The research activities in the field of RF and microwave techniques are divided into the main fields antennas – circuits – RF-MEMS, in all of which highly challenging R&D projects are being conducted. In the framework of laboratory programmes, Bachelor-, Master-, and dissertation theses, students gain professional knowledge and experiences, about the topical issues and methods on the one hand, and on the other hand on skills like time management, team work, presentation, and project administration. Interlaced supervision and instruction strategies assure indivdual development and the best possible success. Our projects reflect the latest developments of fore-front research. They offer a rich spectrum of activities, including numerical design and simulation, fabrication technologies, and experimental characterisation. Practical relevance, proximity to industrial needs, and application orientation are basic features of our research activities.
The research and development of antennas can be summarised by keywords like smaller – better – invisible. These claims lead to challenging research problems including the minia-turisation of antenna elements and arrays, increasing operational frequencies and fre-quency bandwidths, and adding adaptivity or functionality. Associated research topics in-clude ultra-wideband antennas, tracking antennas, or conformal antennas. Applications concern mobile communications, radar techniques for biomedical diagnosis, satellite-based navigation and communication, and radio sensor technologies.
The research and development of RF and microwave circuitry can be summarised by keywords like speed – efficiency – integration. Associated research topics include the development of novel circuit architectures on the basis of the latest semiconductor technologies. Furthermore, novel natural and artificial materials are being investigated and optimised with respect to their applicability for compact and low-loss passive and active circuits like switched high-frequency amplifiers, and tunable filters, lumped-element, or transmission line networks. Finally, fabrication techniques like the ceramic multilayer technology LTCC or silicon technologies play a key role, as these present a favourable approach to hybrid or even monolithic integration of complex modules.
The research and development of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) for RF and microwave applications holds new and fascinating promises for circuit layout, performance, and integration. Functions that could been achieved only by semiconductor electronics until recently, can now be accomplished also by microemechanical effects, thanks to the latest fabrication technologies. Prominent examples include switches, controllable resonators, filters, and oscillators. Innumerable applications could benefit from this new poten-tial, which would inspire the progress of wireless sensor technologies in our daily environment, in favour of the quality and safety of life.
Virtual test environment for automotive wireless systems
The Virtual Road – Simulation and Test Area VISTA is operated by the HMT research group in the key competence field “Wireless and information technologies” of the Thuringian Center of Innovation in Mobility. This unique research infrastructure enables a combination of wireless and automotive measurement techniques, which are indispensable for the research of automated and connected driving. One focus area is the research of virtual test environments for a near-realistic verification and validation of such different wireless automotive functionalities as mobile communications (LTE, ITS-G5, 5G), broadcast (DAB, DVB), radar systems, and satellite navigation, including aspects of electromagnetic (environmental) compatibility. The modern equipment of this complex measurement lab benefits from close cooperation with industry, e.g., the AVL List GmbH known for their development of automotive test infrastructure.
In addition to the above mentioned four main fields of research, special topics are pursued that arise from industrial needs for various applications, e.g., wireless consumer electronics, smart metering, and household appliances.
The Research Lab hosts extended modern facilities for computing, numerical simulations, analysis, and measurement in dedicated research laboratories like an anechoic chamber for antenna measurements, the automotive test facility “virtual road – simulation and test area”, and waferprober stations. In addition to ThIMo, another technological center of the University, the Center for Micro- and Nanotechnologies (ZMN), provides access to the latest fabrication technologies and microstructure analyses. Making use of industrial foundries, modern techniques for integrated semiconductor circuits can also be employed eventually.
Frequent and diverse possibilities for a pronounced interdisciplinary team work with other research laboratories of the University or national and international groups are connected to our research projects. Contacts exist to numerous industrial partners, academic research institutions, and to European, Russian, Japanese, Pakistani and American Universities as well.