A Historical Note on Electromagnetics at the University of Toronto

    The University of Toronto has a distinguished history in Electromagnetics which primarily relates to the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Physics and Astronomy. In the 1940’s, Professor George Sinclair launched the first Ph.D. degree program in electrical engineering in Canada. During his Ph.D. studies, Sinclair organized what is now known as the ElectroScience Laboratory at the Ohio State University and served as its first director. Sinclair did some pioneering work in scattering and antennas, and played a key role in the establishment of the experimental characterization of radar scattering from aircrafts using scale models. Sinclair went on to found several companies, one of which, Sinclair Technologies based in Toronto, is still active in the areas of cellular base-station antennas and filters. Moreover, some of Sinclair’s graduate students became very distinguished scholars in Electromagnetics. One such student was U of T Professor Allen Yen who became a key figure in demonstrating the first very long baseline interferometer (VLBI), using video tape recorders to record and later correlate the signals from antennas separated by thousands of kilometers [1]. This important method is now standard in radio astronomy. Another notable student of Sinclair with a U of T connection is Professor Keith Balmain who started his career at the University of Illinois and then moved back to U of T in the sixties. Balmain remained Chair of the Electromagnetics Group at the ECE Department until the late nineties. Balmain carried out pioneering work in antennas in plasmas and participated in some sophisticated tether-in-plasmas rocket experiments. Together with Professor Ed Jordan (Illinois) he co-authored the now classic book "Electromagnetic Waves and Radiating Systems", Prentice Hall, 1968. During that period ECE Professor Keigo Iizuka carried out some notable work in antenna metrology and conducted some of the first work on volume holographic antennas and radars [2]. Furthermore, in the Physics Department, Professor Sajeev John become one of the pioneers of the concept of the "Photonic Crystal" [3], or as it is better known in the microwave community, the concept of the "Electromagnetic Band Gap" (EBG).

    In 1997, Professor George Eleftheriades joined the ECE Department and is now the Chair of the Electromagnetics Group. In 2002 professors Eleftheriades and Balmain conducted some of the earliest work in negative-refractive-index metamaterials which helped to establish the use of loaded transmission lines to realize such artificial materials [4],[5]. Since then, the Electromagnetics group has undergone an expansion and several new faculty members have been recruited. Currently the Electromagnetics Group at the ECE Department consists of the following five members (excluding emeriti faculty): Professor Mo Mojahedi (metamaterials, optics), Professor Costas Sarris (computational electromagnetics), Professor Sean Hum (reconfigurable antennas and space-fed antennas), Professor Piero Triverio (high-speed interconnects, complex systems) and Professor George Eleftheriades (metamaterials, microwaves and optics).



[1] Yen J.L. et al., “Real-time, very-long-baseline interferometry based on the use of a communications satellite”, 1977, Science, 198, 289.

[2] K. Iizuka, M. Mizusawa, S. Urasaki, and H. Ushigome, “Volume-type Holographic Antenna”, IEEE Trans. on Antennas and Propagation, pp. 807-810, Nov. 1975.

[3] S. John, “Strong localization of photons in certain disordered dielectric superlattices”, Phys. Rev. Lett., 58, 2486-2489 (1987).

[4] K.G. Balmain, A.A.E. Lüttgen, and P.C. Kremer, "Resonance cone formation, reflection, refraction, and focusing in a planar anisotropic metamaterial", IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters, vol. 1, no. 7, pp. 146-149, 2002.

[5] G.V. Eleftheriades, A.K. Iyer and P.C. Kremer, “Planar negative refractive index media using periodically L-C loaded transmission lines,” IEEE Trans. on Microwave The¬ory and Techniques, vol. 50, no. 12, pp. 2702-2712, Dec. 2002.