Equipment to Underpin Internationally Leading Research at the University of Bristol

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Research and Enterprise Development


The equipment requested will provide new capability and internationally leading facilities that will enable cutting-edge research and internationally leading science, beyond that which is possible with current instrumentation. The equipment will also facilitate greater collaborative opportunities with other Universities and industry nationally and internationally.

The "Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices" bundle provides equipment for research into new materials and devices for future electronic applications, ranging from superconductors for applications in power transmission and MRI to spintronic devices for sensors and computer memory applications. It will also improve thermal imaging capability for the study of semiconductor and hybrid diamond based devices which have the potential to transform future power electronic devices.

Electrical power conversion technologies have a vital role to play in managing energy demand and improving energy conversion efficiency, affording 'game-changes' in, for example, low carbon transport systems and energy supply networks. As these 'more electric' systems become more commonplace, for example through their adoption in aircraft and electric vehicles, new understanding of operation life and failure modes is needed. The enhanced capabilities offered by the equipment updates in the "Enabling robust design and analysis of electrical power conversion systems" will allow internationally leading research to be pursued in the areas of design for life, virtual certification and reliability.

Transmission electron microscopes (TEM) allow the imaging of both the external and internal structure of materials and are available in numerous configurations dependent on the specific nature of the materials under investigation. A post column energy filter dramatically improves the analytical and imaging capabilities of a TEM by allowing structural and chemical information carried by the electrons to be interrogated after interaction with the sample material. The requested Gatan Imaging Filter (GIF) upgrade in the "Supporting Analysis of Advanced Energy Materials and Soft Matter" will provide significant new capability to determine the structure and composition of materials at the nanoscale and provide new insights into how to enhance material functionality. The instrument upgrade forms part of a strategic investment in advanced microscopy provision at Bristol, and reflects ambitions for an internationally competitive materials characterization facility befitting the world-leading research it underpins.

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and mass spectrometry (MS) are the pre-eminent techniques for studying chemical structure and reactions. They underpin nearly every program of research in catalysis (accelerating chemical reactions), synthesis (creation of new chemical entities) and materials (chemicals with defined properties and applications e.g. nanotechnology). The replacement of aging NMR and MS instruments as described in the "Underpinning Catalysis, Synthesis and Materials Chemistry" bundle will ensure continued cutting-edge investigations in these fields, and will provide new hardware capabilities that allow the study of molecular/chemical systems in previously impossible fashions, e.g., at low temperature for days at a time (NMR), or under unreactive atmospheres (MS).

The new "Wideband Multi-channel Real-time Wireless Channel Emulator" facility will offer wideband (160MHz) multi-dimensional channel (8 x 8) wireless channel emulation for sub 6GHz wireless transceivers allowing repeatable experimentation with real-world channel models (3GPP and 802.11, plus user defined scenarios). The hardware can also be reconfigured to offer channel emulation with cascaded bandwidths synonymous with millimetre wave operation, thus driving forward the "5G and beyond" research agenda.

Planned Impact

Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices equipment bundle: Our fundamental research into superconductors will lead to materials with improved critical temperature and current carrying capabilities which will be used for a wide variety of applications ranging from power-transmission to medical imaging (MRI) and mass-transport (high speed trains with superconducting levitation). Research into novel spintronic devices will lead to new technologies in computing and other sensor applications such as improved hard drive storage and magnetic computer memory (MRAM). Several UK companies are highly reliant on both these technologies (e.g., Siemens (MRI), Seagate (hard-drives)).

Enabling robust design and analysis of electrical power conversion systems equipment bundle: Electrical power conversion is a £135bn direct global market, growing at a rate of over 10% per annum. This technology is central to low-carbon transport and renewable energy generation. In addressing the challenges of high power to weight ratios, high efficiency and high reliability the equipment updates will have direct relevance and benefit to original equipment manufacturers and the supply chain, strengthening UK innovation in this area. These range from designers and manufacturers of power modules and passive components through to manufacturers of complete converter systems and system integrators, and are areas where the UK retains a significant presence and capability to exploit new technologies.

Supporting Analysis of Advanced Energy Materials and Soft Matter equipment bundle: The (University of Bristol) UoB is an acknowledged international leader in Materials Research, and cutting-edge analytical equipment such as the requested post column energy filter underpins progress in this research area and will generate impact through the science enabled for our collaborators. The new Gatan Imaging Filter (GIF) will improve analysis for advanced energy materials and soft matter providing immediate benefi to projects investigating the nanostructure of structural materials currently used in the Nuclear Industry; a key sector for local and national wealth creation. Longer term impact will arise from accelerating the discovery and development of novel functional materials.

Underpinning Catalysis, Synthesis and Materials Chemistry equipment bundle: The sheer breadth and number of researchers supported by NMR and MS in Bristol means that enabling chemical catalysis, synthesis and materials chemistry will impact a large part of the international physical molecular sciences community. Industrial collaborations that enable medicines to be developed more efficiently (or indeed for the first time), employ materials with tuneable and switchable properties for an array of applications are amongst the most obvious low-hanging Impacts which will arise from the underpinned research.

Wideband Multi-channel Real-time Wireless Channel Emulator equipment bundle: Through access to this state-of-the-art channel emulation equipment with a 5 fold increase in bandwidth commensurate with 5G and beyond systems, researchers at Bristol associated with EPSRC investments in FARAD, SERAN, TOUCAN, SPHERE and the CDT in Communications are the immediate beneficiaries of this new facility. In addition to access, they will also benefit from the training provided and the insights given by our industrial partners to its use and customisation. This will also be shared with colleagues at Edinburgh, Heriott Watt, Lancaster, Sheffield and Southampton, as well as the 5GIC at Surrey. The UoB's relationships with the University of Texas and New York University will also yield international collaborations based on experimentation using this facility through student exchanges.


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Description The equipment funded through this award has been successfully procured, installed, commissioned and is being used to support internationally leading Engineering and Physical Sciences research
Exploitation Route The equipment will continue to be used to support internationally leading research in wireless communications and in soft matter
Sectors Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Title vehicular drive scenario 
Description A vehicular drive scenario between 2 LTE basestations using the Prophecy Ray Tracing tool and the Bristol Geographical Data base has been created and this can now replayed on the Anite F8 hardware facilitating testing and optimisation of wireless devices. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Description BBC R&D and Peter Bagot, University of Bristol 
Organisation British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Department BBC Research & Development
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution PhD student, Peter Bagot, with the EPSRC CDT in Communications (EP/I028153/1) and industrial partner BBC R&D has used the Anite F8 facility as part of a 'hardware in the loop' validation of his research.
Collaborator Contribution .
Impact .
Start Year 2015
Description training event on the use of the Anite F8 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A training event on the use of the Anite F8 was held in Bristol on 16-18 September 2016 with researchers from the universities of Southampton, Sheffield and Heriot Watt, industrial collaborators including engineers from BluWireless, Jaguar LandRover and. In addition to in-depth explanations of the emulator's architecture and how this relates to the channel models in the latest wireless standards, delegates also had the opportunity to try some hands-on experimentation with this new equipment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015