Selected Case Studies

The selected case studies below show some of the early impacts from EURAMET’s European Metrology Research Programmes, EMRP and EMPIR. From improving radiotherapy success to providing local consumers with small-scale renewable energy through a smart grid, projects are addressing many of the grand challenges Europe faces today. Explore our case studies below, or click on the links to find out more.

Improving radiotherapy success

Radiotherapy is a powerful tool in modern cancer treatment – around 40 % of people who survive cancer do so because of radiotherapy. MRI-guided radiotherapy can further improve the success of radiotherapy by offering more targeted treatment through real-time imaging.

However, before this new technique can be widely adopted in clinics, accurate dosimetry needs to be established to ensure patients are consistently treated with safe and effective doses of radiation.

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Improved exhaust monitoring

To improve public health and the quality of the environment, new passenger cars must meet European emission standards before they can be type approved for sale. Of particular concern are the fine particles emitted by diesel engines – consequently, the latest emission standards include a particle number limit.

The EMRP project Emerging requirements for measuring pollutants from automotive exhaust emissions helped to establish the first direct traceability chain for condensation particle counters, one of the key technologies used to measure particle numbers, through contribution to a new ISO standard (ISO 27891:2015) and the development of a new calibration facility.

TSI, a manufacturer of condensation particle counters, was one of the first beneficiaries of the new calibration facility. TSI’s internal reference instrument can now be used with the ISO standard to provide traceability to TSI’s commercial condensation particle counters, used by engine manufacturers and emissions testing laboratories. This will ensure they can detect the low levels of particulate permitted by the upcoming Euro 6c standard and support robust, comparable emissions testing.

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Advancing quantum communications

Toshiba has used the results of an EMRP project in the first public demonstration of a prototype communications system secured using quantum key distribution (QKD). QKD, which shares encryption keys using single photons, offers a level of security beyond that possible with classical communication techniques.

The measurement capabilities developed as part of the EMRP project Metrology for industrial quantum communication technologies were used to characterise Toshiba’s laser system, a crucial element in the prototype communications system. After this performance validation, Toshiba had confidence in the laser’s use as a single-photon transmitter, and it was used as part of the first public demonstration of a QKD system using commercially-available components on a standard fibre optic network.

The success of this demonstration, conducted at telecoms company BT, provides validation of this next-generation communications technology and is an important step towards the widespread implementation of QKD networks for secure data transmission.

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Supporting smart renewable energy

With support from South Dublin City Council, the International Energy Research Centre (IERV - National Tyndall Institute), Siemens, Intel and Microsoft, the Micro Electricity Generation Association (MEGA) is piloting a ‘smart energy cluster’ in the outskirts of Dublin. This provides local consumers with small-scale renewable energy through a smart grid. MEGA’s smart cluster distributes locally-generated wind and biogas power using a power stabiliser incorporating a PMU, which links the cluster to the main grid system and allows inflow of power when renewable generation cannot meet local demand.

Through engagement with the EMRP project Metrology for smart electrical grids, MEGA received help evaluating the smart cluster’s PMU and best practice guidance to enable accurate grid stability monitoring. Support from the project will help to ensure a reliable power supply to users of MEGA’s smart cluster and the success of the pilot project. MEGA hopes to eventually interconnect local small-scale smart grids into a citywide system for Dublin. This will be an important step towards widespread renewable energy generation in Ireland and a more stable, low-carbon energy future for Europe.

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Safe airport scanners

Safer air travel relies on smarter security scanning to identify hidden weapons. Terahertz radiation offers high resolution detection, but demonstrating its safety to both operators and passengers is slowing wide spread adoption. Proving terahertz scanners are harmless relies on accurate power measurements and showing scans create minimal heating effects in the body. Reliable calibrations for terahertz detectors are needed to bring accuracy to risk assessments and help ensure travel security.

The EMRP project Microwave and terahertz metrology for homeland security developed a range of complementary methods and facilities for calibrating microwave and terahertz detectors and used a modelling approach to demonstrate that the skin heating induced by microwave and terahertz radiation is not hazardous.

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