic-Ink

    Zeng, Yang; Edwards, Marc; Stevens, Robert; Bowen, John; Donnan, Robert S.; Yang, Bin; University of London; National University of Defense Technology; University of Chester; Nottingham Trent University; University of Reading (Elsevier, 2017-06-10)
    Inkjet-printed electronics are showing promising potential in practical applications, but methods for real-time, non-contact monitoring of printing quality are lacking. This work explores Terahertz (THz) sensing as an approach for such monitoring. It is demonstrated that alterations in the localised dielectric characteristics of inkjet-printed electronics can be qualitatively distinguished using quasi-optically-based, sub-THz reflection spectroscopy. Decreased reflection coefficients caused by the sintering process are observed and quantified. Using THz near-field scanning imaging, it is shown that sintering produces a more uniform spatial distribution of permittivity in the printed carbon patterns. Images generated using THz-TDS based imaging are presented, demonstrating the combination of high resolution imaging with quantification of complex permittivities. This work, for the first time, demonstrates the feasibility of quality control in printed electronic-ink with THz sensing, and is of practical significance to the development of in-situ and non-contact commercial-quality characterisation methods for inkjet-printed electronics.
  • Titanium Dioxide Engineered for Near-dispersionless High Terahertz Permittivity and Ultra-low-loss

    Chuying, Yu; Zeng, Yang; Yang, Bin; Donnan, Robert; Huang, Jinbao; Xiong, Zhaoxian; Mahajan, Amit; Shi, Baogui; Ye, Haitao; Binions, Russell; Tarakina, Nadezda V.; Reece, Mike J.; Yan, Haixue; University of London; University of Chester; Xiamen University; Aston University (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-07-26)
    Realising engineering ceramics to serve as substrate materials in high-performance terahertz(THz) that are low-cost, have low dielectric loss and near-dispersionless broadband, high permittivity, is exceedingly demanding. Such substrates are deployed in, for example, integrated circuits for synthesizing and converting nonplanar and 3D structures into planar forms. The Rutile form of titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been widely accepted as commercially economical candidate substrate that meets demands for both low-loss and high permittivities at sub-THz bands. However, the relationship between its mechanisms of dielectric response to the microstructure have never been systematically investigated in order to engineer ultra-low dielectric-loss and high value, dispersionless permittivities. Here we show TiO2 THz dielectrics with high permittivity (ca. 102.30) and ultra-low loss (ca. 0.0042). These were prepared by insight gleaned from a broad use of materials characterisation methods to successfully engineer porosities, second phase, crystallography shear-planes and oxygen vacancies during sintering. The dielectric loss achieved here is not only with negligible dispersion over 0.2 - 0.8 THz, but also has the lowest value measured for known high-permittivity dielectrics. We expect the insight afforded by this study will underpin the development of subwavelength-scale, planar integrated circuits, compact high Q-resonators and broadband, slow-light devices in the THz band.
  • Assessment of Multi-Domain Energy Systems Modelling Methods

    Stewart, M.; Counsell, M. J.; Al-Khaykan, A.; University of Chester (World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 2017)
    Emissions are a consequence of electricity generation. A major option for low carbon generation, local energy systems featuring Combined Heat and Power with solar PV (CHPV) has significant potential to increase energy performance, increase resilience, and offer greater control of local energy prices while complementing the UK’s emissions standards and targets. Recent advances in dynamic modelling and simulation of buildings and clusters of buildings using the IDEAS framework have successfully validated a novel multi-vector (simultaneous) control of both heat and electricity approach to integrating the wide range of primary and secondary plant typical of local energy systems designs including CHP, solar PV, gas boilers, absorption chillers and thermal energy storage, and associated electrical and hot water networks, all operating under a single unified control strategy. Results from this work indicate through simulation that integrated control of thermal storage can have a pivotal role in optimizing system performance well beyond the present expectations. Environmental impact analysis and reporting of all energy systems including CHPV LES presently employ a static annual average carbon emissions intensity for grid supplied electricity. This paper focuses on establishing and validating CHPV environmental performance against conventional emissions values and assessment benchmarks to analyze emissions performance without and with an active thermal store in a notional group of non-domestic buildings. Results of this analysis are presented and discussed in context of performance validation and quantifying the reduced environmental impact of CHPV systems with active energy storage in comparison with conventional LES designs.
  • Design and specification of building integrated DC electricity networks

