Microwave Journal

Agilent Opens Wireless Laboratory at Leeds University

May 11, 2009

Nearly thirty years of support and mutual collaboration reached its latest milestone when Agilent Technologies Inc. and the University of Leeds opened a new wireless communications laboratory equipped with Agilent instruments. The lab, located in the university’s school of electronic and electrical, will support teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in broadband wireless networks, RFID and sensor networks. The official opening was supported by a guest speaker and the presentation of a prize to the third year student presenting the best technical poster. The university’s deputy vice-chancellor, John Fisher, and Ueli Nussbaumer, Agilent’s European geographic business manager, formally opened the laboratory. Nussbaumer stated, “Agilent has a lasting commitment to supporting academic institutions in nurturing the next generation of engineers by equipping their laboratories with state-of-the-art test instruments. The University of Leeds has a world-class reputation in RF, microwave and wireless research, and it is a pleasure to be able to assist them in this way.”

Nussbaumer referred to the university’s ambitions, stated on its Homepage, to join the top 50 universities in the world by 2015 through its distinctive ability to integrate world-class research, scholarship and education, when commenting, “I think this is a challenging and ambitious vision. However, such visions are only as good as the supporting strategies. I am very, very pleased that to help you achieve your goals you selected Agilent to help you on the measurement side.”

He added, “It is a two way process. From the university’s point of view you are getting much more than just test and measurement equipment to support your academic research and teaching. It also gives you full support from our application engineers, and R&D engineers with whom you can discuss your measurement problems. You have access to Agilent researchers who are working on the same technology and who have the same measurement problems. I think having such support will help you to achieve your goals in 2015 and beyond.”

This new laboratory is just the latest in a long line of initiatives between Agilent and Leeds University. Professor Roger Pollard, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, related how 29 years ago, in 1980, he took a sabbatical from his research using network analyzers to measure semiconductors. As he was more interested in network analyzers than semiconductors he approached the leader manufacturer in the field, Hewlett Packard, who acceded to his request to spend his sabbatical in their Santa Rosa facility in California.

That was the beginning of the Leeds University’s relationship with what was the test and measurement section of the Hewlett Packard company that later became Agilent Technologies. Pollard said, “This is one of the longest standing strategic partnerships in this university, second only to the relationship with the cloth workers company that began when the university was founded in the late 1800s.”

He continued. “I like to think of this strategic partnership as being two-way. It is worth noting that a significant number of PhD students have been through this establishment entirely supported and funded by Agilent. We have substantial donations of equipment. There have been involvements in learning and teaching, collaboration over courses and much more. It has been a really serious strategic partnership and the fact that it has continued for so long is evidence of how advantageous it is for both parties.”

Pollard concluded, “Our students have benefited greatly, there is the Agilent Technologies Lecture Theatre and we are about to embark on this new laboratory.”

The new laboratory can accommodate up to 64 students at a time. Agilent equipment in the lab includes six Digital Modulation Workstations for generation and analysis of IQ modulated signals up to 3GHz; six RF network analyzers; and vector signal generation and analysis instruments used to validate conformance to a wide range of modern digital communications standards.

Featured guest speaker Dr. Mike Short, vice president of 02/Telefonica Europe, delivered a keynote presentation entitled Applications – Anywhere, Anytime and the Agilent Prize for the third year student Poster Paper was presented to Christopher Russell by Graham Newton, Agilent Technologies, UK & Ireland business manager, electronic measurements group. The winning paper was titled, Terahertz Spectroscopy of Homologous Sequences and Russell intends to take the research further in his upcoming PhD studies.