Intellectual Property

Carbon-based Frequency Selective Surfaces (FSS)

Carbon-based Frequency Selective Surfaces (FSS)

Queens University Belfast's (QUB) technology aims to provide a low-cost and commercially viable solution for frequency selective electromagnetic shielding in building infrastructure market segments. While alternative solutions are available in the marketplace, they block the entire electromagnetic frequency spectrum, and hence, limit the use in emerging applications. In particular, QUB’s solution provides frequency selective electromagnetic shielding for large scale emerging building applications at a ‘low cost’.


The Market Background

Electro Magnetic (EM) shielding of buildings is becoming increasingly relevant in building infrastructure design and construction. EM shielding in buildings provides a solution to a number of issues associated with modern building development. These cover (but are not limited to), concerns associated with electromagnetic signals affecting health, act as a deterrent to data security concerns for certain applications where security is paramount, and ease spectrum reuse. Taking into account these market drivers, the EM shielding market is currently experiencing rapid growth. EM shielding solution providers, building product manufacturers, and building contractors are all utilising a variety of EM shielding solutions.

QUB FSS Electromagnetic Shielding Solution

The institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) within QUB possesses considerable amount of experience in the design and realisation of FSS.

As part of its continuing work in FSS, the department has demonstrated the possibility of FSS electromagnetic shielding of building areas using low-cost carbon-based conductive pain applied to stencil technology.

Frequency Selective Surfaces (FSS)

Frequency Selective surfaces (FSS) are periodic structures in either one, two dimensions (i.e. singly or doubly periodic structures) which, as the name suggests, perform a filter operation. The most common widely spread FSS can be found in microwave ovens as a metallic surface perforated with periodic small apertures behind a glass door. The grid, allows for visible light to go through, so that the user can visually see the contents of the operation is simple.

QUB's FSS electromagnetic shielding technology relates to the process of fabricating low-cost  FSSs. QUB propose to employ this process in the preparation of radio shielding wallpapers as well as flat absorbers.

Overall, QUB’s FSS electromagnetic shielding solution has the following Unique Selling Points, compared to alternative technologies available in the marketplace:

  • A 'low cost'FSS based electromagnetic shielding solution for large scale building applications.
    • The current cost of covering large areas of a building with metal such as copper is tremendous compared with the rest of the materials (e.g. plasterboard).
  • Frequency selective electromagnetic functionality, thus making it suitable for applications where certain frequencies need to be blocked.
    • QUB's stencil-printed FSSs using carbon-based conductive paint having produced frequency barriers of more than 1/1000 stop band to pass band ratio.


Key Market Segments and Applications

The following are potential market segments for QUB’s solution:

  • Building equipment manufacturers and suppliers: key sub segments benefiting from the solution include suppliers of building products and EM shielding technology, as well as end users.
  • Building contractors: in particular, involved in the construction of prisons, hospitals, wind turbines, and other complexes where selective frequency blocking is required, e.g. stopping mobile signals in prisons, cinemas, schools and other public places.
  • Defence sector: manufacturers of defence building infrastructure equipment and specialised equipment where selective frequency blocking is required.

Business Opportunity

The core technology has been created by QUB and patented. QUB are now seeking potential customers and partners to take the technology into commercialisation and implementation. Possible options that QUB are willing to consider include:

  • Sale and Licensing opportunities: with existing players in the building supply chain, including, manufacturers and suppliers of building products, existing EM shielding manufacturers, and building contractors;
  • Channel and distribution opportunities


We have access to a range of potential funding mechanisms to support your business engage and exploit this IP including.

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qub-innovation-fund The Queen's University Belfast Innovation Fund (QUBIF) is a £1 million venture capital fund, set-up to invest in post Proof of Concept, pre-commercialisation spin-out companies. Funding rounds will be typically in the range of £50k to £200k and investments must be strongly related to the QUB research base.
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