This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project pursues the development of a novel volumetric efficient metamaterial antenna module for wireless and satellite communications, as well as radar applications. This Phase I project incorporates advanced metamaterials and textured ferrite composites to realize a broadband electronic bandgap (EBG) metamaterial as a means for achieving a dramatic profile reduction (<λ/60 in contrast to λ/4) in planar antennas. Phase I activities focus on development of the ultra-wideband EBG metamaterial, including the design and refinement of component materials, such as the specially designed textured ferrite substrates operating in the UHF to L frequency range with εr<15, μr>20, and tanδ ≤ 0.05. In order to achieve operation at L-band, tuning of the cutoff frequency with magnetic fields of the order of 100-200 Oe will be employed. Further, broadband antenna and EBG metamaterials will be co-designed as a single component to enhance the antenna assembly performance, with bandwidths >40%, efficiency >60%, beam width of 100Â¢Âª, and gains close to that of Chu's Limit. The development of advanced ferrite metamaterials represents a highly innovative and enabling advance in low profile antenna technologies.
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project includes addressing the needs of both commercial and Department of Defense (DoD) markets. The proposed dual use low profile antenna technology holds the promise of significant performance improvements in height, weight, and aerodynamic drag reduction over current state-of-the-art technologies in wireless, satellite communication, and radar systems. The success of this Phase I project in improving the bandwidth and increasing volumetric efficiency of radio frequency front ends has an enormous potential to impact commercial communications and DoD industries and to stimulate the U.S. economy by producing advanced technologies and, importantly, high-skilled jobs. A recent global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) market report found the global value of GNSS products and services, currently at $3 billion, will grow at a compound annual growth rate between 19 percent and 23 percent, and reach $6 to $8 billion by 2012. This Phase I effort will be performed by a veteran-owned small-business. Employees include a woman as minority-owner and Chief Operating Officer and two students actively pursuing engineering doctorates. As part of this program, the students will be trained in all aspects of metamaterial and antenna design.
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project pursued the development of a novel volumetric efficient broadband antenna module for wireless and satellite communication as well as radar and detection applications. In this program, Metamagnetics Inc. leveraged its expertise in advanced metamaterials and textured ferrite composite development to realize a broadband electromagnetic bandgap (EBG) metamaterial as a means for achieving a dramatic profile reduction in comparison to planar antennas. The radiating element was simulated and later fabricated utilizing both proprietary Metamagnetics ferrites and commercially available ferrite materials. Both of these efforts led to significant volumetric savings and highly efficient power transfer. These radiation parameters, among other figures of merit, are vital in both communication and radar detection systems. Phase I activities focused on development of the ultra wideband EBG metamaterial including the design and refinement of component materials. An example of these materials was specially designed textured ferrite substrates operating in the UHF to S frequency range. The results of these studies can be seen in Figure(s) 1 and 2. Here, Figure 1 depicts measured parameters of a specially doped hexaferrite toroid used in EBG design. Figure 2 depicts the design and optimization of the ultra-wide band EBG metamaterial; specifically how Metamagneticsâ€™ materials stand up against commercial alternatives. Figure 2 also demonstrates how the bandwidth of the metamaterial was calculated, including the design and simulation setup. Figure 3 depicts the antenna prototype developed by Metamagnetics Inc. The results of this process show gains close to Chu's limit, favorable return loss bandwidths ~50%, and efficiencies >60% with significantly reduced volume and weight. This combination of an original design approach with the development of advanced metamaterials represents a highly innovative and enabling advance in low profile antenna design.