The iBROW project brings together universities and private sector companies from the UK, France, Germany and Portugal to explore the potential of resonant tunnelling diode (RTD) technology to create ultra-broadband wireless communications.

The project, led by the University of Glasgow, has attracted 3.1 million pounds in support from the European Commission's Horizon 2020 initiative.

Experts expect that by 2020, wireless data rates in the range of tens of gigabytes per second (Gbps) will be required, which is not possible using the frequency spectrum of current wireless systems.

Without new forms of wireless data transfer which operate at frequencies above 60 GHz (and up to 1 THz) there could be a significant bottleneck in the rates of delivery available to wireless devices.

"We will be working with our partners over the next three years to develop new forms of wireless communication which use resonant tunnelling diodes," said Edward Wasige, senior lecturer in Electronic and Nanoscale Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

Wasige said the RTDs "have the potential to create wireless broadband systems at frequencies where other electronic semiconductor devices cannot be used, and could allow wireless data transfer rates of up to 100 Gbps in the long term."

"We will be working to increase RTD output power and optical detection efficiency with reduced energy consumption, through development of a low cost and energy-efficient unified technology which can be integrated into wireless devices such as tablets and mobile phones as well as the base stations these devices communicate with."

Horizon 2020, the biggest-ever EC Research and Innovation programme, will allocate nearly 80 billion euros between 2014 and 2020 for the project.