Researchers aim to bring directivity to electrically-small antennas

July 17, 2013 // By Julien Happich
Electrically-small antennas - antennas whose dimensions are small relative to the wavelenght of the signals they carry; are generally limited to omnidirectional radiation, which is suitable for many wireless applications for communicating objects, such as UHF RFID, wireless telemetry and home automation.

CEA-Leti (Grenoble) and three partners in the SOCRATE project are developing concepts to significantly improve the directivity of electrically small antennas, which could create new wireless applications with improved spectral efficiency, reduced environmental electromagnetic impact and usage features that increase functionality.

The SOCRATE Project is based on an analysis of the fundamental limits of radiation properties of compact antennas. It brings a new vision to the concepts of super-directional antennas with the contribution of new technologies.

In addition to Leti, the project includes IETR, a French umbrella organisation for researchers in the electronics and telecommunications sectors. It also includes two industrial partners that are developing innovative applications requiring compact antenna directivity with UHF frequencies: Movea, leading provider of data-fusion and motion-processing technologies for consumer electronics, and TAGSYS, provider of RFID-based item-level inventory management systems.

The three-year project, initiated by CEA, will build two demonstrators to illustrate how super-directivity of miniature antennas could lead to the development of new applications in object designation and tracking. Movea's interests in the project include object designation with a universal wireless remote controller.

The partners also will explore how a high degree of miniaturisation of the infrastructure can provide new mainstream applications, such as industrial and home automation, as well as wireless sensor networks.