A mobile phone has both transmitter and receiver sections. When a mobile device is operating, it emits radio waves that consist of radio frequency (RF) energy, a form of electromagnetic (EM) radiation moving at the speed of light. It works by transmitting radio wave signals to, and receiving these from, nearby base stations.
Fears that these RF fields could affect our health have prompted legislators to set limits. Many countries around the world have adopted guidelines set by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). These guidelines refer to a specific absorption rate (SAR), a measure of the rate at which EM is absorbed by the human body, when exposed to radio waves. This happens when we use a mobile phone, for example.
IEC TC 106 standardizes the methods for the assessment of electric, magnetic and EM fields associated with human exposure. IEC 62209-3 establishes a novel measurement procedure for the assessment of the SAR of human exposure to RF fields from wireless communication devices.
It sets specifications for fast SAR measurement systems, using a vector-probe array solution. This system determines the 3D EM field, by using a 3D reconstruction algorithm in a phantom, a sort of mannequin or physical model of the human body.
“This type of testing would take around five weeks using traditional measurement methods. Vector-based measurement enables manufacturers to carry it out in less than half a day, which saves a considerable amount of time and money as well”, says Jafar Keshvari, who leads the project team that produced the standard.