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Enabling Technology

Technology is hardware that enables fundamental research and wealth creation.

Technology comprises devices and subsystems. These combine to make complete systems for many and varied applications, satisfying the needs of end users.

Millimetre wave devices comprise: antennas, transmission lines (waveguides & coaxial cables), quasi-optical passive components (polarisers, waveplates, delay lines, phase shifters), ferrites, electro-optic crystals, mixers, amplifiers, filters and detectors. These devices exploit in many different ways linear and non-linear electrical characteristics of materials.

Emerging technologies likely to further sensor capabilities in the next few years are high-speed digital (short word) sampling for radar (radiometry). This is seen by increasing numbers of low cost multi-antenna radars operating around 24 GHz that are adaptable for novel polarimetric security screening systems.

The cost and performance of technology together with the political and economic drivers of the application will determine whether systems will be developed. A natural evolution of all technology is for performance to rise and costs to fall. When performance outweighs costs, technology development snowballs, usually for a particular application. When systems are taken up for production in large numbers by industry, device costs fall by several orders of magnitude. When this happens large profits can be made and further spin-out applications evolve.

Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Variant of Clark's 3rd law.