December 3, 2014
A truly international conference in electromagnetic research, the joint ICEAA (International Conference on Electromagnetics in Advanced Applications) and IEEE APWC (Topical Conference on Antennas and Propagation in Wireless Communications) conferences focus primarily on emerging areas and applications enabled by current electromagnetic research. Since these conferences represent a broad range of topics, of which metamaterials are included, many areas of research from the development of various diverse computational methods to the construction of newer, smarter antennas are covered by the scope.
The combination of the conferences produced 36 different sessions (around 250 total papers were presented). Out of the 36 sessions, only 4 were directly based in metamaterials and complex media (again, this conference spanned a very broad range of research topics), but expanding the pure metamaterial perspective and looking at the individual unit cell as an antenna or some other resonant structure, the number of very relevant sessions grew to more than 15 (and served to expand the knowledge base for the potential application of new resonant structures into metamaterials research).
Several industrial researchers were present at this conference, including delegates from HRL (formerly the Hughes Research Laboratory), Kymeta, GM, and On-Star (there was a session solely organized to divulge and discuss the most recent advances on wireless communications for automotive applications). Other hot topics at the conference, outside the previously mentioned research areas, included recent developments in wideband antennas, MIMO technologies, and frequency selective surfaces/antenna arrays.
Being a metamaterials researcher, the overall interest in metamaterials was a bit muted due to the broad scope of topics, but there was a fair amount of interest in the upcoming applications of modern antennas, an area in which metamaterials research has inspired several breakthroughs. My talk, “Roadmap to Electrically Self-Tuning Metamaterials: Design and Experimental Validation,” was able to bridge the small antenna and metamaterials community by revealing a method to expand the capabilities (and “intelligence”) of nearly any resonant structure.
Outside the conference venue (and being located in the Caribbean Sea), many activities were available to the conference attendees. The venue was located directly on the beach in the “High-rise” hotel area, allowing for easy access to swim in the ocean, run on the beach, and/or use some sort of watercraft (lots of boats and jet skis were readily available). The Caribbean Sea is quite clear, which enables snorkeling just offshore (the water temperature was a pleasant 80ish degrees). There are also several different hikes to choose from on the island if the beach isn’t your scene (although the temperatures are in the low 90s during the heat of the day).