    Stewart, M.; Counsell, M. J.; Al-Khaykan, A.; University of Chester (IEEE, 2017-01-19)
    Adoption of millions of small energy efficient, low power digital and DC appliances at home and at work is resulting in a significant and fast growing fraction of a building's electricity actually consumed in low voltage DC form. Building integrated energy systems featuring renewable photovoltaics are also increasingly attractive as part of an overall electricity and emissions reduction strategy. This paper details design and specification of a novel system level method of matching building integrated photovoltaic electricity generation with local low voltage DC appliances in office and other ICT intensive environments such as schools. The chosen scenario considers load components consisting of a diverse range of modern low power ICT and DC appliances, networked and powered by industry certified smart DC distribution technologies. Energy supply to the converged DC, IT and ICT network is described as featuring a roof-mounted or other on-site photovoltaic array in combination with conventional supply from the local grid infrastructure. The direct and strategic benefits of smart DC infrastructures are highlighted as the enabling technology for optimal demand reduction through fully integrated energy management of DC systems in buildings.
  • Spreadsheet tools to estimate the thermal transmittance and thermal conductivities of gas spaces of an Insulated Glazing Unit

    Nammi, Sathish K.; Shirvani, Hassan; Shirvani, Ayoub; Edwards, Gerard; Dunn, Jeremy; Anglia Ruskin University, Anglia Ruskin University, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Chester, Glazing Vision (Anglia Ruskin Research Online, 2014-03)
    An Insulated Glazing unit (IGU) is constructed with two or more layers of glass panes sealed together by gas spaces in-between. IGUs are prevalent in windows, doors and rooflights, primarily due to their improved thermal resistance. Today, most IGUs are either two or three layered. Adding further layers of glass improves thermal insulation but with the penalty of increased cost and weight. Low emissivity (Low-e) film coatings, when deposited on the glass panes, reduce long-wavelength radiative heat losses. Furthermore, filling the gas spaces with the inert gases (e.g. Argon, Krypton, Xenon and SF6), further reduce conduction and natural convection across the gap. In summary, higher thermal insulation performance of an IGU can be achieved with gas fillings and Low-e coatings on glass. This report discusses spreadsheets that have been developed, capable of estimating the thermal transmittance values of IGU, as per BS EN 673. The spreadsheet tools also have the ability to estimate the thermal conductivity of the gas spaces between the panes of IGU.
  • Verification of calculation code THERM in accordance with BS EN ISO 10077-2

    Nammi, Sathish K.; Shirvani, Hassan; Shirvani, Ayoub; Edwards, Gerard; Whitty, Justin P. M.; Anglia Ruskin University, Anglia Ruskin University, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Chester, University of Central Lancashire (Anglia Ruskin Research Online, 2014)
    Calculation codes are useful in predicting the heat transfer features in the fenestration industry. THERM is a finite element analysis based code, which can be used to compute thermal transmittance of windows, doors and shutters. It is important to verify results of THERM as per BS EN ISO 10077-2 to meet the compliance requirements. In this report, two-dimensional thermal conductance parameters were computed. Three versions of THERM, 5.2, 6.3 and 7.1, were used at two successive finite element mesh densities to assess their comparability. The results were all compliant with the aforementioned British Standard.
  • Visual-Inertial 2D Feature Tracking based on an Affine Photometric Model

    Aufderheide, Dominik; Edwards, Gerard; Krybus, Werner; South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, University of Chester, South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences (Springer, 2015)
    The robust tracking of point features throughout an image sequence is one fundamental stage in many different computer vision algorithms (e.g. visual modelling, object tracking, etc.). In most cases, this tracking is realised by means of a feature detection step and then a subsequent re-identification of the same feature point, based on some variant of a template matching algorithm. Without any auxiliary knowledge about the movement of the camera, actual tracking techniques are only robust for relatively moderate frame-to-frame feature displacements. This paper presents a framework for a visual-inertial feature tracking scheme, where images and measurements of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) are fused in order to allow a wider range of camera movements. The inertial measurements are used to estimate the visual appearance of a feature’s local neighbourhood based on a affine photometric warping model.
  • Effect of cell-size on the energy absorption features of closed-cell aluminium foams

    Nammi, Sathish K.; Edwards, Gerard; Shirvani, Hassan; Anglia Ruskin University, University of Chester, Anglia Ruskin University, (Elsevier, 2016-07-02)
    The effect of cell-size on the compressive response and energy absorption features of closed-cell aluminium (Al) foam were investigated by finite element method. Micromechanical models were constructed with a repeating unit-cell (RUC) which was sectioned from tetrakaidecahedra structure. Using this RUC, three Al foam models with different cell-sizes (large, medium and small) and all of same density, were built. These three different cell-size pieces of foam occupy the same volume and their domains contained 8, 27 and 64 RUCs respectively. However, the smaller cell-size foam has larger surface area to volume ratio compared to other two. Mechanical behaviour was modelled under uniaxial loading. All three aggregates (3D arrays of RUCs) of different cell-sizes showed an elastic region at the initial stage, then followed by a plateau, and finally, a densification region. The smaller cell size foam exhibited a higher peak-stress and a greater densification strain comparing other two cell-sizes investigated. It was demonstrated that energy absorption capabilities of smaller cell-size foams was higher compared to the larger cell-sizes examined.
  • The power of VNA-driven quasi-optics to sense group molecular action in condensed phase systems

