Research top three at Sweden Impact Award

Published Oct 17, 2017

At Sweden Impact Award, Rajeev Thottappillil’s, Mats Bäckström's and Daniel Månsson’s research on “Defending critical infrastructure against intentional electromagnetic threats” was selected as top three in the category of Physical Sciences and Engineering.

Since 2015 KTH has worked with the project “Impact” to find ways to show the effect that we have on society. Within the project, researchers and educators was asked to submit stories (called cases) that describes how their work effects the surrounding society, research and industry.

Professor Rajeev Thottappillil, adjunct profressor Mats Bäckström and associate professor Daniel Månsson from the department of Electromagnetic Engineering submitted their case on how to protect infrastructure from electromagnetic threats. They also subitted the case to the Sweden Impact Award and it was selected as top three in their category in Sweden.

"It feels great to receive the recognition that collaborative work between university, myndighet, and industry can also be of high scientific quality and also can have great impact", says Rajeev Thottappillil.

The three projects chosen presented their work at the ‘Impact of Science’ conference this summer in Stockholm. When asked to sum up their case, Rajeev Thottappillil says this:

"In one sentence, the research in our case concerns with devising methods to analyse the effects to critical civilian infrastructure caused by sources that can produce high power electromagnetic fields".

Modern society is critically dependent on interconnected and interdependent infrastructure such as power, mobile communication, water supply, transport, and information technology services. Thottappillil explains that the prevailing critical infrastructure has evolved historically by adopting modern semi-conductor technology.

"The prevailing critical infrastructure evolved historically by adopting modern semi-conductor technology in its critical functions and its vulnerability to high power electromagnetic (HPEM) interference has changed and is largely unknown. Susceptibility of modern electronics makes the infrastructure vulnerable to HPEM disturbance, which can be created by rogue elements with technical expertise. The last 12 years of research at UU/KTH in collaboration with industry and state agencies has provided the major infrastructure owners in Sweden the knowledge and the methods to evaluate the susceptibility of their systems to intentional electromagnetic interference (IEMI) and take remedial action."

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