Ground broken for DTU ETC. (Photo: Mikal Schlosser)

Ground broken for DTU’s new electromagnetic test centre

Wednesday 30 Oct 19


In 2020, it will be 200 years since H.C. Ørsted discovered electromagnetism. 

Electromagnetism is the link between electricity and magnetism and is the scientific basis for much electrical technology, especially microwave technology. 

Ørsted’s discovery of electromagnetism made it possible, later in the 19th century, to demonstrate the electromagnetic waves that surround us today and are used in countless ways for wireless communication, e.g. via mobile phones, radar, satellites, medical devices and security systems. 

The new DTU Electromagnetic Test Centre thus has a direct link to Ørsted’s discovery in 1820, and will strengthen DTU’s already unique position in the field of electromagnetic systems.
In the coming years, the unique test centre will be constructed in such a way as not to disrupt DTU’s existing test facility, where measurements are carried out for the European Space Agency, ESA.

On Monday 28 October, DTU’s director Claus Nielsen and head of DTU Electrical Engineering Kristian Stubkjær broke the first ground for the University’s new electromagnetic test centre. 

The new centre will strengthen DTU’s already leading international standing in the field of electromagnetic systems, especially microwave technology for wireless communication and remote sensing, which is used in mobile phones, radar, satellites, medical devices, security systems and more. DTU has developed a special testing method that ensures highly precise measurements at microwave frequencies. 

“These very precise measurements are essential, not least for ESA, who use our radio anechoic laboratory - which creates the same conditions as in outer space - to test satellite antennas. We’re currently working on measuring the antennas for the new European meteorological satellites, the MetOp Second Generation series, which will be used for climate monitoring among other things,” says Professor Olav Breinbjerg, who will head the new electromagnetic test centre. 

The new centre will make it possible to carry out several types of measurements of antennas and circuits in the entire microwave frequency range, from 300 MHz to 300 GHz. As a unique, international facility, it will enable increased cooperation with both Danish and foreign companies. 

Satellite-controlled construction process

The new centre will be built right next to the University’s existing laboratory, the DTU-ESA Spherical Near-Field Antenna Test Facility, where DTU carries out measurements for ESA. 

“The requirement for high-precision measurements at the DTU-ESA facility means that the building work on the new centre must not cause vibrations during the periods when measurements are carried out for ESA. This is a special situation that we have to take into account at all times, and that’s why much of the construction process will be controlled by satellites,” says Laila Halkjær, project manager at DTU Campus Service.

Teaching and testing in the same building
The new 1,300 m2 centre will contain a test hall with three anechoic laboratories and a shielded room. In addition, there will be a large experimental teaching laboratory as well as a study environment for DTU students. 

The building has been designed to promote a multidisciplinary environment among the researchers, business people and students who will use the new facilities. The new building will also be connected to the existing test facility.

It will be completed in early 2022, with Elindco A/S as the prime contractor. The architects are Christensen & Co and Langvad A/S Arkitekter, and MOE are the consulting engineers. 

As part of DTU’s sustainability strategy, the building must be certified according to the DGNB Gold sustainability standard. 


Rendering B. 357, DTU ETC

Rendering: Electromagnetic Test Center, Building 357