    Donnan, Rob; Tian, Kun V.; Yang, Bin; Chass, Gregory. A.; University of Chester (2014-12-08)
    The versatility for quasi-optical circuits, driven by modern vector network analysers, is demonstrated for the purpose of low energy (meV) coherent spectroscopy. One such example is shown applied to the curing dynamics of a non-mercury-based dental cement. This highlights the special place the methodology holds as a `soft-probe' to reveal the time-resolved energetics of condensed phased systems as they self-organise to adopt their low energy state.
  • Comparing Terahertz transmission response on pH-dependent apomyoglobin proteins dynamics with circular dichroism

    Qiu, Junyi; Yang, Bin; Sushko, Oleksandr; Pikersgill, Richard W.; Donnan, Robert S.; University of Chester (IEEE, 2014-12-08)
    Terahertz time domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) was used to study the transmission responses of pH-dependent apomyoglobin (ApoMb) dissolved solutions in 0.2-2.2 THz frequency domain, the THz-TDS technique was also benchmarked against circular dichroism (CD) by studying pH-related folding states changes of ApoMb protein. Results revealed that differences of pH-dependent ApoMb/water dynamics can be detected directly by the THz refractive index spectrum, and these differences are further proved to be caused mainly the effect of protonation of water and possibly water response leaded by protein conformation change.
  • Micromachined Thick Mesh Filters for Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Applications

    Wang, Yi; Yang, Bin; Tian, Yingtao; Donnan, Robert S.; Lancaster, Michael J.; University of Bolton (IEEE, 2014-03-01)
    This paper presents several freestanding bandpass mesh filters fabricated using an SU-8 based micromachining technique. The important geometric feature of the filters, which SU8 is able to increase, is the thickness of the cross-shaped micromachined slots. This is 5 times its width. This thickness offers an extra degree of control over the resonance characteristics. The large thickness not only strengthens the structures, but also enhances the resonance quality factor (Q-factor). A 0.3 mm thick, single layer, mesh filter resonant at 300 GHz has been designed, fabricated and its performance verified. The measured Q-factor is 16.3 and the insertion loss is 0.98 dB. Two multi-layer filter structures have also been demonstrated. The first one is a stacked structure of two single mesh filters producing a double thickness, which achieved a further increased Q-factor of 27. This is over six times higher than a thin mesh filter. The second multi-layer filter is an electromagnetically coupled structure forming a two-pole filter. The coupling characteristics are discussed based on experimental and simulation results. These thick mesh filters can potentially be used for sensing and material characterization at millimeter-wave and terahertz frequencies.
  • Experimental demonstration of a transparent graphene millimetre wave absorber with 28% fractional bandwidth at 140 GHz

    Wu, Bian; Tuncer, Hatice M.; Naeem, Majid; Yang, Bin; Cole, Matthew T.; Milne, William I.; Hao, Yang; Queen Mary University of London (Nature Publishing Group, 2014-02-19)
    The development of transparent radio-frequency electronics has been limited, until recently, by the lack of suitable materials. Naturally thin and transparent graphene may lead to disruptive innovations in such applications. Here, we realize optically transparent broadband absorbers operating in the millimetre wave regime achieved by stacking graphene bearing quartz substrates on a ground plate. Broadband absorption is a result of mutually coupled Fabry-Perot resonators represented by each graphene-quartz substrate. An analytical model has been developed to predict the absorption performance and the angular dependence of the absorber. Using a repeated transfer-and-etch process, multilayer graphene was processed to control its surface resistivity. Millimetre wave reflectometer measurements of the stacked graphene-quartz absorbers demonstrated excellent broadband absorption of 90% with a 28% fractional bandwidth from 125-165 GHz. Our data suggests that the absorbers’ operation can also be extended to microwave and low-terahertz bands with negligible loss in performance.
  • Bacillus Spores and Their Relevant Chemicals Studied by Terahertz Time Domain Spectroscopy

