Convenient timing in the calendar and just a quick hop away from London on the Eurostar meant that all the stars aligned to enable me to attend my first, but the 11th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP), which was held at the Palais des Congrès, Paris from 19 to 24 March 2017.
The Welcome message in the Conference Programme states: “Antennas and propagation may seem a well established, not to say old, scientific domain. Actually, it is a very lively and multidisciplinary one, mixing the deepest electromagnetic theoretical aspects, mathematical signal and data processing methods, physics of devices and physics of fields, software developments and technological fabrication aspects. Many topics did not exist a few years ago and the large number of possible applications and system developments generate multiple outcomes of, e.g., novel antenna design and propagation modelling approaches.”
The statement probably personifies my original, dare I say it ambivalent perception of antennas and propagation, which has been completely redefined by the event in Paris. I am not the only one to be converted judging by the depth of content and the global attendance. From its beginnings EuCAP was created in order to foster the meeting and cross-fertilization between academia, research centres and industry. To that aim, tools such as application tracks, industrial workshops, technical tours and a significant exhibition have been implemented, in close association with the conference.
The Conference, Short Courses and Workshops
Overall EuCAP 2017 received 1277 submissions, accepting 674 regular papers and 335 convened papers, spread over nine tracks: Space, Wireless Networks, Cellular Communications, Biomedical, High Data-rate Transfer, Future Applications, Radars, Localization & Connected Objects, Methods & Tools.
High level experts from around the globe were specially invited to give plenary keynote speeches or semi-plenary talks. Just to highlight a few of particular interest to the RF & Microwave market sector keynotes included: Affordable Phased Arrays for 5G and SATCOM: Ending the Marconi Era presented by Gabriel M Rebeiz of the University of San Diego, USA, Kiochi ITO’s (Chiba University, Japan) view on Human Centric Antennas, Channel Modelling for Dependable Vehicular Connectivity presented by Christoph F. Mecklenbräuker of Tu Wien, Austria, an insight into Human Body Imaging and Remote Vital Monitoring Using UWB Doppler radar from Takuya Sakamoto of the University of Hyogo, Japan and an Overview of OTA Testing of 5G Enabled Devices offered by Philippe Garreau of Microwave Vision Group (MVG), France. Such Keynotes set the scene for the quality and depth of papers throughout the week.
In addition, the programme also offered a rich set of scientific short courses and workshops, the former enabling young as well as experienced researchers to quickly grasp the essentials of a topic new to them. Workshops provided the opportunity for industry, in particular to offer practical instruction and guidance. A personal highlight for me has to be the Keysight workshop on New Over-the-Air Measurement Methods and Design Considerations for Millimetre wave Antenna Arrays where the inimitable Moray Rumney sharply put into context the challenges faced by designers of wireless transceivers and antennas as cellular communications move to the lower end of the millimetre wave bands around 28 GHz and beyond.
Supporting and complementing the conference the exhibition featured around 40 companies showcasing their products and services. The largest representation was from software, simulation and test manufacturers including familiar names to Microwave Journal readers including: Altair Engineering, Anritsu, IMST, Keysight Technologies, Mician, National Instruments, Optenni, Rohde & Schwarz and WIPL-D D.o.o., Antenna and wireless chamber solutions were featured by ETS-Lindgren and Microwave Vision Group, while, in the space sector the European Space Agency (ESA), Saab and Thales Alenia space France had a presence.
Not on the exhibitor list but seeming to be doing good business was a booth selling Foie Gras – I think my recollection is correct and not a result of too much vin rouge!
A real technology insight was offered by the Antenna Measurement Techniques Association (AMTA) tours. There were visits to ART-Fi that develops and supplies EM measurement instrumentation to support electronic and wireless industries as well as one to ONERA, a company that supports aeronautics and space research. The third tour, which I participated in, was to the MVG facility just outside Paris, which was the original Satimo site. This is where their multi-probe measurement system was pioneered and is still manufactured. The tour offered us the opportunity to see the next 5G measurement prototype, which will be revealed to Microwave Journal readers in due course, so watch this space!