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.

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Recent Submissions

  • Low permittivity cordierite-based microwave dielectric ceramics for 5G/6G telecommunications

    Lou, Weichao; Mao, Minmin; Song, Kaixin; Xu, Kuiwen; Liu, Bing; Li, Wenjun; Yang, Bin; Qi, Zeming; Zhao, Jianwei; Sun, Shikuan; et al. (Elsevier, 2022-02-01)
    5G and forthcoming 6G communication systems require dielectric ceramics with low relative permittivity (εr) and near-zero temperature coefficient of resonant frequency (τf) for the lower part of the microwave (MW) band and at sub-Terahertz. Mg2Al4Si5O18 (MAS) ceramics are promising candidates due to their low εr (~6) and high-quality factor (Q×f >40,000 GHz) but have a large f. In this study, 5.5wt% TiO2 (MAS-T5.5) was used to adjust τf of MAS to -2.8 ppm/℃ whilst retaining low εr (5.24) and good Q×f (33,400 GHz), properties consistent with those obtained by infrared reflectance. A demonstrator microstrip patch antenna with gain 4.92dBi and 76.3% efficiency was fabricated from MAS-T5.5.
  • Resolving nanoscopic structuring and interfacial THz dynamics in setting cements

    Song, Fu V.; Yang, Bin; Di Tommaso, Devis; Donnan, Robert S.; Chass, Gregory A.; Yada, Rickey Y.; Farrar, David H.; Tian, Kun V.; Queen Mary University of London; University of Chester; The University of British Columbia; McMaster University; Sapienza University of Rome (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2022-05-16)
    The setting dynamics of two commercial cements have been tracked over >24 hours of setting with non-destructive THz spectroscopy and neutron scattering. Two established glass ionomer cements (GICs) were measured, both exhibiting similar and commercially agreeable non-linear settings associated with changes in interfacial particle dynamics through variations in their collective low-energy vibrations. Structural evolutions in the ∼1–30 nm range were correlated with changes in small angle neutron scattering (SANS) profiles over setting. Accompanying models of the interfacial structures and the amorphous glass components of the cements helped make the dynamic and structural trends comprehensible. The combined observations helped elucidate key temporal features in the setting of the cements, whilst suggesting the functional role played by the THz vibrations, in particular at dynamically coordinated interfacial Al-atom pivots. The insights obtained could help evolve nano-scopic strategies to optimise cements and their eventual properties.
  • Aircraft Electrical Propulsion for High-Speed Flight: Rim Driven Fan (RDF) Technology

    Vagapov, Yuriy; Day, Richard; Anuchin, Alecksey; Bolam, Robert C. (University of ChesterWrexham Glyndŵr University, 2021-02)
    The aim of this programme of studies is to research and develop electrical Rim Driven Fan (RDF) technology for high-speed aircraft propulsion and to provide knowledge to support Society’s efforts to combat climate change using zero-emission technologies. The objectives were to conduct research into the state-of-the-art of aircraft electrical propulsion, to estimate the performance of single and dual stage contra-rotating fans over a range of diameters, to provide a methodology to enable the aerodynamic design and detailed Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analyses of small contra-rotating fans and to create a conceptual design for an RDF device suitable to power an unmanned aircraft. In completing this work, literature reviews were carried out on electrically powered propulsion for aircraft, electrical motor technologies and rim drive technology for aircraft propulsion. Original research was undertaken in the form of aerodynamic analyses, using derived numerical and CFD techniques, to determine the optimum performance of single and dual stage (contrarotating) rim driven fans for high-speed electric aircraft applications. Original research was also undertaken in the form of electrical analyses using Motor-CAD finite element software to analyse the feasibility of novel rim-drive concepts such as slotless stator designs, aluminium windings and iron-less rotors with Halbach magnet arrays in an RDF context. The results of these studies have contributed new knowledge that has been peer-reviewed and internationally published. An original RDF design concept, suitable to power an unmanned aircraft, was devised and a UK patent application filed. The main findings of this work are that RDF technology offers a viable means of high-speed aircraft propulsion with a dual-stage contrarotating, air-cooled fan arrangement. That optimum RDF power density is achieved with slotless windings and iron-less rotors configured with Halbach magnet arrays which reduce their rotating mass. These findings have enabled a feasible novel RDF design to be created which is a significant contribution in the field of electrical aircraft propulsion. The results of this work also contribute the significant new knowledge that dual stage contra-rotating RDF configurations provide the potential for an increase in thrust per frontal area, and higher exhaust-air velocities, when compared with existing hub-driven fan technologies. This work has established a novel fan design technique, that can be used by technologists to analyse and design future electrical fan concepts, and offers a significant contribution towards Society’s efforts to combat climate change with zero-emission technologies. Opportunities for further areas of study in this field are in the analyses of large diameter high thrust versions of RDFs suitable for large manned aircraft and hovercraft applications.
  • Terahertz Characterisation of Lead-Free Dielectrics for Different Applications

