The manipulation of electromagnetic signals lies at the core of all modern technology and so electromagnetic measurements naturally play a key role in ensuring the effectiveness of technological solutions. The wide breadth of coverage of electromagnetic science and engineering is mirrored by NPL's broad commitment to electromagnetic metrology.
The laboratory maintains one of the world's most comprehensive national capabilities for measuring electromagnetic quantities across the spectrum from DC via RF and microwave up to terahertz frequencies and beyond. NPL's national electromagnetic standards form the basis of a UK traceability chain that ensures that all companies, institutions and research labs in the UK can have access to accurate reliable standards that are constantly updated to ensure their continued relevance.
As part of NPL's role to support UK technological innovation, the laboratory provides consultancy on electromagnetic measurement and supports R&D in areas that are important for the national economy. At DC & LF the lab is a world leader in the development of harmonics and flicker analysis techniques as well as the development of instrumentation for the operation of electrical quantum standards (Josephson effect voltage standard and Quantum Hall resistance standard). At RF and microwave frequencies the laboratory has a excellent research facilities in digital waveform measurement and developing a new capability in wireless communications. The laboratory is also one of the only in the world with expertise in metrology to support exposure standards of field strength and specific absorption rate.
Electromagnetics science areas
- The Terahertz (THz) gap, has remained relatively unexplored due to limitation in generating, detecting and manipulating the radiation. Terahertz radiaton has recently been shown to have some very useful applications in medical imaging, security screening, materials testing and understanding biological processes in proteins and DNA.