Towards accurate assessment of the electromagnetic near-field emitted by new generation of wireless communication devices (including 5G).
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Human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) has been continuously raising concerns over possible health effects. Public awareness on electromagnetic pollution especially in critical areas (schools, hospitals, residential buildings) is enhanced by extensive spreading and development of communication technologies like Wi-Fi and 4G/5G. With significant faster internet access, increased mobility, very low latency and the capability to simultaneously connect more users, 5G opens up prospects that are important for both economical and society development. These new generation technologies are migrating in higher frequency bands that offer the advantage of higher usable bandwidth . Additionally, 5G uses massive MIMO combined with active beam forming and strong infrastructure densification by the deployment of small (micro, pico, femto) cells (figure 1). To this extent, the European Commission issued an action plan for making 5G a reality for all Member States citizens and businesses by the end of this decade. In this context, the issue addressed in this project proposal has implications in scientific, social and economical aspects of everyday life with effective measurements of EMFs becoming essential for both deployment and later operation of 5G networks.
With 5G on the verge of worldwide release, human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) continues to raise concerns for possible thermal and non-thermal effects. In this context, this project is aimed towards safe technological-implementation by means of applying proper metrics, much tailored to higher GHz frequencies, to report realistic and accurate values of field strengths emitted in the close proximity of modern communication devices. Frequency selective, near field measurements will be carried out using three different techniques:
1) traditional miniature E&H field probes;
2) electro-optic probes (with the advantage of non-coupling in the reactive near-field);
3) by checking the usability of extremely precise electromagnetically induced transparency phenomenon for microwaves exposimetry (or, alternatively, a near field imaging technique).
Neither electro optic field probes nor electromagnetic induced transparency have been used before for similar purposes, so the procedure application, testing and possible validation will be undertaken. However, the instrumentation and extremely high-frequency metrics are not the sole challenges in the addressed issue, as the measurement and methodology accuracy will be analyzed by taking into account the characteristics of the new generation communication signals. Temporal and spatial variations of quasi-stochastic signals will be accounted for to conduct agile in-situ exposimetry of users, in real life operating scenarios, categorized on environment/ technology/ service. The overall approach will focus on the energetic profile, to provide besides static information (similar to a dose), dynamics information (similar to dose rate or fluence of radiation). In this way this project proposal could pay the way towards a more comprehensive view on EMF dosimetry.
Experimental determination of the user’s exposure in the proximity/air-interface (near field) of devices (terminals) emitting new generation of communication signals, in different real life operating scenarios;
Improving the accuracy of the near field measurements by using high precision techniques (electro optic probes and/or electromagnetically-induced transparency phenomena) to experimentally determine E-field strengths in an air volume adjacent to the terminal;
Design, implementation and testing of a real-time/near real-time isotropic near field measurement system based on electro-optic probes;
Development and implementation of measurement procedures enabling precision report output in case of communication signals characterized by high spatial and time-domain variability (Figure 2).