    Zhang, Man; Zhang, Hangfeng; Jiang, Qinghui; Gao, Feng; Chen, Riqing; Zhang, Dou; Reece, Michael J.; Yang, Bin; Viola, Giuseppe; Yan, Haixue; et al. (American Chemical Society, 2021-11-02)
    In this Spotlight on Applications, we describe our recent progress on the terahertz (THz) characterization of linear and non-linear dielectrics for broadening their applications in different electrical devices. We begin with a discussion on the behavior of dielectrics over a broadband of frequencies and describe the main characteristics of ferroelectrics, as an important category of non-linear dielectrics. We then move on to look at the influence of point defects, porosity and interfaces, including grain boundaries and domain walls, on the dielectric properties at THz frequencies. Based on our studies on linear dielectrics, we show that THz characterization is able to probe the effect of porosities, point defects, shear planes and grain boundaries to improve dielectric properties for telecommunication applications. Further, we demonstrate that THz measurements on relaxor ferroelectrics can be successfully used to study the reversibility of the electric field-induced phase transitions, providing guidance for improving their energy storage efficiency in capacitors. Finally, we show that THz characterization can be used to characterize the effect of domain walls in ferroelectrics. In particular, our studies indicate that the dipoles located within domain walls provide a lower contribution to the permittivity at THz frequencies than the dipoles present in domains. The new findings could help develop a new memory device based on non-destructive reading operations using a THz beam.
  • Terahertz probing of low temperature degradation in zirconia bioceramics

    Ahmed, Shafique; Zhang, Man; Koval, Vladimir; Zou, Lifong; Shen, Zhijian; Chen, Riqing; Yang, Bin; Yan, Haixue; Queen Mary University of London; Mehran University of Engineering and Technology; Institute of Materials Research; Stockholm University; Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University; University of Chester (Wiley, 2021-09-19)
    ZrO2 based ceramics are widely used in biomedical applications due to its colour, biocompatibility, and excellent mechanical properties. However, low temperature degradation (LTD) introduces a potential risk for long-term reliability of these materials. The development of innovative non-destructive techniques, which can explore LTD in zirconia-derived compounds, is strongly required. Yttria stabilised zirconia, 3Y-TZP, is one of the well-developed ZrO2 based ceramics with the improved resistance to LTD for dental crown and implant applications. Here, 3Y-TZP ceramic powders were pressed and sintered to study the LTD phenomenon by phase transition behaviour. The LTD driven tetragonal-to-monoclinic phase transition was confirmed by XRD. XPS analysis demonstrated the LTD induced the reduction of oxygen vacancies to support these findings. It is proved that after the degradation the 3Y-TZP ceramics show the decreased dielectric permittivity at terahertz frequencies due to the crystallographic phase transformation. Terahertz non-destructive probe is a promising method to investigate LTD in zirconia ceramics.
  • Characterization of microwave and terahertz dielectric properties of single crystal La2Ti2O7 along one single direction

