Communications

Detail of a circuit board

The Communications research theme encompasses departments across the University and focuses on the theory of communications systems and how they are applied to a wide range of technological and societal problems.

The Communications theme covers a vast range of research areas in a rapidly evolving field. Both as a core discipline and as a key enabler for information and communications technology throughout society, communications offers significant challenges in the areas of fixed and wireless communications systems, next-generation networks and internet, photonics, electromagnetics, signal processing (including image and video transmission), microwave theory and techniques, and RF power amplifiers and circuits. Communication technologies are applied to areas as diverse as medical electronics, avionics, SMART metering/grid for energy supply, the automotive industry, semiconductor integrated circuits, and nuclear reactor and plant monitoring with sensor networks.

The theme involves researchers from, among others, the Centre for Communications Research, Clinical Science at South Bristol (Ophthalmology), the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, and the Schools of Chemistry and Biological Sciences. Members have an outstanding record for novel research and the training of postgraduate students.

The research outputs of the theme lead industry in many areas, driven by the global need for efficient mechanisms for the seamless provision and integration of information into every aspect of our daily lives for both business and leisure.

The research outputs of the communications theme lead industry in many areas, driven by the global need for efficient mechanisms for the seamless provision and integration of information into every aspect of our daily lives.

We have collaborative links with many leading engineers and scientists within academia (eg University of California, San Diego and the University of Cardiff) and industry. Funding sources include grants from research councils, the EU, charities (such as the Micron Foundation), industry (such as AKM, Aptina, QinetiQ, Toshiba), start-up companies (ProVision, Micrima) and government. We also have close links with 3C Research Ltd, a government-funded, not-for-profit members’ organisation. We currently hold a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Kyoto and the National Institution of Information and Communications in Japan.

Collaborative research is of great importance and to this end joint research fellowships have been established in the Departments of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Physics. Our extensive research output includes both theoretical and application-based studies, the results of which have been published in high-profile international journals and conferences (and are available in our institutional repository).

Areas of key current research include:

  • Parametric video coding
  • Biologically inspired engineering
  • Highly power efficient ‘green’ power amplifiers
  • Quantum cryptography
  • SMART metering/grid for energy supply

Our research achievements include:

  • Modelling the interface between cells and circuits
  • Non-invasive techniques for the detection of breast cancer
  • Scalable video encryption
  • Transmission of data using quantum cryptography