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February 7th, 2011

A cheaper, lighter, more efficient antenna

Published on February 7th, 2011 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Credit: Penn State

Isn’t there a law or something that prohibits using metamaterials for something other than invisibility cloaks?*

According to Douglas H. Werner, professor of electrical engineering at Penn State, creating a new type of antenna is one of the first practical implementations of electromagnetic metamaterials that makes a real world device better.

“These results also help lay to rest the widely held viewpoint that metamaterials are primarily an academic curiosity and, due to their narrow bandwidth and relatively high loss, will never find their way into real-world devices,” the researchers report in the current issue of Nature Materials.

They specifically designed their electromagnetic metamaterials to avoid previous limitations of narrow bandwidth and high intrinsic material loss, which results in signal loss. Their aim was not to design theoretical metamaterial-enhanced antennas, but to build a working prototype.

“We have developed design optimization tools that can be employed to meet real device requirements,” said Werner. “We can optimize the metamaterial to get the best device performance by tailoring its properties across a desired bandwidth to meet the specific needs of the horn antenna.”

* Good thing, too, because there is a new cloaker on the block (more to come).

 


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