    Zhang, Man; Tang, Zhiyong; Zhang, Hangfeng; Smith, Graham; Jiang, Qinghui; Saunders, Theo; Yang, Bin; Yan, Haixue; Huazhong University of Science and Technology; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London; Chinese Academy of Sciences (Elsevier, 2021-08-02)
    New generation wireless communication systems require characterisations of dielectric permittivity and loss tangent at microwave and terahertz bands. La2Ti2O7 is a candidate material for microwave application. However, all the reported microwave dielectric data are average value from different directions of a single crystal, which could not reflect its anisotropic nature due to the layered crystal structure. Its dielectric properties at the microwave and terahertz bands in a single crystallographic direction have rarely been reported. In this work, a single crystal ferroelectric La2Ti2O7 was prepared by floating zone method and its dielectric properties were characterized from 1 kHz to 1 THz along one single direction. The decrease in dielectric permittivity with increasing frequency is related to dielectric relaxation from radio frequency to microwave then to terahertz band. The capability of characterizing anisotropic dielectric properties of a single crystal in this work opens the feasibility for its microwave and terahertz applications.
  • Millimeter-Wave Free-Space Dielectric Characterization

    Liu, Xiaoming; Gan, Lu; Yang, Bin; Anhui Normal University; Wuhu CEPREI Information Industry Technology Research Institute; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-05-07)
    Millimeter wave technologies have widespread applications, for which dielectric permittivity is a fundamental parameter. The non-resonant free-space measurement techniques for dielectric permittivity using vector network analysis in the millimeter wave range are reviewed. An introductory look at the applications, significance, and properties of dielectric permittivity in the millimeter wave range is addressed first. The principal aspects of free-space millimeter wave measurement methods are then discussed, by assessing a variety of systems, theoretical models, extraction algorithms and calibration methods. In addition to conventional solid dielectric materials, the measurement of artificial metamaterials, liquid, and gaseous-phased samples are separately investigated. The pros of free-space material extraction methods are then compared with resonance and transmission line methods, and their future perspective is presented in the concluding part.
  • Volatile Liquid Detection by Terahertz Technologies

    Baxter, Harry W.; Worrall, Adam A.; Pang, Jie; Chen, Riqing; Yang, Bin; University of Chester; Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (Frontiers Media, 2021-04-08)
    The prospect of being able to move through security without the inconvenience of separating liquids from bags is an exciting one for passengers, and there are important operational benefits for airports as well. Here, two terahertz (THz) systems, 100 GHz sub-THz line scanner and attenuation total reflection-based THz time domain spectroscopy (TDS), have been used to demonstrate the capability of identifying different liquid samples. Liquid samples’ THz complex permittivities are measured and their differences have contributed to the variation of 100 GHz 2D images of volatile liquids with different volumes inside of cannister bottles. The acquired attenuation images at 100 GHz can easily be used to distinguish highly absorbed liquids (Water, Ethanol, Fuel Treatment Chemicals) and low loss liquids (Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene and Universal Bottle Cleaner). The results give a promising feasibility for mm-wave imager and THz spectroscopy to efficiently identify different volatile liquids.
  • Terahertz reading of ferroelectric domain wall dielectric switching

    Zhang, Man; Chen, Zhe; Yue, Yajun; Chen, Tao; Yan, Zhongna; Jiang, Qinghui; Yang, Bin; Eriksson, Mirva; Tang, Jianhua; Zhang, Dou; et al. (American Chemical Society, 2021-03-08)
    Ferroelectric domain walls (DWs) are important nano scale interfaces between two domains. It is widely accepted that ferroelectric domain walls work idly at terahertz (THz) frequencies, consequently discouraging efforts to engineer the domain walls to create new applications that utilise THz radiation. However, the present work clearly demonstrates the activity of domain walls at THz frequencies in a lead free Aurivillius phase ferroelectric ceramic, Ca0.99Rb0.005Ce0.005Bi2Nb2O9, examined using THz time domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS). The dynamics of domain walls are different at kHz and THz frequencies. At low frequencies, domain walls work as a group to increase dielectric permittivity. At THz frequencies, the defective nature of domain walls serves to lower the overall dielectric permittivity. This is evidenced by higher dielectric permittivity in the THz band after poling, reflecting decreased domain wall density. An elastic vibrational model has also been used to verify that a single frustrated dipole in a domain wall represents a weaker contribution to the permittivity than its counterpart within a domain. The work represents a fundamental breakthrough in understanding dielectric contributions of domain walls at THz frequencies. It also demonstrates that THz probing can be used to read domain wall dielectric switching.
  • Enhanced design of an offgrid PV-battery-methanation hybrid energy system for power/gas supply

