ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
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ECEs invent world's smallest UWB antenna

ECE researchers have developed an efficient compact ultra-wideband (UWB) antenna (CUA) for a range of home, automotive, medical, and military applications. The antenna has achieved a near optimal performance for size and bandwidth, according to inventor Taeyoung Yang.

UWB Antenna (Photograph by John McCormick)

Yang, a Ph.D. student, developed the antenna with professors William Davis and Warren Stutzman. “To our best knowledge, our invented antenna is the world’s smallest with more than a 10:1 bandwidth. It has more than 95 percent efficiency for signal transmission and a fairly constant omni-directional radiation pattern,” said Yang.

UWB antennas are designed for low energy, short-range transmission of lots of data. Wireless transmission of data from a cell phone or digital camcorder to one’s computer is one potential use. A smaller antenna that can send large movies is easily appreciated. Wireless transmission from a DVD to a high-definition television (HDTV) offers a boon to room décor.

There are also complex and critical applications for such technology, said Yang. Examples are pulsed radar systems to prevent collisions between cars; medical imaging systems to detect tumors; and military applications, such as unmanned aircraft. The inventors’ strategy to reduce the size and increase the adaptability of the antenna was to configure it as a structure that can be printed on the inner side of the protective housing, which can be light plastic.

The design also makes it cheap and simple to produce. “The required material expense is low, the fabrication process is simple, and it is versatile for mounting on curved surfaces,” said Yang. “It is convenient to install and disassemble.”

— by Susan Trulove