Smartwave, a new Pathfinder project, will innovate the beam steering technology

communication tower (transmitter)
© murilo86,

The Smartwave project got selected in the 2019 EIC Pathfinder call. It focuses on development of phase shifters for future generation phased array antenna applications.

Phase shifters change the transmission phase angle of an input signal. They provides a phase shift to the signal by adding propagation delay and are the main building blocks of any beam steering capable system. Phase shifters are used e.g. in satellite communications, beamforming modules, phase cancellation, or communications antennas.

SMARTWAVE project wants to take advantage of the re-configurability potential of high-frequency phase shifters and innovate them by proposing new technological approach, which meets the requirements of frequency scalability, increased power efficiency, reduced size and re-configurability. 

SMARTWAVE focuses on a concept of metamaterials initially proposed in the parent Pathfinder (FET-Open) project NANOPOLY, which performs a research on circuit components and works e.g. on integrated antenna technology for both frequency ranges.

The SMARTWAVE team, coordinated by Dr. Afshin Ziaei, explains the idea behind the project:

In the modern world everything goes wireless and everyone goes mobile. To sustain this trend, higher frequency, smaller, more complex analogue electronics with beam steering capabilities are becoming ubiquitous. SMARTWAVE capitalizes on a newly identified technology combination to reinvent, design, fabricate and commercialize the main building block of any beam steering capable system, the phase shifter using a novel phase shifting mechanism based on reconfigurable metamaterials.

The project starts in September 2020 and will run for 24 months. Among participants are institutions from France (Thales), Belgium (Taipro Engineering), Italy (RF Microtech), Greece (Foundation for research and Innovation – Hellas) and Germany (Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics Institute at Leibniz Association).

SMARTWAVE is one of the 13 projects that have succeeded in the EIC Transition to Innovation Activities call (FETPROACT-EIC-06-2019).  The call sought for promising technologies as they were at the end of a typical FET-Open or FET Proactive project (i.e., TRL 2/3) to a level of development, validation and demonstration where they became a credible basis for entrepreneurship, business creation, investment and, ultimately, economic and/or societal returns. The call invited applications to further develop results from previous or on-going FET projects in the 5 areas: micro and nano-technologies (where SMARTWAVE had applied), artificial intelligence and advanced robotics, technologies for the life sciences, health and treatment, low-carbon energy and climate change technologies and interaction technologies.


Background information

FET-Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation.

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