    Xu, x; Hu, W; Cao, D; Liu, W; Huang, Q; Hu, Y; Chen, Z; University of ESTC; Utrecht University; University of Chester; Aalborg University
    Extensive studies have been carried out on various hybrid energy systems (HESs) for providing electricity to off-grid areas. However, a standalone HES that is capable of providing power and gas, has been less studied. In this paper, a standalone Photovoltaic (PV)-battery-methanation HES is proposed to provide adequate, reliable and cost-effective electricity and gas to the local consumers. Identifying a potential solution to maximize the reliability of the system, asked by consumers, and to minimize costs required by the investors is challenging. Bi-level programming is adopted in this study to tackle the pre-mentioned issue. In the outer layer, an optimal design is obtained by means of particle swarm optimization. In the inner layer, an optimal operation strategy is found under the optimal design of the outer layer using sequential quadratic programming. The results indicate that 1) The bi-level programming used in this study can find the optimal solution; 2) The proposed HES is proved to be able to supply power and gas simultaneously. 3) Compared with the right most and leftmost points on Pareto set, the total costs are reduced by 17.77% and 2.16%.
  • Ultrafast Electric Field-induced Phase Transition in Bulk Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3 under High Intensity Terahertz Irradiation

    Yang, Bin; Zhang, Man; McKinnon, Ruth A.; Viola, Giuseppe; Zhang, Dou; Reece, Michael J.; Abrahams, Isaac; Yan, Haixue; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London; Central South University (American Chemical Society, 2020-12-22)
    Ultrafast polarization switching is being considered for the next generation of ferroelectric based devices. Recently, the dynamics of the field-induced transitions associated with this switching have been difficult to explore, due to technological limitations. The advent of terahertz (THz) technology has now allowed for the study of these dynamic processes on the picosecond (ps) scale. In this paper, intense terahertz (THz) pulses were used as a high-frequency electric field to investigate ultrafast switching in the relaxor ferroelectric, Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3. Transient atomic-scale responses, which were evident as changes in reflectivity, were captured by THz probing. The high energy THz pulses induce an increase in reflectivity, associated with an ultrafast field-induced phase transition from a weakly polar phase (Cc) to a strongly polar phase (R3c) within 20 ps at 200 K. This phase transition was confirmed using X-ray powder diffraction and by electrical measurements which showed a decrease in the frequency dispersion of relative permittivity at low frequencies.
  • Enhanced design of an offgrid PV-battery-methanation hybrid energy system for power/gas supply

    Xu, Xiao; Hu, Weihao; Cao, Di; Liu, Wen; Huang, Qi; Hu, Yanting; Chen, Zhe
    Extensive studies have been carried out on various hybrid energy systems (HESs) for providing electricity to off-grid areas. However, a standalone HES that is capable of providing power and gas, has been less studied. In this paper, a standalone Photovoltaic (PV)-battery-methanation HES is proposed to provide adequate, reliable and cost-effective electricity and gas to the local consumers. Identifying a potential solution to maximize the reliability of the system, asked by consumers, and to minimize costs required by the investors is challenging. Bi-level programming is adopted in this study to tackle the pre-mentioned issue. In the outer layer, an optimal design is obtained by means of particle swarm optimization. In the inner layer, an optimal operation strategy is found under the optimal design of the outer layer using sequential quadratic programming. The results indicate that 1) The bi-level programming used in this study can find the optimal solution; 2) The proposed HES is proved to be able to supply power and gas simultaneously. 3) Compared with the right most and leftmost points on Pareto set, the total costs are reduced by 17.77% and 2.16%.
  • Structure and dielectric properties of double A-site doped bismuth sodium titanate relaxor ferroelectrics for high power energy storage applications

