The School provides six laboratories exclusively for Computing and Electronic
Systems students. Lab sizes, typically 25 or more machines, are designed to
allow one-to-one interaction between staff and students during scheduled class
times. The University is served by an Gigabit Ethernet LAN, and students have
free access to the internet, web and world-wide e-mail from all workstations.
The School has its own Gigabit backbone and standard network connectivity is
100Mbit/second. The specifications are kept up-to-date by renewing the machines
on a rolling basis, and new systems are close to the highest specification
possible at the time of purchase to cope with the computational demands of the
latest application development environments.
of our labs are open for 24 hours a day including weekends. Students have free
access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress.
Our labs are managed by an experienced and dedicated team of technical support
staff who can assist students with most practical aspects of the curriculum -
for example, advising on how to overcome programming problems.
In addition to the School's labs, students are entitled to use all of the
Computing Service's general access labs. Research students are provided with
office space and dedicated equipment so they do not need to use the labs.
You do not need to own a computer to follow our courses. For those who have a
computer, there are network access points in all study bedrooms on campus. Students can purchase
computers through the University's Computing Service.
Our six general computing laboratories run either Windows 7 or are dual
boot with Linux. Much software is common to both systems (eg. Java, Prolog, C++,
Perl, Mysql, Matlab, DB2), but there is also platform-specific software
such as Microsoft Office, Visual Studio and Project. These machines are
all fitted with DVD writers. We also provide Linux
systems for remote connection through either a secure shell (SSH) connection, or
via a remote Xsession (a Windows-like graphical Interface). There is also
specialised software installed such as computer-aided design tools and
simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (OPNET).
MSDNAA is a CSEE software service, allowing a
considerable number of Microsoft packages to be freely available to students,
The BCI Lab comprises 70m2 within the
School. The lab is divided in four experimental areas, one of them being
shielded against EM interference. The lab is one of the best equipped
facilities for non-invasive BCI research in Europe. Our equipment
includes: 5 EEG systems (2 Biosemi ActiveTwo systems, 64 and 128 channels,
respectively; 2 32-channel gTec systems, and a 24-channel Mindset system), a
24-channel near infra-red system, a 16-channel Nexus EMG system (plus 8-channels
for other physiological signals), a Jazz eye tracker, a MagStim BitStim
transcranial magnetic stimulation system, many Biometrics Ltd electrogoniometers
and accelerometers, two Edubot robotic manipulators, 3 Lego NXT robots, three
virtual reality systems, and 4 Bionics electrically-controlled medical chairs,
aside from the necessary computer equipment to interface with the above devices.
We also have a 182-processor Viglen/Rocks cluster dedicated to our research.
Note: we do not do research with animals or with implanted devices in our
lab. For more information on our BCI research, please visit:
The Brooker Robotics Lab (a PC environment with 30 dual boot PCs) is equipped
with about 25 mobile robots (of three different types) and 10 miniature
'intelligent' rooms, and is used for intelligent embedded systems and robotics
work. A range of specialist software is used for developing embedded systems.