    Tang, Jianhua; Yang, Bin; Llewellyn, Ian; Cutler, Ronald R.; Donnan, Robert S.; Queen Mary University of London; University of Bolton (Elsevier, 2013-12-28)
    Terahertz Time Domain Spectroscopy has been used to investigate 0.2 to 2.2 terahertz (THz) transmission responses of Bacillus spores and their related chemical components. Whilst no THz signatures could be clearly associated with either sporulated cells or their chief chemical components, differing degrees of signal attenuation and frequency-dependent light scattering were observed depending on spore composition and culture media. The observed monotonic increase in absorption by spores over this THz spectral domain is mainly from Mie scattering and also from remnant water bound to the spores.
  • Atomic and vibrational origins of mechanical toughness in bioactive cement during setting

    Tian, Kun V.; Yang, Bin; Yue, Yuan-Zheng; Bowron, Daniel T.; Mayers, Jerry; Donnan, Robert S.; Dobo-Nagy, Csaba; Nicholson, John W.; Greer, A. Lindsay; Chass, Gregory A.; Greaves, G. Neville; Fang, De-Cai; Semmelweis University; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London (Nature Publishing Group, 2015-11-09)
    Bioactive glass ionomer cements (GICs) have been in widespread use for ~40 years in dentistry and medicine. However, these composites fall short of the toughness needed for permanent implants. Significant impediment to improvement has been the requisite use of conventional destructive mechanical testing, which is necessarily retrospective. Here we show quantitatively, through the novel use of calorimetry, terahertz (THz) spectroscopy and neutron scattering, how GIC’s developing fracture toughness during setting is related to interfacial THz dynamics, changing atomic cohesion and fluctuating interfacial configurations. Contrary to convention, we find setting is non-monotonic, characterized by abrupt features not previously detected, including a glass–polymer coupling point, an early setting point, where decreasing toughness unexpectedly recovers, followed by stress-induced weakening of interfaces. Subsequently, toughness declines asymptotically to long-term fracture test values. We expect the insight afforded by these in situ non-destructive techniques will assist in raising understanding of the setting mechanisms and associated dynamics of cementitious materials.
  • Flicker mitigation strategy for a doubly fed induction generator by torque control

    Zhang, Yunqian Q.; Hu, Weihao; Chen, Zhe; Cheng, Ming; Hu, Yanting (IET, 2014-03)
    Owing to the rotational sampling of turbulence, wind shear and tower shadow effects grid connected variable speed wind turbines could lead to the power fluctuations which may produce flicker during continuous operation. A model of an megawatt (MW)-level variable speed wind turbine with a doubly fed induction generator is presented to investigate the flicker mitigation. Taking advantage of the large inertia of the wind turbine rotor, a generator torque control (GTC) strategy is proposed, so that the power oscillation is stored as the kinetic energy of the wind turbine rotor, thus the flicker emission could be reduced. The GTC scheme is proposed and designed according to the generator rotational speed. The simulations are performed on the national renewable energy laboratory 1.5 MW upwind reference wind turbine model. Simulation results show that damping the generator active power by GTC is an effective means for flicker mitigation of variable speed wind turbines during continuous operation. keywords: {asynchronous generators;oscillations;power generation control;torque control;wind power plants;wind turbines;GTC strategy;continuous operation;doubly fed induction generator;flicker emission;flicker mitigation strategy;generator active power;generator torque control;kinetic energy;megawatt-level variable speed wind turbine;power oscillation;tower shadow effects grid connected variable speed wind turbines;turbulence;upwind reference wind turbine model;variable speed wind turbines;wind shear;wind turbine rotor
  • Q-V droop control using fuzzy logic and reciprocal characteristic

    Wang, Lu; Hu, Yanting; Chen, Zhe; Glyndwr University; Aalborg University (Engineering and Technology Publishing, 2014-01-01)
    Today, the conventional power system is facing some global environmental problems, which is leading to a new trend of power grid by using “green and clear” energy sources. As the platform of smart grid technology, the microgrid associated with distributed energy resources (DERs) may provide electric power at distributed voltage level, which not only is an autonomous system, but also can be connected to the main grid. To improve the stability and controllability of the power grid, this paper presents an improved Q-V droop control strategy using fuzzy logic controller and reciprocal characteristic. Matlab/Simulink is used for analysing the performance of system. The feasibility of the improved droop control strategy has been verified and discussed. The results demonstrate the improved Q-V droop control strategy could have good effects in grid-connected and islanded mode, and during operation mode transitions.
  • Power System with Variable Speed Wind Turbine and Diesel Generation Units

    Hu, Yanting; Chen, Zhe; Glyndwr; Aalborg University (EER, 2014-01-20)
    Thispaper presents a power system consisting of wind turbines, diesel generation units, and energy storage system. Both wind turbines and diesel engine adopt variable speed operation mode;and power electronic interface are used for the generation units which provide flexible and wide range of control on the power. The system configuration, characteristics, operation principles are presented. The controller and control strategies are discussed. The simulation studies have been performed and the results are presented.

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