    Yang, Bin; Zhang, Hangfeng; Fortes, Dominic; Yan, Haixue; Abrahams, Isaac; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London; Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
    The structural and dielectric properties of barium/strontium substituted Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3 were examined in compositions of general formula (Ba0.4Sr0.6TiO3)x(Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3)1-x. An average classic cubic perovskite structure is maintained from x = 0.5 to 1.0. The temperature dependence of dielectric properties of studied compositions shows relaxor-ferroelectric behaviour attributed to the existence of polar nano-regions. Ferroelectric measurements under variable temperature demonstrated two transitions from normal ferroelectric to relaxor-ferroelectric and relaxor-ferroelectric to paraelectric, at the dipole freezing temperature, Tf, and temperature of maximum permittivity, Tm, respectively. The obtained value of Tf coincides with the onset of linear thermal expansion of the cubic unit cell parameter obtained from high resolution powder neutron diffraction data. Careful analysis of the neutron diffraction data revealed no significant change in the average cubic structure from -263 to 150 C. However, changes in the Gaussian variance component of the neutron peak shape, reveal three distinct regions with transitions at about -100 and 100 C corresponding to the beginning and end of the dielectric dispersion seen in the permittivity and loss spectra. This variation in the Gaussian variance parameter is attributed to the activity of the polar nano-regions. The composition (Ba0.4Sr0.6)0.5(Bi0.5Na0.5)0.5TiO3 was found to exhibit the maximum recoverable energy storage density, with a value of 1.618 J cm-3 and 76.9% storage efficiency at a field of 17 kV mm-1.
  • Multiscale Understanding of Electric Polarization in Poly(vinylidene fluoride)-Based Ferroelectric Polymers

    Yang, Bin; Meng, Nan; Xintong, Ren; Zhu, Xiaojing; Wu, Jiyue; Gao, Feng; Zhang, Han; Liao, Yaozu; Bilotti, Emiliano; Reece, Michael; et al.
    Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and PVDF-based copolymers with trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE) have attracted considerable academic and industrial interest due to their ferroelectric properties, which are only presented in very few polymers. However, the underlying fundamentals of molecular ordering and induced polarizations are complex and not fully understood. Herein, PVDF, PVDF-TrFE and their blends, prepared using melt extrusion and hot pressing, have been selected to obtain controlled case studies with well-defined chain ordering and microstructures. Impedance analysis and terahertz time-domain spectroscopy are exploited to investigate electric polarization in PVDF-based polymers at different length scales. The extruded ferroelectric films show in-plane chain orientation and higher domain wall density compared to hot pressed films with randomly-distributed polymer chains, which favors the polarization at low frequencies (Hz to MHz), as concluded from the higher dielectric constants and more prominent high electric field polarization switching features. However, the domain walls cannot respond at high frequencies, which leads to lower dielectric constants in the extruded films at THz frequencies.
  • Terahertz Signatures of Hydrate Formation in Alkali Halide Solutions

    Ligang, Chen; Ren, Guanhua; Liu, Liyuan; Guo, Pan; Wan, Endong; Zhou, Lu; Zhu, Zhonglie; Zhang, Jianbing; Yang, Bin; Zhang, Wentao; et al.
    We systematically studied the ability of 20 alkali halides to form solid hydrates in the frozen state from their aqueous solutions by terahertz time-domain spectroscopy combined with density functional theory (DFT) calculations. We experimentally observed the rise of new terahertz absorption peaks in the spectral range of 0.3-3.5 THz in frozen alkali halide solutions. The DFT calculations prove that the rise of observed new peaks in solutions containing Li+, Na+ or F‾ ions indicates the formation of salt hydrates, while that in other alkali halide solutions is caused by the splitting phonon modes of the imperfectly crystallized salts in ice. As a simple empirical rule, the correlation between the terahertz signatures and the ability of 20 alkali halides to form a hydrate has been established.
  • Domain wall free polar structure enhanced photodegradation activity in nanoscale ferroelectric BaxSr1-xTiO3

