Technology Innovation Institute Launches State-of-the-Art Research Facility in Abu Dhabi Offering Prequalification Testing for Key Industries in Region

TII's DERC Launches New Labs

New Hub at Tawazun Industrial Park Houses Seven Workshops, Five Specialized Laboratories, Focusing on HPEM, HEL and Acoustics


Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) today announced that its Directed Energy Research Center (DERC), has launched a state-of-the-art facility in Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP), a regional hub for strategic businesses in the safety and security sector that offers world-class business infrastructure.

The DERC facility at TIP comprises seven distinct workshops and five specialized laboratories, each catering to a specific research domain. The seven dedicated workshops are: mechanical workshop, electronics workshop, prototype test area, coil winding, armature filling, dielectric testing, and acoustic prototyping lab. Likewise, the five laboratories – each designed to support unique research requirements are: Pulse Power Lab, Semi-Anechoic Chamber, Tempest Chamber, Acoustic Lab, and Laser Development Lab.

The facility also hosts three mobile research laboratories that can be used in conjunction with the primary laboratories or be deployed in the field for outdoor testing, including two Electomagnetic Mobile Labs and a Mobile Laser Lab.

The TIP facility can house 150 researchers and visiting faculty or guest researchers that are working collaboratively with the DERC team. The new hub is equipped with three training rooms, which can host up to 45 people for various seminars and trainings. Strategically located within Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP), a secure economic zone, the DERC hub can now provide research and testing services to the local industry and beyond.

Some of the applications DERC can now focus on include High-Power ElectroMagnetics (HPEM) and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing, specifically immunity and emissions testing at different power levels. DERC can also undertake cutting-edge research in the HPEM and Pulsed Power domain, as well as prequalification tests for multiple industries in the region.

In another first for the GCC region, DERC’s new facility can conduct industry-leading Radio Frequency testing to manufacture and characterize high power, solid-state devices. The advanced laboratories offer opportunities to shape new systems and applications for local industries.

Emerging as a key area of interest, the new facility can also carry out highly sensitive Acoustic experiments that require a high degree of isolation from environmental sound and vibrations and support the development and characterization of unusual acoustic transmitters and sensors. The controlled environment in the dedicated labs helps identify involuntary sound sources in complex electronic systems that might lead to side-channel leakage. DERC’s custom-developed optical vibration analysis tools can examine mechanical system behavior across a wide range of frequencies.

In addition, the Center has also broken new ground in introducing Signal Electronics & Acoustics (SEA) prototyping to facilitate the local development of advanced solutions like small/high density RF and acoustic devices. The TIP facility has the capability to undertake soldering, complex mechanical assembly, and testing while also advancing prototyping in 3D printing to optimize manufacturing at the edge with modern tools.

DERC’s Mobile Laser lab is the first of its kind in the region to conduct laser experiments outdoors to explore the propagation of a high-power laser and study the effect on targets at a distance in the arid Gulf environment. Emitting a multi-kW continuous laser, the lab is equipped with a telescope mounted on a pan tilt, focusing a beam over a distance ranging from 200 m to 2,000 m. Connected to an electrical generator, the mobile lab is designed to be used autonomously outdoors under extreme temperatures of up to 50°C.

Speaking on the new facility, Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO of Technology Innovation Institute (TII) and Acting CEO, ASPIRE, said: “At TII, we are committed to attracting global talent to our research centers, a core proposition in supporting the UAE’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. Given this priority, we are proud to witness DERC’s phenomenal achievement with this facility. Such innovative hubs are set to draw a growing number of researchers as well as customers keen to benefit from testing capabilities across varied sectors – biomedical, prospection, material characterization, radars, and the detection of dangerous goods, are just some of the potential use cases.”

Dr. Chaouki Kasmi, Chief Researcher, Directed Energy Research Center (DERC), said: “We are excited to finally witness the launch and cutting-edge capabilities of this new facility that will offer us a distinct advantage while giving the UAE much-needed autonomy when it comes to ensuring comprehensive testing and establishing a reliable supply chain. Testing and activities that need to be conducted to build prototypes in this space are often classified as dangerous due to the research domains we are tackling. They require special licenses and approvals – with few research entities equipped to handle such administrative issues. We hope to preempt such hurdles with our leading infrastructure to offer holistic services to our customers.”

The Center’s achievement of bringing together multiple core capabilities under one roof is set to offer opportunities to take HPEM testing to a whole new level, while also enabling the testing of high-power lasers in compact environments. In addition, the hub brings to the region expertise in acoustics, electronics, physics and information security to advise clients and handle complex acoustics projects.