Researchers develop multi element antenna to improve digital communications

Combining several antenna elements into a single one would improve reception and efficiency and speed up data transfer.

Combining several antenna elements into a single one would improve reception and efficiency and speed up data transfer, a team of researchers from Finland has said. Researchers from Radio Science and Engineering department of Finland's Aalto University have developed a method that allows antennas -- that are mostly based on technology developed half a century ago -- to make the shift from the analogue to the digital world.

"Traditionally one antenna works with either one or a few different frequencies. Now we can take advantage of advanced digital electronics and combine several small antenna elements to work together as one antenna that can be made to operate digitally with any frequency," doctoral candidate Jari-Matti Hannula said. "In this way, many smartphone applications like GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will no longer need their own antennas. Instead, all of the phone's data transfer can take place through one digitally controlled antenna. This in turn makes phone design easier and enables a larger screen size relative to phone size as the antenna does not require so much space," Hannula added.

In the article, published in journal IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters, the researcher wrote that the new antenna also makes it possible to reach the data transfer speed set as the objective for the next generation of phones, which is 100 to 1,000 times faster than that of current phones. In addition, battery life will be improved and the antenna can have even greater bandwidth, which leads to a higher data transfer speed and improved efficiency.

These new antennas may also dispose of the analogue components that traditional antennas use to tune into the desired frequency. This facilitates antenna design and enables the creation of more compact antennas with better radiation efficiency.


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