    Wang, Yaqiong; Zhang, Man; Jianguo, Liu; Zhang, Haibin; Li, Feng; Tseng, Chiao-Wei; Yang, Bin; Smith, Graham C.; Zhai, Jiwei; Zhang, Zhen; et al.
    Ferroelectric materials exhibit anomalous behavior due to the presence of domains and domain walls which are related to the spontaneous polarization inherent in the crystal structure. Control of ferroelectric domains and domain walls has been used to enhance device performances in ultrasound, pyroelectric detectors and photovoltaic systems with renewed interest in nanostructuring for energy applications. It is also known that the ferroelectric including domain walls can double photocatalytic rate and increase carrier lifetime from μs to ms[1] However, there remains a lack of understanding on the different contributions of the domain and domain walls to photo-catalytic activities. Herein it is found, by comparing samples of nanostructured BaxSr1 xTiO3 with and without a polar domain, that the material with polar domains has a faster reaction rate (k=0.18 min-1) than the non polar one (k = 0.11 min-1). It is further revealed that the observed enhanced photoactivity of perovskite ferroelectric materials stems from the inherent polarization of the domain instead of domain walls. Here, the new understanding of the underlying physics of materials with a spontaneous dipole opens a door to enhance the performance of light induced energy harvesting systems.
  • Probing NaCl hydrate formation from aqueous solutions by Terahertz Time-Domain Spectroscopy

    Yang, Bin; University of Chester
    The cooling-induced formation of hydrate in aqueous NaCl solutions was probed using terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS). It was found that the NaCl hydrate formation is accompanied with emergence of four new absorption peaks at 1.60, 2.43, 3.34 and 3.78 THz. Combining the X-ray diffraction measurement with the solid-state based density functional theory (DFT) calculations, we assign the observed terahertz absorption peaks to the vibrational modes of the formed NaCl⋅2H2O hydrate during cooling. This work dedicates THz-TDS based analysis great potential in studying ionic hydrate and the newly revealed collective vibrational modes could be the sensitive indicators to achieve quantitative analysis in phase transitions and lattice dynamics.
  • Overcurrent relays coordination optimisation methods in distribution systems for microgrids: a review

    Abeid, S; Hu, Yanting; University of Chester
    Electric power networks connected with multiple distributed generations (microgrids) require adequate protection coordination. In this paper, the overcurrent relay coordination concept in distribution system has been presented with details. In this available literature, the previous works on optimisation methods utilised for the coordination of over current relays; classification has been made based on the optimisation techniques, non-standard characteristics, new constraints that have been proposed for optimal coordination and dual setting protection schemes. Then a comprehensive review has been done on optimisation techniques including the conventional methods, heuristic and hybrid methods and the relevant issues have been addressed.
  • Mechanism between Material Microstructures and Terahertz Dielectric Properties

    Yang, Bin; University of Chester (IEEE, 2019-10-21)
    Significant progress has been made in developing reliable Terahertz (THz) measurement spectroscopy to extract materials’ dielectric properties, however, systematic research on exploring intrinsic mechanism between microstructure of ceramics and THz dielectric properties such as loss, permittivity and dispersive characters has barely started. The paper focuses on one dielectric ceramic system (TiO2), its addition with Zn2SiO4 dielectrics and one hexa-ferromagnetic system to expatiate the association.
  • Terahertz Probing Irreversible Phase Transitions Related to Polar Clusters in Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3-based Ferroelectric

    Yang, Bin; University of Chester (Wiley-VCH, 2020-02-16)
    Electric-field-induced phase transitions in Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3 (BNT)-based relaxor ferroelectrics are essential to the controlling of their electrical properties and consequently in revolutionizing their dielectric and piezoelectric applications. However, the fundamental understanding of these transitions is a long-standing challenge due to their complex crystal structures. Given the structural inhomogeneity at the nanoscale or sub-nanoscale in these materials, dielectric response characterization based on terahertz (THz) electromagnetic-probe beam-fields, is intrinsically coordinated to lattice dynamics during DC-biased poling cycles. The complex permittivity reveals the field-induced phase transitions to be irreversible. This profoundly counters the claim of reversibility, the conventional support for which, is based upon the peak that is manifest in each of four quadrants of the current-field curves. The mechanism of this irreversibility is solely attributed to polar clusters in the transformed lattices. These represent an extrinsic factor which is quiescent in the THz spectral domain.

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