European Space Agency

University spin-off puts Perugia on the technology map


Perugia is the capital of Umbria, Italy and known as the ‘universities town’ where RF Microtech was set up and where the company continues to prosper. Image: Shutterstock

This month an Italian company based in Perugia is celebrating a decade of successful collaboration with ESA. RF Microtech has experienced remarkable growth in the last few years, which has put the medieval town – normally famous for its stunning scenery, legendary chocolate and its jazz festival – firmly on the technology map.

RF Microtech, who deal in reconfigurable antennas, active and passive microwave components for satellite communications, was founded in 2007 as a ‘spin-off’ of the University of Perugia, with the participation of research foundation ‘Fondazione Bruno Kessler’ (a non-profit public interest entity). The Perugia team soon found ESA’s support in the framework of the ARTES Advanced Technology Programme, the Agency’s main programme for preparatory development of satellite communications.

With ESA’s continued support, the company went on to complete several research projects, which allowed them to develop innovative radiofrequency components for both ground and space applications; in particular in the field of mobile satellite antennas, radio frequency circuits and filters.

By 2009 RF Microtech had a significant presence in the R&D community and joined Umbria Aerospace Cluster. It was not long before the company began consolidating partnerships with international players and system integrators operating in the area of satellite and terrestrial communications, avionics, localisation systems and sensing.

“The ESA ARTES programme has been instrumental in determining the development of RF Microtech, in particular in the area of miniaturised filters and diplexers”, says Fabrizio de Paolis, Technical Officer at ESA

The company moved to new premises in 2016 with facilities including microwave simulators, electronic/RF testing equipment, assembly and optical 3D inspection tools and mechanical prototyping machines. It is here, in the new facilities – which have just obtained production capabilities – that ESA teams met with RF Microtech in a bilateral meeting to consolidate and celebrate their successful working relationship.

The RF Microtech team. Image: RF Microtech

Founder and president of RF Microtech, Professor Roberto Sorrentino said: “This meeting represents a clear recognition of RF Microtech as a ‘success story’ achieved through many years of fruitful cooperation with ESA – to whom RF Microtech is extremely grateful for their significant and reliable support.” 
Now Vice President of the Umbria Aerospace Cluster, Roberto is responsible for the space sector of the consortium.

RF Microtech has won several prizes and awards in Italy and Europe, including the UK-Italy Springboard, the IEEE MTT-S Microwave Prize and the Bright Future and Ideas Award. Clearly, the future is even brighter for this dynamic company.



Published 30 July 2019
Last updated at 31 July 2019 - 12:54