Technology Innovation Institute opens pioneering research facility in UAE

Dr. Ray O. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Technology Innovation Institute

Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), announced that its Directed Energy Research Center (DERC) has launched a state-of-the-art facility in Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP), a regional hub for strategic businesses in the security sector offering world-class business infrastructure.

What does the facility major in?

The facility comprises 7 distinct workshops and 5 specialized laboratories. Each caters to a research domain from mechanical workshops, prototype test area, coil winding, armature filling, dielectric testing, and acoustic prototyping lab. The labs are Pulse Power Lab, Semi-Anechoic Chamber, Tempest Chamber, Acoustic Lab, and Laser Development Lab.

The facility hosts three mobile research laboratories that can be used in conjunction with the primary laboratories or be deployed in the field for outdoor testing, including two Electromagnetic Mobile Labs and a Mobile Laser Lab. Applications DERC focuses on include High-Power ElectroMagnetics (HPEM) and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing.

DERC undertakes research in the HPEM and Pulsed Power domain, along with prequalification tests for multiple industries in the region. A first for the GCC, DERC’s facility conducts Radio Frequency testing to manufacture and characterize high power, solid-state devices.

The facility carries out sensitive Acoustic experiments that require a high degree of isolation from environmental sound and vibrations, supporting development and characterization of unusual acoustic transmitters and sensors. The controlled environment in the labs identifies involuntary sound sources in electronic systems that might lead to side-channel leakage.

How advanced is the facility?

DERC’s custom-developed optical vibration analysis tools can examine mechanical system behavior across a wide range of frequencies. Additionally, the Center has also introduced groundbreaking Signal Electronics & Acoustics (SEA) prototyping to facilitate the local development of advanced solutions like small/high-density RF and acoustic devices.

The facility can undertake soldering, complex mechanical assembly, testing while advancing prototyping in 3D printing. Directed Energy Research Center (DERC)’s Mobile Laser lab is the first of its kind in the region to conduct laser experiments outdoors to explore propagation of a high-power laser and study the effect on targets at a distance in the arid Gulf environment.

Emitting a multi-kW continuous laser, the lab is equipped with a telescope on a pan-tilt, focusing a beam over 200-2,000 m. Connected to an electrical generator, the mobile lab is designed to be used autonomously outdoors under extreme temperatures of up to 50°C.

What are the executives’ thoughts on the milestone?

Speaking on the new facility, Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO of Technology Innovation Institute (TII) and Acting CEO, ASPIRE, said: “At TII, we are committed to attracting global talent to our research centers. We are proud to witness DERC’s great achievement with this facility.”

“Such innovative hubs draw a growing number of researchers as well as customers keen to benefit from testing capabilities across varied sectors,” Dr. Ray further commented.

Dr. Chaouki Kasmi, Chief Researcher, Directed Energy Research Center (DERC), said: “We are excited to finally witness the launch and cutting-edge capabilities of this new facility that will offer us a distinct advantage while giving the United Arab Emirates much-needed autonomy when it comes to ensuring comprehensive testing and establishing a reliable supply chain.”

The Center’s achievement of bringing together multiple core capabilities under one roof provides opportunities to take High-Power ElectroMagnetics (HPEM) testing to greater heights while enabling the testing of high-power lasers in compact environments.