UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Dr Arni McKinley

Dr Arni McKinley

UCL Teaching Fellow

Dept of Electronic & Electrical Eng

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
5th Jan 2015

Research summary

I have three equally strong interests: nano-ring structures for use on meta-materials, loop antennas for use in THz communications, and Renewable Energy issues, particularly integration of rooftop solar photovoltaics on the electrical grid. In the last, I am focusing on embedded self-sufficient micro-grids; these are localised virtual power plants that are always connected to the grid.

• Nano-scaled rings can be used in the microwave region for meta-materials and in the microwave, terahertz (THz), and infrared regions for communications. The THz band is expected to open during the next five years, and these rings structures will make excellent antennas. I am currently looking for high dielectric, low loss material to use in fabricating nano-rings in the infra-red and optical regions.

• I am actively looking for ways of solving the "Duck Problem", wherein the use of solar PV reduces the need of fossil fuel plant generation during the midday. Shutdown of these plants is costly and is one major reason that utilities hesitate in their support for PV solar and wind. This is a knotty issue in the US, Australia and in some countries in Eastern Europe. My answer so far is embedded virtual power plants. Embedded virtual power plants are self-sufficient micro-grids that remain embedded on the main grid, buying and selling energy via the cloud.

Springer-Verlag is currently publishing my book, "The Analytical Foundations of Loop Antennas and Nano-scaled Rings."

Teaching summary

Dr. McKinley teaches the Renewable Energy Systems module in the EEE department and portions of the appropriate Energy in Practice module in the CEGE department. He is also coordinating Second Year laboratories, third year BEng projects and 4th year MEng projects for the department.


Australian National University
Doctorate, Doctor of Engineering | 2014


Arnold McKinley received his PhD degree from The Australian National University in 2014 for his work on the resonances of meta-material split-rings for use as nano-antennas on solar cells. He holds a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering (1972) and a Master's degree in Engineering-Economic Systems (1973), both from Stanford University. He also holds a Master's degree in Comparative Religions (1989) from the Graduate Theological Union Berkeley.

Dr. McKinley worked at the Institute for Energy Studies at Stanford and in the Center for the Study of Social Policy at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in the 1970s. In the early 1980's he taught at San Diego State University in the departments of Physics and Electrical Engineering. For the next 25 years, he worked on contract and internally for various scientific laboratories and institutions, including Apple Computer, X-Rite technology Center, Minolta Laboratory Systems, and the Centre for Research in Mathematics and Science Education, on a National Science Foundation grant. In 1995 he founded MetaMind Software to develop educational software for engineering and science students.

In 2005, he joined Apparent, where he led program development for "EnergyREView", a browser-based energy monitoring system for renewable energy systems. He later provided the basic mathematics used to explain power factor correction using the company's micro-inverter product on solar modules. He holds two patents with the company.

While at the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems from 2010, he renewed his interest in Renewable Energy and is currently working on issues concerned with the integration of renewables on the electricity grid in the US, Australia and Europe.