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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 01:34 GMT 02:34 UK
'Safer' mobile phones on horizon
Lab tests looked at radiation emissions
Lab tests looked at radiation emissions
A UK university has designed a mobile phone antenna which it says could cut radiation emissions into the body by up to 85%.

Scientists from Loughborough University's Centre for Mobile Communications Research (CMCR) proved the antenna worked in laboratory tests.

But it has yet to be tested as part of a phone, or in studies on people.

The researchers say their research could contribute to phones with lower Specific Absorption Rates (SAR).


Our research is ongoing, but tests have shown we are on the right track

Professor Yiannis Vardaxoglou, CMCR
SAR is the measure of the amount of radiation from mobile phone handsets absorbed by human tissue.

All handsets used in the UK have SARs which fall within international guidelines.

But the Loughborough researchers say limits are being continually reduced, so any technology which can contribute to blocking radiation is useful.

They add that as phones get smaller, the antennae is closer to the head, meaning there is a greater need for reduced SARs.

Locating mobiles

The antennae was designed using laser technology and computer modelling techniques.

The initial aim of the research focussed on how Global Positioning System technology could be used to locate mobile phone signals, such as when a call is made to the emergency services.

But scientists also discovered the potential for reduced radiation emissions.

The design the experts at the CMCR developed has a low 'near field' interaction - the radiation field around the antennae.

Professor Yiannis Vardaxoglou, head of the centre, told BBC News Online: "If the near field could be reduced to a millimetres with a high level of predictability then a low SAR antenna could be a real possibility.

"Our research is ongoing, but tests have shown we are on the right track."

Barrie Foley, chief executive of Sarantel, a Wellingborough-based company which makes miniature antennas, and has worked with the CMCR, said: "This technology is real and can be delivered to the market, unlike many claims by various organisations in the past."

Industry interest

But a spokeswoman for the Federation of Electronics Industry said: "Manufacturers are looking at all sorts of antenna developments, some of the research they carry out themselves, other work is carried out by universities or other organisations.

"Clearly, the design and performance of mobile phones is something the industry is interested in."

Dr Mike Clarke of the National Radiological Protection Board added: "Our view is that there is no actual evidence for any harm."

See also:

10 May 02 | Health
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23 Apr 02 | Health
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