Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Services Electronics Research Laboratory

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of Baldock

1945 The Services Electronics Research Laboratory (SERL) was established at Harlow and Baldock, as the research department for contract valve development.

1945-50: SERL concentrated on:

  • Q‐band magnetron (8.6 mm wavelength)
  • Q‐band Local oscillator
  • Z‐band wide bandwidth Transmitter-blocking cells
  • Ruggedized miniature valves for proximity fuses.

1950s: SERL developed:

  • 2.5 megawatt S‐band magnetron transmitter for ASRE’s Type 981 radar and TRE’s Type 80
  • "Squeak"/"Chirp" radar built and demonstrated, led to wide application modern radar systems
  • Began work on organometallic semiconductors, such as Indium Antimonide and Gallium Arsenide
  • High Power 1MW/1kW X‐band magnetron for missile guidance and tracking radars
  • High Power multi‐cavity klystron for frequency variable radar systems research at ASWE and RRE
  • Q‐band continuous wave Doppler auto‐follow radar built for evaluation of mm‐wavelength missile guidance systems
  • Pulsed neutron source developed for UKAEA to start the fission chain reaction, which later expanded into many civil applications

1962 SERL began work on the "Optical Maser", and later Lasers, initially leading to the He‐Ne ring laser proposed for inertial navigation systems.

1964 SERL started work on the low‐noise parametric amplifier, which became widely used in satellite communication and radar systems. Also, began work on pulsed excitation of gas lasers, leading to the discovery of the high efficiency CO2 laser.

1976 The Services Electronics Research Laboratory at Baldock moved to Malvern and was merged with other laboratories including the Royal Radar Establishment to form the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • History of MOD Innovation