Transparent Antennas

With the rollout of 5G necessitating more antennas, have performance and design requirements finally exceeded the capabilities provided by existing antenna materials? If antennas could be made transparent, escaping the bounds of an enclosure, they could “hide in plain sight” or be adhered to the outside of existing devices to overcome the challenges of new applications. Better yet, this new material could deliver equal or better performance to traditional materials as to not require the rationalization of design tradeoffs typically found with new materials.

Next-Gen Materials Bring Next-Gen Antennas

One of the challenges facing the companies deploying the 20 BILLION plus devices that will represent the IoT (Internet of Things) is where to hide all the antennas. For those making devices that depend upon RF to function that has always been the challengedesign and integrate a functional antenna without it being obtrusive or sacrificing performance.

For traditional "box" dimensioned electronics like computers and cell phones the conventional design approach has been to run a metallic antenna around the outer rim of the case. While functional, these designs tend to be at least somewhat directional and sacrifice performance to the other materials in close proximity. The tradeoff that accompanies this integration is either less performance or more material.

Signal Vector

Transparent, flexible antennas allow design & engineering without boundaries!

Optimizing antenna design isn’t merely a function of achieving the desired frequency spectrum.  Antenna shape, material composition, or placement within an enclosure can impact performance and ultimate success of the end device employing the antenna.  Even the required frequency can present challenges for engineers to overcome. 

IoT device designers are going to be faced with additional challenges. People, at least to some extent, expect computers and computing devices to be "boxy"...even ugly. Their appliances, lighting fixtures, and other home furnishings....another story entirely. To bridge the gap between technology and the human lifestyle will require the technology component to be invisible.

For example, the roll out of 5G wireless offers performance benefits for consumers but creates technical challenges for carriers.  The same millimeter wave technology enabling higher frequencies also creates interference problems with obstacles such as buildings, trees, and even rain.  More antennas closer to points of use are needed to ensure line of site connections to users.  The unique properties of our AgeNT transparent CNT Hybrid material enabled a national wireless carrier to deploy municipal Wi-Fi using transparent 5G antennas that unobtrusively blend in with their surroundings. 


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