Saturday, March 2, 2024

Advancing Telecommunication Networks Through Accurate Permittivity Measurement

By Akanksha Sondhi Gaur

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Researchers innovate a method to measure permittivity with precision, potentially enhancing the design of sensitive radio receivers for telescopes and contributing to the evolution of next-generation telecommunication networks.

Communication technology for Internet business. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
Communication technology for Internet business. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

Permittivity describes how electrons in an insulator respond to voltage, which is crucial for understanding radio wave behaviour in insulators. It’s vital in developing telecommunications equipment, particularly in materials for circuit boards and structures. Measurable only at specific frequencies, determining permittivity requires accuracy. If high precision is needed for each measurement, it can extend the development process. In radio astronomy, understanding permittivity in radio receivers is also essential.

Researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) have developed a new method to measure insulator permittivity accurately. Inaccurate measurement of material permittivity can lead to a product that fails to meet desired performance. Knowing permittivity accurately from the design phase can minimise unnecessary trial and error, reducing costs.

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 By creating a calculation technique for electromagnetic wave propagation, they formulated an analytical algorithm to determine permittivity rather than approximating it directly. The team applied this technique to assess lens material for an Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) receiver, validating the results with other methods and confirming its practicality in real device development. Several methods measure permittivity, such as resonance and free-space methods, each with drawbacks. The free-space method offers fewer shape restrictions and an easily extended frequency band. A new analysis method with the free-space approach allows accurate permittivity measurement with fewer constraints.

The team mentioned that the technology is anticipated to enhance the creation of sensitive radio receivers for telescopes and aid in developing devices for next-generation networks, Beyond 5G/6G. The method is anticipated to benefit the design of radio telescope components and the development of high-frequency materials and devices for next-generation networks (Beyond 5G/6G) in the millimetre wave/terahertz band. NAOJ and NICT are collaborating on research and development of high-precision measurement systems at these frequencies.

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