Antenna that directs the waves takes mobile communications beyond 5G


Technological Innovation Website Editor – 07/26/2022

Antenna that directs the waves takes them communicates

The size of a cell phone, the antenna can also be used for vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-highway communications.
[Imagem: University of Birmingham]

Antenna aiming at the destination

A new antenna, capable of directing the beam of waves it transmits, “increases the efficiency of data transmission beyond 5G”, say its creators, from the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom.

Experimental results from the prototypes show that the antenna can provide continuous “wide-angle” beam steering, allowing it to track a mobile phone user in motion in the same way that a satellite dish rotates to track a moving object.

The technology has demonstrated major improvements in data transmission efficiency at frequencies across the millimeter wave spectrum, specifically those identified for 5G and 6G, where high efficiency is currently only achievable using slow, mechanically driven antenna solutions.

For 5G applications, beam-steering antenna prototypes, operating at 26 GHz, showed unprecedented data transmission efficiency.

“While we have developed the technology for use in 5G, our current models show that our beam steering technology can be capable of 94% efficiency at 300 GHz. The technology can also be adapted for use in vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-vehicle transmissions. infrastructure, vehicular radar and satellite communications, making it good for use in next-generation automotive, radar, space and defense applications,” said Professor James Churm, one of the creators of the directional antenna.

Antenna that directs the waves takes them communicates

The flat antenna, made with metamaterials.
[Imagem: Metamaterials Engineering Laboratory/University of Birmingham]

directional antenna

About the size of a cell phone, the new antenna is constructed from a metamaterial, the term used for materials designed to have special properties not found in natural materials. These properties can include the manipulation of electromagnetic waves, either by blocking, absorbing, reinforcing or changing the direction of the waves.

The metamaterial is made from a sheet of metal in which a series of regularly spaced holes have been drilled, each a few micrometers in diameter.

An actuator controls the height of a cavity within the metamaterial, adjusting the position of the antenna with micrometer resolution. Depending on its position, the antenna controls the deflection of the beam of radio waves, effectively “concentrating” the beam into a highly directional signal. Finally, that focused beam redirected as desired.

“The simplicity of the design and low cost of the elements are advantageous for early adoption by the industry, and the compact electronics configuration makes it easy to deploy where there are space constraints. We are confident that the beam-steering antenna is good for a wide range of applications. 5G and 6G, as well as satellite and Internet of Things,” added Professor Churn.


Article: Enhanced Data Throughput Using 26 GHz Band Beam-Steered Antenna for 5G Systems
Authors: M. Rabbani, J. Churm, S. Payami, M. Khalily, P. Xiao, R. Rahim Tafazolli, TH Loh, James R. Kelly, A. Feresidis
Magazine: 16th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP)
DOI: 10.23919/EuCAP53622.2022.9769023

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