Metamaterials antenna supports multiple bands

PORTLAND, Ore.—Rayspan Corp. Tuesday (Feb. 23) unveiled a single-antenna solution for mobile devices said to tune-in multiple frequency bands without requiring mutiple elements, costly switches and bulky matching networks.

According to Rayspan, the antenna is the first for mobile devices to be based on metamaterials (MTM)— patterns of metal and dielectric spaced at like-sized wavelengths.

“MTM is the only antenna solution that can support six or more bands operating from 698 MHz to 960 MHz in the low band and 1710 to 2170 MHz as well as 2.6 GHz in the high band. without requiring any switching elements or matching circuits,” said Elizabeth Rose, a Rayspan spokesperson. “We have the only antenna technology that integrates LTE, 3G, Bluetooth and GPS all from a single-feed antenna.”

One of the first customers to reveal that it is using a Rayspan metamaterial antenna is LG Electronics Inc., for its BL-40 handset which has GSM, EDGE, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM. But Rayspan is licensing its MTM antenna to mobile handset makers and also many other OEMs for products such as for netbooks, USB dongles, wireless routers and wireless modems.

How it works
Today's mobile devices use multiple antenna elements and active RF switches and matching networks to configure for a particular frequency. But the MTM antenna is pre-tuned to use the shape of a particular mobile device to realize multiple modes that can communicate at all the necessary frequencies from a single—albeit complex—antenna element.

The metamaterials themselves are fabricated as patterns of metal traces, separated by a dielectric air gap, on the same printed-circuit board (PCB) as the device's electronics. The spaced metal patterns act as if they were giant atoms in a lattice whose spacing corresponds to the frequency being received or transmitted. By combining normal antenna materials with metamaterials—which behave in an opposite manner to all natural materials—multi-mode antenna configurations can be realized on an existing PCB.

MTM antennas are custom designed for each particular application to fit alongside the circuitry of that communications device using simple jumper-wire adjustments for fine tuning.

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