The Robot Arena is a 100 square metre laboratory with a 6 metre ceiling
height for flying robots. It has one of the world largest powered lab floors for
long duration experiments of mobile robots. The Robot Arena features a range of
dedicated robotic equipment including a state-of-the-art 3D motion tracking
The Embedded Systems Laboratory provides software and hardware facilities for
the design, construction and prototyping of a variety of embedded system
solutions. The primary focus of the laboratory is to provide an environment
where ARM based embedded systems can be prototyped and tested as part of a range
of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Sixteen dedicated, dual screen,
workstations are provided together with a range of state of the art test
equipment to support the development process. In addition a number of
soldering stations are provided to enable the construction of custom designed
hardware. Such hardware will be designed by students as part of the courses they
electronics laboratory is equipped with a standard set of modern bench
equipment, including Tektronix digital oscilloscopes, bench power supplies,
signal generators and with the accuracy and convenience of modern multimeters
and the superior visual trend-display of traditional moving-coil Avometers. The
oscilloscopes are linked to networked PCs so that students can capture waveforms
from circuits under test and save the captured waveforms to their own personal
networked disk space, from where they can later retrieve the saved waveforms for
use in technical reports. The networked PC can also be used of course to access
online lecture notes, and manufacturer's data sheets and catalogues on the
Internet (and of course any other handy information on the Internet, such as
tutorials, encyclopaedia articles, online library resources, that may be useful
while working on a laboratory assignment or project work). Of course, there are
also soldering irons and other wiring equipment, plus a stock of electronic
This laboratory provides hands on experience in topics associated with modern
telecommunications techniques including: digital transmission, modulation, PCM,
optical transmission, microwave techniques, and quantisation and sampling. The
equipment includes 300MHz digital oscilloscopes, a 6GHz vector network analyser,
an optical time domain reflectometer, a Bit Error Rate test set, optical
amplifiers and modulators. All the oscilloscopes are capable of spectral
Measurement techniques used in the lab include eye diagrams to analyse
difficulties associated with digital systems, the spectral analysis of PCM and
FM systems with investigations into aliasing and bandwidth use. Advanced
equipment is used for microwave investigations where stripline components are
examined, and measurements of impedance, as well as transmission and return
losses can be made. A full optical transmission system is available, with
realistic data rates at 200Mb/s and a transmission distance in excess of 16km.
Finally the transmission of video images can be investigated, including coding,
filtering and bandwidth.
This laboratory has semiconductor lasers, detectors and analytical equipment
such as optical and frequency spectrum analysers. Spectra captured by the
analysers can be saved as images and data for creating reports.
Our teaching in networking requires students to configure and experiment with
which is, of course, not allowed in normal teaching laboratories. Therefore we
have a specialised laboratory designed so that students can reconfigure the
A facility to manufacture prototype printed circuit boards is essential for
an electronics School, both for research and for student projects. In the past
many departments have used a wet etching process, whereby unwanted areas of
copper are etched away by corrosive chemicals. This is the same process used for
mass production, as it is relatively quick. However, it is also environmentally
undesirable. The method currently employed by the School uses a computer
controlled milling machine, which creates isolation channels around tracks and
devices. Larger areas of copper can also be removed to give a traditional look
by using the appropriate tools. The milling machine also has the advantage of
being able to drill multiple holes automatically, eliminating the lengthy
process of drilling manually.
The cleanroom has the essential equipment needed to create semiconductor
devices like light emitters and receivers from novel wafer structures.
Electrical connections are made with gold wires thinner than a human hair using
wirebonders and other bonding techniques used by worldwide semiconductor
manufacturers. The devices made in the facility may have etched features with
dimensions smaller than a micrometre. Thin film contacts and waveguides for the
devices are deposited by a vacuum coating system. The contact metals (gold and
dopants like germanium, tin, magnesium and zinc) are annealed to make the ohmic
and Schottky contacts needed for devices like MESFETs.
This laboratory is a world-leader in optical fibre communication, with
extensive experimental rigs and equipment for the study of optical
packet-switching and optical routing.
This laboratory is equipped with a wide range of specialised equipment for
radio-frequency measurement and testing including network analysers (6 GHz, 40
GHz, 75 GHz), a scalar analyser, a spectrum analyser, antenna test facilities (4
to 20 GHz), and power metres (low frequency to 60 GHz). There is also a powerful
microscope and a computer-controlled scanner for material evaluation.
Commercial software used in the laboratory includes ADS, HFSS, TLM, and
Microwave Studio, and there is also in-house developed custom software for
filter design. The laboratory makes use of the printed circuit milling facility
(see above) for the production of microstrip circuits.
This laboratory is concerned with the design, simulation and testing of high
speed semiconductor lasers and with many aspects of THz technology. In the area
of high speed semiconductor lasers the laboratory is internationally recognised
for its experimental work on gain switched lasers, multi-section lasers,
external cavity lasers as well as for its design and simulation work in all
these laser areas. In THz technology the laboratory is working on femtosecond
laser pulse activated THz generators, THz spectroscopy, and compact
semiconductor laser based THz sources.