Atoms to Applications: A Grand Challenge

In 2015, EPSRC identified four nationally important Engineering Grand Challenges, one of which was ‘Engineering across length scales, from atoms to applications’. Led by Loughborough University, the SYMETA consortium was formed and sought to address this Challenge area.

SYMETA's proposal to SYnthesize 3D METAmaterials for RF, microwave and THz applications was funded with the aims to:


  • Synthesize a palette of 3D meta-atoms using suitable materials

  • Construct designer-specified 3D arrangements of meta-atoms using process efficient additive manufacturing to create metamaterials

  • Build demonstrators for applications at RF, microwave and THz frequency ranges

  • Build and share a cohort of new knowledge by bringing together multi-disciplinary expertise from academia and industry 

  • Engage industry, professional bodies and the wider academic community so that the research's potential is recognised and realised

  • Translate and condense the exciting science to key messages to boost the public understanding of complex science

Producing novel high frequency electronics demonstrators for wireless communications based on new 3D metamaterial concepts, manufacturing processes and using new materials presented significant technological and scientific research challenges. To deliver this, the £5 Million EPSRC funded programme brought together leading UK experts in the areas of Physics, Electronic Engineering, Materials and Manufacturing. In doing so, during the project the consortium published >70 high impact journal papers demonstrating significant academic leadership in the area of additive manufacture of metamaterials for microwave applications.