It is often said that good things come in small packages. This is particularly true in terms of portable wireless communication systems. Wearables, cell phones, and other implantable electronics have reduced in size over a period of times, which have made them not only popular but also useful in numerous cases. But an important component of these portable communication systems – the antenna – hasn’t been able to follow the same suit. Developers and researchers haven’t been able to get these antennas into a smaller size, until now.
In an online published paper in Nature Communications, a professor of computer and electrical engineering at Northeastern, Nian Sun, and his group of colleagues explained a novel approach on designing antennas. This discovery will enable researchers to manufacture antennas that are almost a thousand times smaller than the antennas that are presently available.
Sun commented on the lot of failed attempts on making smaller antennas and also about the new approach taken by him and his colleagues.
Conventional antennas are made to transmit and receive electromagnetic waves that travel as fast as up to the speed of light. But these waves have a comparatively long wavelength. This is the reason the antennas must be maintained at a certain size to efficiently work with the electromagnetic waves.
The researchers chose to design the antennas to an acoustic waves’ resonance instead of designing it at the resonance of electromagnetic waves. Acoustic waves are nearly ten thousand times smaller than electromagnetic waves but have the same frequency. This means that antennas for transmitting and receiving acoustic waves are much smaller than the most compact antennas present today. Additionally, as both waves have the same frequency, these new antennas would work perfectly well for cell phone and other wireless devices and would also deliver data without any delay.