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Transverse electromagnetic (TEM) cells can be used for exposing biological culture specimens to electromagnetic fields and observing possible anomalous effects. The uniformity of field exposure is critical to quantifying the biological response versus the electromagnetic dose. Standing waves and other electromagnetic field nonuniformities can cause nonuniform exposure. This paper reports the results of high-resolution three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations of a complete TEM cell designed for operation at 837 MHz. Several different cases were studied in which the number of culture dishes, the depth of the culture liquid, and the orientation of the culture dishes were varied. Further, the effect of the culture-dish glass bottom thickness and the meniscus of the liquid medium were examined. The FDTD results show that there is a significant nonuniform field and specific absorption rate (SAR) distribution within the culture medium for each case examined. Hence, biological dose-response experiments using the TEM cell should account for the possibility of strong localized SAR peaking in the culture media to provide useful data in setting exposure standards for wireless communications.
Date of Publication: Aug. 1998