Rob Vincent, a technician working in the University of Rhode Island's Physics Dept. has filed for a patent on an antenna design he developed that allows antennas to be made physically smaller without significantly reducing efficiency or bandwidth. The antenna design, referred to as a "distributed-load monopole antenna" appears to violate the principle that size, efficiency and bandwidth are related and to achieve two of the parameters, you have to give up one of the others. Vincent says his antennas are smaller, produce high efficiency and retain good to excellent bandwidth.
There are few areas of RF communication below the microwave spectrum that could not benefit from this technology. Smaller VHF TV antennas (low and high band) are one possible application, as well as smaller but efficient antennas for two-way communications and RFID applications. A University of Rhode Island press release, URI physics employee invents new antenna technology quotes Rob Vincent saying, "It could even make the Dick Tracy wrist radio with all the features, such as Internet access, a possibility."
The press release describes Rob's experiments as a ham radio operator and notes that the technology was developed after decades of experimentation. One of his tests involved creating an 18-inch high antenna for use on the 21 MHz ham band, where a quarter wavelength vertical is about 12 feet long. The high current in the antenna caused it to melt, but he was able to solve that problem. The press release said, "Tests confirmed that Vincent has created antennas at one third to one ninth of their full size counterparts. Normally smaller antennas are only 8 to 15 percent efficient. Vincent's antennas achieved 80 to 100 percent efficiency as compared to the larger antennas."
Refer to the URI physics employee invents new antenna technology article for more information. A web search did not turn up any technical details on the antenna design.
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