Antennas in dissipative media

Program Code: 

Dr Greg Milford (

Description of Work: 


The application of modern telecommunications networking protocols and inexpensive electronics has created a new paradigm for underwater (sub-sea) communications, with many potential military, scientific and commercial applications. Systems using radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic wave propagation offer a solution to some of the limitations of underwater acoustic systems. However the correct specification and design of the underwater antenna is essential to achieve the desired performance with an RF underwater system. Additionally, body-worn or invitro antennas experience a similar dissipative electromagnetic environment, hence the scope of this project isn't necessarily restricted to sub-sea applications. This project will investigate the fundamental behaviour of insulated and bare conductors immersed in a dissipative medium, and develop a quantitative understanding of the reactive and radiated field coupling mechanisms between antennas in a dissipative medium. This understanding will then be applied to develop antenna design procedures that maximise communication link performance for the specified frequency, bandwidth, range and lossy medium parameters.

Expected Background knowledge and skills:

  • Good theoretical understanding of electromagnetic and microwave engineering
  • Good programming skills and experience with one or more computational tools. (Matlab, C, Fortran, etc).
  • Experience with commercial circuit and full wave simulation tools desirable.

Description of work:

  • From first principles investigate the behaviour of antennas in a dissipative medium.
  • Apply this knowledge to the design of underwater antennas for various application scenarios (bandwidth or data rate, range, physical size and shape, etc).
  • Devise and conduct open-water experiments to validate analytical predictions of radio link performance.