As part of its continuing strategy of support for research and education, Agilent Technologies has announced a collaboration with Northumbria University, UK, to create advanced laboratory facilities at the university.

Three laboratories have been completely refurbished to include the latest design, test and measurement technology. The facilities will be used for research and teaching in the Microwave Communications, Microwave Holography, and Photonics and Radio Frequency subject areas.

The laboratories, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), will include a range of Agilent equipment such as oscilloscopes, spectrum and network analyzers, optical test equipment and RF/MW design software.

The new technology provided within the Microwave Communications and Microwave Holography laboratories will position them amongst the best equipped labs in the UK for the design of microwave circuitry and research into the uses of microwave imaging, including the detection of breast cancer tumors and concealed weapons.

The Photonic and RF research laboratory is the first Photonics laboratory of its kind in the North of England, and will showcase the very latest design and measurement tools for research into new photonic networks, switching, free space optics and RF technologies. It is envisaged that photonics development will play a leading role in meeting the growing demand for access to high speed internet links.

Professor Alistair Sambell, Dean of the School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences, welcomed the opening of the new labs, saying, "These are very exciting times for the school. There is currently tremendous growth in the fields of wired and wireless communications, especially the internet and increasing demand for mobile handsets with functions such as cameras and MP3 players, which are smaller, cheaper and with low power consumption. These facilities will help us develop our research in these areas. The microwave imaging technology we now have will position Northumbria as one of the leading universities in terms of facilities in this field. We are currently developing a microwave-based technique that can generate holographic high quality images of hidden objects, such as breast cancer tumors, in our microwave imaging lab, and the new equipment may mean this method may reach the clinic trial stage sooner than we’d initially hoped.”

For Agilent Technologies, Ueli Nussbaumer, European geographic business manager, said, “Agilent has a continuing strategy of supporting research and educational establishments across Europe. As a company we have the technology and measurement expertise necessary to facilitate the leading-edge research being undertaken in universities like Northumbria. We are very pleased to be involved in this exciting project and look forward to supporting the research and teaching activities at Northumbria University with the very latest design, test and measurement equipment.”