NUST MISIS Students Create the World`s First Compact Anechoic Chamber for the Metamaterials Study

A group of NUST MISIS students leading by Dr. Alexey Basharin, an Associate Researcher from the NUST MISIS Laboratory of Superconducting metamaterials, has created the first compact anechoic chamber for the study of metamaterials. This chamber is currently unique. It can not only carry out measurements with high precision, but also is significantly cheaper than the industrial counterparts.

An anechoic chamber is a special room designed to completely absorb reflections of electromagnetic waves. It has many applications, including: experimental studies of the characteristics of electrodynamic objects (antennas, scatterers, stealth technology objects), certifying telecommunication devices according to their level of electromagnetic radiation, tests of interference resistance, the protection of confidential information, measurements of antennas radiation patterns, studies of electromagnetic compatibility, and RCS diagrams investigation.

The purpose of developing a compact anechoic chamber at NUST MISIS is to improve the measurement accuracy of materials and metamaterials` S-parameters (coefficients of reflection and transmissions). Classical anechoic chambers, due to certain features, don’t satisfy the conditions necessary to conduct research in the NUST MISIS Laboratory of Superconducting metamaterials. For example, in some chambers the positioning of samples with precision of microns, which is an essential prerequisite to catch the narrow peak of the resonance in metamaterials, is impossible.

Designed and constructed by NUST MISIS students (Nikita Volsky, Ivan Stenischev, Maria Cojocari), the anechoic chamber allows to measure the spectral properties of metamaterials with a high degree of accuracy unattainable using the measurements in classical anechoic chambers.

“In classical anechoic chambers measurements are taken over large distances and for the precise positioning of the sample relative to measuring antennas. It is necessary to expose the sample correctly to microns. We managed to measure metamaterials in our mini chamber, and thus provide the same properties as during the measurements in classical chambers”, said Dr. Alexey Basharin, head of the group, and Associate Researcher at NUST MISIS Laboratory of Superconducting metamaterials.

Generally anechoic chambers of industrial production are massive, often the size of an entire room, and can cost tens of millions rubles. The anechoic chamber created at NUST MISIS, compared to classical ones, is 2 meters high and a half-meter wide. The cost of the materials used for construction of the chamber is only 150 thousand rubles, and the students assembled it themselves. The external side of the chamber`s walls is covered by metal and the inner side is coated with radio absorbing material the scrims for military equipment. The use of this material for civil purposes allowed the reduction of the chamber size significantly. To extinguish the parasitic lateral radiation of horn antennas, the radar absorbing material MOX-530 is situated along the antennas’ aperture. The chamber is equipped with receiving and transmitting antennas, and the measurements are taken on the vector network analyzer Rohde & Schwarz.

“Dr. Alexey Basharin, an Associate Researcher of the Laboratory of Superconducting metamaterials started working at the university in 2015, and quickly won the NUST MISIS open international competition for young scientists with working experience in world leading universities. The work and creation of this unique device was undertaken through the funds from this grant. It’s worth mentioning that NUST MISIS students doing their internship in the laboratory took active participation in the creation of the compact anechoic chamber”, said Alevtina Chernikova, Rector of NUST MISIS.

Metamaterials are artificially created structures with unique electromagnetic properties not found in nature. Their range of application is quite wide: absorbers of electromagnetic waves, elements of highly sensitive sensors, stealth technology, and qubits of quantum computers. The NUST MISIS Laboratory of Superconducting metamaterials is one of Russia`s leading research centers in the field of theoretical and applied investigations of metamaterials.

The Laboratory of Superconducting metamaterials was established at NUST MISIS in 2011 under the megagrant of the Russian Government. The laboratory is led by Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and Professor of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) Alexey Ustinov, the head of the group at Russian Quantum Center.

A group of scientists from the lab and leading by Professor Alexey Ustinov jointly measured the qubit in 2013 with their colleagues from the Russian Quantum Center, a feat achieved for the very first time in Russia. In 2015, the same group of scientists, together with colleagues from Russian Quantum Center, MIPT, and the Institute of Solid State Physics RAS created the first Russian superconducting qubit required for the production of a quantum computer.