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The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) has refreshed its online platform to intelligently connect you to relevant events, funding, thought pieces and specialist staff to help your business innovate and grow.

You can discover content using your area of interest, from Electronics, Sensors, Photonics to transport; from space to health – all major UK economic sectors are covered. Once you have selected your interests, using our intelligent tagging system, we will then display rich and relevant content related to your area, often from surprising sources.

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The move also marks a closer alignment with our main funder, Innovate UK , with the website branding making a clear visual link. Knowledge Transfer Network is Innovate UK's innovation network partner, and also works with other funders to provide innovation networking services and fulfil our mission to drive UK growth.

We link new ideas and opportunities with expertise, markets and finance through our network of businesses, universities, funders and investors. From agri-food to autonomous systems and from energy to design, KTN combines expertise in all sectors with the ability to cross boundaries. Connecting with KTN can lead to potential partners, horizon-expanding events and innovation insights relevant to your needs.

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Lightning Detection and Tracking: A Remote Sensing Challenge

By Paul Huggett


Lightning hazards are well known throughout the world and their effects well documented but unpredictable. They pose a major threat to modern infrastructures such as data, communications and transport systems. The Met Office now adds lightning strike data layer to its public website and makes the data available to 3rd party developers, derived from ATDnet (Arrival Time Difference Network) that uses a triangulation based network of sensors placed around Europe and Africa.

The receivers operate in the 5-20KHz frequencies, at which the RF emissions from lightning (known as sferics) can propagate many hundreds of kilometers via the ground wave and many thousands by reflection off the ionosphere as the sky wave. The actual propagation range is influenced by ionospheric conditions with significant day/night and seasonal variations.

Sensors are typically out-door wide band whip aerials with bandwidth of several hundred KHz. They use the vertical component of the VLF signal only. Whilst the horizontal component has smaller diurnal variation it also suffers from ranges limited to the few hundred kilometers.

The data processing system also needs precision timing/location data and incorporates GPS and Rubidium timing standards. Following application of Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) into the frequency domain, digital signal processing is used to apply high, low and bandpass and notch filtering, the last of which extracts known man-made interference. An inverse then converted back into the time domain analysed for events that exceed the signal to noise specifications. Finally the data is transmitted back to the Flash Location Processor located in Exeter for triangulation correlation.

Interference is a constant cause for concern since it may cause undetected errors in both detection and geolocation. One such event occurred when a signal was detected at the Keflavik, Lerwick and Camborne detectors at 16.5KHz with sufficient power to cause 50-70% reduction in output fix locations. It was discovered that a transmitter located at Helgoland, Norway was a the source of these emissions. This is believed to be a VLF transmitter for submarine communications similar to those already identified at Gibraltar and Reunion.

For those interested in further reading, the International Telecommunications Union has published an article on the subject in it’s remote sensing series available by clicking here.

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