The University of Auckland

Project #51: Development of RF Exposure system for investigation of electromagnetic bio-interaction



Most RF safety standards are based on the presumption that the only significant electromagnetic bio-interactions are thermal. These standards specify a specific absorption rate (SAR) (and corresponding electric (E) and magnetic field (H) strengths) which produce such small increases in body temperature that the increases can be managed by the human bodies thermal control system without causing any undue stress. However, there is some experimental evidence, albeit not currently accepted by safety standard review committees, that weak electromagnetic fields (that are sufficiently weak to produce no appreciable heating i.e. athermal) can cause biological effects. The best known of these experimental results is evidence of altered calcium efflux through cellular membranes when exposed to weak (athermal) electromagnetic fields. Several researchers have hypothesised a mechanism of action (to explain these athermal effects) involving emf-induced alteration to the gating of the voltage-gated ion channels in a cell’s membrane. We wish to experimentally investigate emf-induced effects on voltage-gated ion channels. To do this we need to develop an rf exposure system in which we can place cell-cultures and monitor the behaviour of the voltage-gated ion channels in these cell’s membranes in the presence of rf fields. We need this exposure system to produce a uniform field at the position of the cell culture and to allow experimenters to vary the rf field strength and key modulation characteristics such as modulation frequency and modulation format.


Development of antenna system to produce uniform radio frequency exposure of a cellular sample, whilst being able to vary radio frequency field strength and key modulation characteristics such as modulation frequency and modulation format.


ELECTENG 307 (pre-requisite)

ELECTENG 721 (co-requisite)






Allocated (Not available for preferences)


Lab allocations have not been finalised