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Technical Meeting | Unveiling the Genius: Exploring James Clerk Maxwell’s Life and Contributions, Antenna Calibration Advancements, and Robotic Antenna Measurements

Join us for a special event at the historic birthplace of James Clerk Maxwell for three presentations by distinguished lecturers.

Topic: Advancements in Antenna Far-Field Gain Extrapolation Calibration by Zhong Chen of ETS-Lindgren

The antenna extrapolation calibration method is widely recognized as one of the most precise techniques for calibrating antenna far-field gain and is extensively utilized by metrology institutes globally.

Originating in the 1970s at the National Bureau of Standards in the USA (now NIST), this method is grounded in the generalized transmission equation—a formulation that extends Friis’ transmission formula by incorporating additional nearfield and antenna coupling terms.

These equations, derived from Maxwell’s equations, progress from wave equations to transmission equations, providing a comprehensive response formula between two antennas in free space as a function of distance.  In practical applications, antenna responses are measured across distances, and through post-processing and curve fitting, antenna far-field gain is extrapolated from these nearfield measurements, typically conducted within an anechoic chamber.

This presentation explores recent advancements in post-processing techniques, leveraging state-of-the-art mathematical tools such as empirical mode decomposition, k-space filtering, and compressive sensing. These advancements are aimed at mitigating reflections in the environment, thereby enhancing the accuracy of far-field calibration.

About the Speaker

Zhong Chen is Chief Engineer at ETS-Lindgren, located in Cedar Park, Texas.  He has over 25 years of experience in RF testing, anechoic chamber design, as well as EMC antenna and field probe design and measurements.  He is an active member of the ANSC C63® committee currently serving as Vice-Chair and is the immediate past Chair of Subcommittee 1 which is responsible for the antenna calibration (ANSI C63.5) and chamber/test site validation standards (ANSI C63.4 and the ANSI C63.25 series).

Mr Chen is chair of the IEEE Standard 1309 committee responsible for developing calibration standards for field probes, and IEEE Standard 1128 for absorber evaluation.  Currently he is a member of the IEEE EMC Society Board of Directors and a former member of the Antenna Measurement Techniques Association (AMTA) Board of Directors. He is a past Distinguished Lecturer for the EMC Society and is recognised as an AMTA Fellow.  His research interests include measurement uncertainty, time domain measurements for site validation and antenna calibration, and development of novel RF absorber materials.

Several papers authored and co-authored by Mr Chen have received best paper recognition at global conferences.  Zhong Chen received his M.S.E.E. degree in Electromagnetics from the Ohio State University at Columbus.

Topic: Innovative Robotic Antenna Measurements by Dennis Lewis of The Boeing Company

Traditional antenna test facilities are typically designed with a specific measurement application in mind, and as a result these facilities tend to be comprised of single fixed measurement geometry.  However, modern antenna measurement ranges employing multi-axis robotic positioners provide a near limitless degree of re-configurability in terms of measurement types and scan geometries. This drives an ongoing need to evaluate each unique setup and application.  This previously unimaginable flexibility offers new opportunities for the improvement of safety, measurement quality and reduction of measurement uncertainties. These new robotic systems are capable of acquiring large amounts of special data allowing for the implementation of advanced post processing techniques.

Model Based Systems Engineering and Development (MBSE/MBD) approaches can be employed to dramatically reduce the time, effort and cost associated with the test development and validation phases of a given program.  MBSE tools can also be used to optimise test configurations to greatly reduce measurement uncertainties and simulate measurements.

This presentation provides an overview of how these engineering techniques are being harnessed during the implementation of a new dual multi-axis robotic antenna test system.

About the Speaker

Dennis Lewis received his BS EE degree with honours from Henry Cogswell College and his MS degree in Physics from the University of Washington.  He has worked at Boeing for 35 years, and is recognized as a Technical Fellow, leading the enterprise antenna measurement capability for Boeing Test and Evaluation.

Dennis holds 12 patents, and is the recipient of the 2013 and 2015 Boeing Special Invention Award.  He is a senior member of the IEEE and several of its technical societies, including the Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S), the Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S) and the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Society. He actively contributes to these societies as a member of the IEEE MTT-S Subcommittee 3 on Microwave Measurements, and as a Board Member and past Distinguished Lecturer for the EMC Society.  He is a Senior Member and served as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Antenna Measurements Techniques Association (AMTA) and chaired its annual symposium in 2012 and 2023.  Dennis developed and taught a course on Measurement Science at North Seattle College, and is a past chairman of its Technical Advisory Committee. His current technical interests include aerospace applications of reverberation chamber test techniques as well as microwave and antenna measurement systems and uncertainties.

Topic: James Clerk Maxwell’s Life and Many Contributions Beyond Electromagnetics by Peter Grant of University of Edinburgh

We set the context by describing first Maxwell’s family background before exploring his inquisitive childhood with his work on oval curves when he was only 14 years old and his later prediction of the form and nature of Saturn’s rings.

The presentation then concentrates on his other major technical advances beyond EM: his first demonstration of colour reproduction to the Royal Academy in London in 1860. Maxwell further collaborated with Lord Kelvin and Siemens on establishing the first International Standard defining the unit of Electrical Resistance.

Maxwell’s legacy is commemorated at the former family estate, Glenlair, in south west Scotland and the small museum in his birthplace, 14 India Street, Edinburgh.

About the Speaker

Peter Grant who received a BSc from the Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and then a University of Edinburgh Ph.D., has been awarded three honorary Doctorates from the Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh Napier, and the University of Edinburgh.

Following five years in industry he moved to the University of Edinburgh where he was later appointed to merge the four separate Engineering Departments into a single budget centre, serving as the first head of the School of Engineering, 2002-08. In 2007 he was appointed as the 8th Regius Professor of Engineering at Edinburgh and later awarded, by the Queen, as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

His research in signal processing for communication systems has received several best paper prizes, culminating in the 82nd (2004) Faraday Medal award by the Institution of Electrical Engineers.   He was President of the European Association for Signal Processing, 2000-02, and holds Fellowships of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

He served for 14 years as a Trustee of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation, 2008-2022.


This meeting is open to IEEE/IET members and non-members; there is no charge to attend, but you must register in advance.  Attendance is strictly limited at this historic venue.  Registration will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis.  Register early to ensure your seat!

The organisers are grateful to the Trustees of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation for their assistance with this meeting planning.

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