Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Realization of dual 5/60GHz antennas

Concerning the investigation of new key antenna technologies: three new designs tailored to the BroadWay system have been fabricated and fully measured:
- A 60GHz directional antenna design (high gain planar antennas) for access points
- A 60GHz omnidirectional antenna
- Two dual band 5/60GHz antenna design

These antennas are all-available for product integration and have been packaged into the BroadWay prototype in the 5/60GHz up/down converter.

When one looks specifically at the design of antennas at microwave frequencies, the following should be noted. Designing antennas at these frequencies is always a hazardous job, not with respect to the design itself but the manufacturing tolerances and losses. Small variations in material properties and layouts can cause at these high frequencies a relative large shift in bandwidth or even a drastically change in return loss. This can result in a complete malfunction of the antenna. Besides this point losses can be significant and feeding structures should therefore be as short as possible. These are normally the 2 bottlenecks for using planar antenna structures at these high frequencies. Taking into account all the manufacturing tolerances is a very elaborate task, which not always guarantees a successful outcome. Within Broadway it has been examined how these tolerances affect the performance of the antenna.

One of the major outcomes of Broadway with respect to the RF-side is that with the right manufacturing strategy the tolerance influences can be controlled very well, the overall reproducibility is good, and that the losses are not as high as expected. These findings encourage companies like IMST and Motorola to push antenna designs into higher and higher frequency ranges, for applications such as higher generation mobile antenna systems (palmtops, laptops, cell phones) where miniaturization is always an key issue. Because of the high frequencies antennas become much smaller than at lower frequencies.

This implies not only smaller terminals for a broad range of applications, as wells as indoor as outdoor, operating at high data rates, but also the possibility to included more than one antenna into a mobile terminal. This would open up the road to complete other applications like MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) systems where various antennas are used to increase the data capacity of an RF-link. Employing such techniques would introduce a whole range of multimedia applications, thus opening up markets with a high economic potential. A complete other area of interest are sensors, for example those used in car industry at 77GHz; anti-collision radar, etc. The type of antennas used her are normally based on lens designs. Using the Broadway experience, it may also be possible to use standard planar designs that are very compact and can be easily integrated within the car architecture. The car aesthetics are one of the most important market driving forces, and planar or nearly planar structures in the microwave frequency range are almost invisible because of their small dimensions. Other applications can be traffic management systems that use a large amount of sensors along the high ways to check, for example, for congestions or to impose penalties of charges.

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