Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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Loughborough University

5G Research Centre (5GRC)

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Lboro/Antalis Wearable Biodegradable Antennas PhD studentship awarded

22 August 2014

Wearable Biodegradable Antennas for Short-Life Cycle Communications Devices using Renewable Resource High Impedance Surfaces

The centre is pleased to annouce that a successful candidate for this PhD has now been chosen. The name of the lucky applicant will be announced in early October to coincide with the start of the project.1

New wearable electronic devices such as mobile phones and sensors will soon become extremely popular but just like today these popular mass-market devices will be fashion items that need not last very long. Common sense then to either build them out of renewable resources such as paper or make it easy to get back and reuse the ever scarcer metals such as copper. The Centre for Mobile Communications at Loughborough University and antalis© are working together on this project to research and make environmentally friendly Wearable Biodegradable Antennas for mobile communications using advanced electromagnetic materials made of paper.  

Supervisors Dr Rob Edwards (Centre for Mobile Communications) & Prof. Yiannis Vardaxoglou

Industrial Partner

antalis UK.

Mr Matthew Botfield (Environmental Manager)


Material choices in mobile communications devices such as handsets and wearable electronics will continue to have a huge and increasing impact on the environment. This collaborative PhD project between Loughborough University and antalis will research low carbon impact paper and card mounted high-impedance antennas for current and future digital technologies. Although metamaterial generally refers broadly to any synthetic material with unusual refractive properties we intend to use high impedance surfaces mounted on paper, to produce antennas that are easily recyclable.

The use of renewable resources is a growing trend. However, the use of recyclable materials in portable electronics, particularly printed circuit boards and antenna substrates, is not yet common. This is not and ideal state since like current mobile phones, future devices such as wearable multimedia players, sensors for personal area networks and wearable handsets will be extremely common but also may have comparatively short life cycles.

Within the research challenge of Future Technologies, this studentship compliments the successful bid “Building a research future in digital communications for Loughborough University” and in particular ‘we will advance antennas for wearable communications [in the context of] metamaterials’ and that ‘we will [build] a research activity in Digital Communications’.


For training in research techniques, antenna design and metamaterial theory, the student would initially be based at Loughborough and then move to LUiL for extended periods of collaboration with the Industrial Partner antalis.  antalis have a turnover of over 2 billion and operate over more than forty countries and have offices in London close to LUiL and Coalville close to Loughborough. They are the largest supplier of paper in Europe. It is anticipated that the collaboration will involve familiarization with paper and card manufacturing processes with antalis and the characterization of materials for high impedance metamaterial antennas at Loughborough.


The centre for mobile communication research will provide access to software and training for the design and test of metamaterials. Staff at Loughborough will oversea the project and seek to strengthen ties with Industry and the new campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. Staff within the Centre for Renewable Energy Technology and researchers at the University of Bath are also expected to contribute. Technical advice on the environmental impact of the new antennas will be provided by antalis via Green Connection as well sourcing of samples and interfacing with other manufacturers of product.

antalis wishes to establish itself as an undisputed green leader in the paper industry, and by providing benefit in kind to the project they hope to discover new uses for their products, new and existing, that offer environmental advantages over existing wearable antennas. As experts in card and paper they will provide expertise in paper and card as well as advice on sustainable environmental solutions as well as opportunities for guided learning within their industry.



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