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Project Title:
Measurement of the dielectric properties of biological tissue at microwave frequencies

Start Date:
January 2002

Expected Date of Completion:
December 2004


Research Team:

Principal Investigator:

Dr Camelia Gabriel

Contact Details:

17B Woodford Road
E18 2EL


MCL is an internationally-recognised independent scientific research and consultancy organisation specialising in the interaction of electromagnetic fields with people. MCL undertakes a wide range of work for the European Union, the UK Government, Local Authorities, schools and businesses as well as having its own scientific research programme.

MCL is a recognised centre of expertise in dielectric measurement.


Detailed knowledge of the dielectric properties of biological tissues is essential if the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with the body is to be understood, quantified and interpreted.

This project deals with the determination of the dielectric properties of human and animal tissues in the mobile telecommunications frequency range. The measurement programme is structured to provide the following information:

(i) data on the dielectric properties of porcine tissues and an assessment of the expanded uncertainty of the measurement,
(ii) any systematic variation of the dielectric properties as a function of age,
(iii) a study of the dielectric properties of skin on human volunteers.

This project addresses the specific IEGMP recommendation for improved dosimetry and it will enable better assessment of exposure of children and adults to electromagnetic fields from telecommunications systems.

Potential Difficulties:

MCL has a great deal expertise in dielectric measurements of biological materials. The difficulties of identifying and measuring a wide range of tissue types under practical measurement conditions have not been underestimated.


This project addresses the specific IEGMP recommendation for improved dosimetry (1.57).

It will allow better assessment of exposure of adult and children and will impact on public health by providing statistical means to ascertain bounds in the assessment of exposure of a defined percentage of the population.



Final Report:

The final report on this project is available to download from this web site.

Peer-reviewed Papers:

Results from the project have been published in the following peer-reviewed papers:

Gabriel C and Peyman A (2006). Dielectric measurement: error analysis and assessment of uncertainty. Phys Med Biol, 51, 6033-6046. Link to abstract.

Peyman A, Gabriel C, Grant E H, Vermeeren G and Martens L (2009). Variation of the dielectric properties of tissues with age: the effect on the values of SAR in children when exposed to walkie–talkie devices. Phys Med Biol, 54, 227–241. Link to Abstract.

Peyman A, Holden SJ, Watts S, Perrott R and Gabriel C (2007). Dielectric properties of porcine cerebrospinal tissues at microwave frequencies: in vivo, in vitro and systematic variations with age. Phys Med Biol, 52, 2229-45. Link to Abstract.



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