UoA 24: Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Our research spans the range of the subject from fundamental materials investigations to large-scale systems studies. We collaborate closely with staff returned in UoAs 4, 12, 14, 15, 18, 19 and 23 and with other engineering disciplines covered by Main Panel G. Some of these collaborations are in topical research groupings drawing staff from several departments, whilst some are large-scale collaborative Centres, such as the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN), UCL’s Adastral Park campus and the UCL Centre for Security and Crime Science. Researchers are attached to a department, to a Centre, or to both, with increasing use being made of joint appointments. UCL considers that this interdisciplinary approach is vital to solving contemporary research problems.

We are a determinedly experimental Department with correspondingly large infrastructure requirements, which we have met through the advances described below, representing some £32 million investment in state-of-the-art research facilities since 2001.

The Department operates MRes, MPhil, EngD and PhD Programmes, the majority of studentships being collaborative with industry or other research organisations. Research student headcount is given, by Group, in Section 1.5, together with the number of doctoral graduations. Fractional headcounts indicate a student jointly supervised by another UoA. The UCL Graduate School runs a full Skills Development Programme for research students, designed to cover the range of skills set out in the UK Research Councils’ Joint Statement of Skills Training Requirements of Research Postgraduates.

In our 2001 RAE submission our stated strategy for the following 5 years was to achieve internationally leading results in each of our chosen areas of specialisation. We recognised that to achieve this it was necessary to implement a major upgrade to our research infrastructure and an increase in interdisciplinary collaboration. At the time of the 2001 RAE the award to us of a £2.4 million JIF grant to create the Advanced Communications Engineering Research Laboratories had just been announced. At the same time, we were able to leverage the award monies with some £0.7 million of donations from the Agilent Philanthropy Program and JREI grants with our industrial collaborators to upgrade our measurement capabilities dramatically, so that we now have coaxial vector network and spectrum analysis capability to 110 GHz, bit-error-rate testing to 40 Gbit/s (multiple systems), lightwave component analysis to 50 GHz and free-space measurement capabilities up to 10 THz- facilities equalling or exceeding those of our research competitors in industry and universities world-wide.

A second initiative to promote interdisciplinary research and industrial collaboration anticipated in the 2001 RAE submission was the creation of UCL’s Adastral Park campus as a joint venture between our departments of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to promote research and advanced teaching in Information and Communication Technologies. This new Centre has attracted support exceeding £7.5 million (BT £4.1 million, East of England Development Agency (EEDA) £2 million), which has allowed the building up of the Centre to a vibrant community of 10 academic staff (3 being joint appointments with Electronic and Electrical Engineering) and 24 research students. 

The third major initiative envisaged in our 2001 RAE submission was the creation of a nanotechnology research centre, with the planned construction of a three-storey laboratory building. We were able to exceed our original plan dramatically, with the support of SRIF and industrial funding and in collaboration with Imperial College, to create the £20 million London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) in a new eight-storey building on our main Bloomsbury campus. This provides 280 m2 of new Class 10,000/100 Clean Rooms with state-of-the-art equipment including nano-probes of various types, focused ion-beam processing, plasma etching and deposition systems for both silicon and III/V material systems, together with e-beam and optical lithography, sputtering and evaporation, rapid thermal processing, cleaving, polishing and bonding systems. This initiative has allowed us to develop interdisciplinary research further, with staff drawn from the departments of Medicine, Life Sciences, Chemistry and Physics at UCL and from Imperial College. We have facilitated this development by agreeing seven joint academic appointments with LCN, including one funded by a joint £5.6 million EPSRC Science and Innovation Award with Imperial College.  In addition LCN has partnered with the Imperial College Institute for Bioengineering to obtain a £5.5 million DTI/LDA project, with Sun Microsystems and Veeco as industrial partners, to develop a nano-biotechnology hub for the nationwide Micro and Nanotechnology (MNT) network. Another LCN success involving several of our Research Groups is the £3.7 million Basic Technology programme on quantum information processing using silicon.

In a further initiative, funded by £1 million from SRIF, we have installed state-of-the-art femtosecond laser probing, scanning probe microscopy and device assessment facilities.  We have also created a fully shielded spherical near-field antenna measurement facility for frequencies up to 40 GHz funded by £0.3 million SRIF funding, the highest performance facility of its type in the UK.

Detailed objectives for the next five years are given for each of our Research Groups, below. At Departmental level, we recognise that success in research requires a critical mass of researchers to assemble the infrastructure and intellectual cross-fertilisation required. We will therefore focus our research in areas where we are recognised as being internationally leading and where there is clear end-user need for our work. We will continue a vertically integrated approach to research, ranging from materials fundamentals to applications studies, thereby substantially increasing the robustness of solutions that we can offer. Our overall funding balance between Research Council (41%), EU (24%) Industry (18%) and Other (17%) reflects this, with systems oriented Groups having a larger EU/Industry component than device oriented Groups.

Over the next five years our principal themes for research will be broadband access systems using fixed and wireless technologies; the creation of advanced interoperable networks; new information processing devices, including quantum devices, to overcome contemporary speed limitations; silicon photonics; sensors of all types and their integration for security and healthcare applications. To implement these themes we have expanded staffing from the 2001 RAE Submission level of 28.4 FTE to 33, building to 35 by January 1 2008, through a number of key appointments in these strategic areas– for example, the considerable expansion of our optical networks theme (Mikhailov, Savory, Thomsen); a strengthening of our nanotechnology presence (Curson, Nathan, Romans); expansion of our capabilities in THz technology and nanophotonics (Liu, Mitrofanov, Panoiu and Renaud) and expansion of our research on coding and IP networks with the contracted appointments by January 2008 of Andreopoulos (UCLA/QMUL) and Pavlou (University of Surrey).

Research in the Department is organised in five Research Groups, shown below. Heads of Research Groups are marked in bold. Staff holding personal research fellowships (all with continuing academic appointments) are marked*, industrially sponsored chairs+ and Royal Society (RS)-Wolfson Research Merit Awards$. Early career researchers are underlined and the names of principal Visiting Professors are in italics.

Communications & Information Systems (CISG) Electronic Materials & Devices (EMDG) Optical Networks (ONG) Photonics (PG) Sensors Systems & Circuits (SSCG)
Prof I Darwazeh Prof I Boyd Prof P Bayvel$ Prof A Seeds Prof C Baker+
Prof I Cox+$ Dr N Curson Dr R Killey Dr S Day Prof P Brennan
Dr G Doerr Dr R Jackman Dr V Mikhailov* Dr A Fernandez Dr A Demosthenous
Dr J Mitchell Dr A Kenyon Dr S Savory* Dr H Liu* Prof N Donaldson
Dr M Rio Prof A Nathan+$ Dr B Thomsen* Dr N Panoiu Dr O Mitrofanov
Dr K Wong Dr E Romans*   Dr C Renaud Dr K Tong
Dr Y Yang Dr P Warburton   D Selviah Dr K Woodbridge
Prof N Thornhill
(Imperial College)
Prof A Ramirez (Bell Labs., Murray Hill) Prof A Willner (USC) Prof C Park (OCP) Prof R Benjamin (formerly GCHQ)
Prof S Watts
(Thales)
Prof S Parkin (IBM Almaden) Prof L Laycock (BAE Systems) Prof A Hadjifotiou (formerly Nortel) Prof. H Griffiths (Cranfield)


Download full text of the RA5a statement for Electical & Electronic Engineering (pdf 204Kb)

Staff names below link to submitted publications:

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