Ottawa grants $395,000 to wireless laboratory

May 01, 2003, vol. 27, no. 1

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The federal government's Western Economic Diversification has awarded SFU engineering science professor Shawn Stapleton $395,000 to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for his wireless communications laboratory.

Stapleton's lab focuses on improving the efficiency of high power amplifiers used for cell phones, spacecraft transponders, cellular base stations, digital and portable radios.

“At the moment, base stations have an efficiency of five to eight per cent,” says Stapleton. “The hydro consumption bill for Telus Mobility, for example, is in the multi-millions. By drastically improving the power efficiency, some of the remote area transmitters could be powered by solar cells and batteries. Our amplifier will have an efficiency of 45 per cent or more.”

Telus Mobility provided the lab with a $40,000 grant as seed money to allow it to qualify for the WED award. Eventually, the research could have commercial application and a number of B.C. companies, such as Sierra Wireless and Unity Wireless, have expressed interest in Stapleton's work.

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