The University of Southampton

Prestigious Fellowship for Southampton Electronics and Computer Science researcher to investigate radio frequency-enabled energy harvesting

Published: 17 February 2022
Dr Mamoud Wagih

Dr Mahmoud Wagih is one of nine researchers who were recently named as UK Intelligence Community (UKIC) Postdoctoral Research Fellows. The Fellows are being funded to develop new technologies in a range of areas including detecting and protecting against malicious drones, investigating the movement of pollutants in indoor spaces and improving radar imaging.

Mahmoud will focus his Fellowship on enabling a single energy-harvesting source to power many co-located 'satellite' systems in inaccessible environments through safe, robust and efficient radio frequency power transmission.

He said: "Harvesting energy from sunlight or vibrations could lead to battery-free electronics, yet it can only generate sufficient output where ambient power is present. Finding alternatives for replaceable batteries is crucial to improving the user's experience as our personal electronic devices increase in numbers. While we have energy harvesting devices ranging from solar-powered calculators to watches relying on body temperature to generate power, energy harvesting is yet to become a technology that works anywhere.

"I am honoured that this UKIC and the Royal Academy of Engineering award recognises our world-leading research which integrates radio frequency (RF) power harvesters in everyday objects like clothing, smart labels, and packaging. RF radiation can be used to carry power, safely, and over long ranges to inaccessible locations where sunlight or vibrations may not be present - a green alternative to batteries."

Mahmoud is working alongside industrial partners including the semiconductor leader Arm, to create new RF-powered computers, as well as Perpetuum, part of Hitachi, to build sustainable condition monitoring systems.

The UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are offered by the Government Office for Science and are administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Recipients receive funding for at least two years of their project and mentorship from a Fellow of the Academy as well as an advisor from the intelligence community. They aim to provide a vital link between academia and the intelligence community and support cutting-edge work that can assist the intelligence community and also provide mentoring support to a new generation of engineers.

Mahmoud has received just under £200,000 funding for his Fellowship. Watch a video about his research here.

Fellow Southampton Research Fellow Dr Desmond Lim, from the School of Engineering, has also been awarded a UK Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to lead an experimental investigation focusing on the fundamental processes in indoor airflows and the eddy diffusivity of pollutants. He has received just under £200,000 to improve numerical and mathematical models that can accurately predict the dispersions of air pollutants, improving building ventilation designs, occupants' health, and better informing government agencies responsible for public health and national defence policies.

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