Metamaterial Flat Panel Antenna Developed

Scientists from BAE Systems and Queen Mary University of London have created a metamaterial flat panel that emulates the electromagnetic properties of a curved lens. BAE Systems claims it’s the first company to successfully create a functional composite metamaterial designed using transformational optics that allows a flat lens to perform like a traditional curved lens without any reduction in bandwidth performance. Traditional metamaterials suffer from limited bandwidth.

The flat antenna could be embedded into the skin of an aircraft without compromising aerodynamic performance.

"The technology developed could lead to us to think differently about aircraft design as well as lowering radar cross sections, provide weight savings or allow miniaturization of integrated components," said Dr. Sajad Haq from SAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre in Bristol, England. "Traditional metamaterials suffer from limited bandwidth whereas the new composite metamaterial we have developed for this antenna does not. The project is a great example of academic and industrial collaboration, illustrating perfectly what can be achieved with the right partnerships and skill set."

Professor Yang Hao from Queen Mary's School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science added: "It’s possible in the future that this research could contribute to the production of even smaller or discrete antennas. This could be useful in all walks of life from telecommunications to healthcare. We’re very pleased that this joint effort between academia and industry has overcome many restrictions on antenna design."

The antenna description and drawings in BAE Systems news release indicate the BAE Systems design is quite different from the Kymeta antenna. BAE Systems claims wide bandwidth for its design, while the Kymeta antennas offer electronically steering the antenna with reduced bandwidth.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.