RF & EM Shielding Technology

Trusted shielding solutions for electronic devices; Protecting privacy and security in a wireless world

The RF and EM shielding technology industry is essential to the development and deployment of new electronic devices and systems. Radio Frequency (RF) shielding is the industry involved with protecting sensitive devices from radio frequency interference (RFI) preventing information from being stolen, or sensitive electronic devices from being damaged. EM shielding is used to protect people and the environment from harmful electromagnetic interference (EMI).

The applications of RF and EM shielding are wide, from consumer devices to important healthcare equipment. Increasing demand for electronic devices and systems, the need to protect these from interference and radiation, causing device damage, performance degradation and data corruption, the growing adoption of electric vehicles, and the increasing awareness of the potential health risks associated with exposure to electromagnetic radiation, has increased focus in this sector.

There are a variety of different RF and EM shielding technologies available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common technologies include:

  • Metal shielding: The most effective way to block EMI and RFI, but it can be heavy and expensive
  • Conductive coatings: Applied to surfaces to provide EMI and RFI shielding. Typically, less expensive, and lighter than metal shielding, but less effective at blocking high-frequency signals
  • Ferrite cores: Shield electronic components from EMI and RFI. Relatively inexpensive and lightweight, but not as effective at shielding high-frequency signals or large areas
  • Gaskets: Used to seal gaps in enclosures and prevent EMI and RFI from leaking in, generally made of metal or conductive elastomers
  • Shielded enclosures: Used to protect electronic devices from EMI. Typically made of metal or a combination of metal and other RF shielding materials
  • RF shielding fabrics:  Used to create shielded enclosures or to protect electronic devices from EMI

The RF and EM Shielding Technology industry is now commercially mature, and industry focused research and development is being continuously carried out by specialists. This innovation includes conductive paints and coatings, composites for construction, and cloaking materials.

PI-KEM and PI-KEM Hart work alongside industry experts ensuring they have the material compositions and format that they require for the prototyping of new products. Our Thin Films, Nanotech and Powder specialists work with their customers to ensure they meet not only their material specifications, but equally their production schedules, budget, and compliance requirements.

  • Industry Insights

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    • Electronics: RF shielding is used to protect electronic devices from electromagnetic interference (EMI) to void malfunctions, and to prevent EMI from being emitted from electronic devices
    • Telecommunications: Used to prevent interference between different signals
    • Military and aerospace: To protect electronic equipment from jamming and to prevent EMI from being emitted that could be detected by enemy forces
    • Medical: To protect patients from harmful RF radiation
    • Consumer electronics: To prevent EMI from interfering with other devices
  • Innovation Trends

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    Recent trends in the industry include the production of lightweight and flexible shielding materials, the use of nanomaterials to create more effective shielding solutions, and the development of shielding solutions for highly specialised applications. 

    Some keys areas for collaborative research between researchers and commercial partners include:

    • New materials and shielding techniques: Developing new materials and shielding techniques that are more effective, lighter, and more cost-efficient than traditional materials
    • Shielding for emerging technologies: Solutions for technologies, including 5G and 6G wireless networks, electric vehicles, and self-driving cars
    • Shielding for complex environments: Including hazardous, high temperature or for applications including aircraft, ships, and buildings
    • Shielding for electronic systems: Due to increased complexity and integration, it has become more challenging to provide effective shielding. Researchers are developing new shielding solutions that can be integrated into complex electronic systems without compromising performance
  • Academic/ Industrial Partnerships

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    • PARASOL: A collaborative project, involving several universities and industry partners, focussed on using the safe and sustainable by design approach to devise better EM protection and compatibility within electric vehicles. Finding solutions to shield the electronic sensors and devices, involved in safety, navigation, and communication, within these vehicles, from the EMI emitted by the power electronics. Click here to read article
    • ETERNITY: An academic-industrial network partnering to achieve the design of innovative medical equipment where EMI risk management has been integral to the concept. Involving the design of new monitoring wearables, biosensors and complex care systems that are designed to minimise electromagnetic disturbance both within themselves and when interacting with other equipment. Click here to read article
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