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Old 14th February 2012, 02:15 PM   #1
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Arrow HUGE technology development.

SPRAY-ON antennas waved about at Google's techfest [printer-friendly] ? The Register

The implications of this are simply mind boggling.
Doc
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Last edited by thaumaturge; 14th February 2012 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 14th February 2012, 03:24 PM   #2
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Huh. Interesting. I wonder how it works? I thought antenna range was a function of size and height only.
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Old 14th February 2012, 03:28 PM   #3
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You assume it works.
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Old 14th February 2012, 03:34 PM   #4
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Huh. Interesting. I wonder how it works? I thought antenna range was a function of size and height only.
This IS related to size... as in total surface area of radiator. Height becomes a factor in distance as frequencies go up. Lower frequencies (1MHz AM radio) will bounce off the ionosphere (Skip) and will actually lens a bit over hills, whereas higher frequencies become line of sight only, bounce off near any terrestrial object but sail right on through the ionosphere. TV antennas sit on high towers or mountain tops to gain the greatest distance -line of sight-.

This developement represents an improvement in actually coupling the RF energy itself more efficiently, as every particle of paint acts as a radiator. A 20 db (100x) improvement in an Iphone antenna? Whoa!

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Old 14th February 2012, 03:37 PM   #5
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You assume it works.
As an RF engineer with experience at 5 high power broadcast stations and RF instrument repair experience to 150 GHz... Yes.
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Old 14th February 2012, 03:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by thaumaturge View Post
This IS related to size... as in total surface area of radiator. Height becomes a factor in distance as frequencies go up. Lower frequencies (1MHz AM radio) will bounce off the ionosphere (Skip) and will actually lens a bit over hills, whereas higher frequencies become line of sight only, bounce off near any terrestrial object but sail right on through the ionosphere. TV antennas sit on high towers or mountain tops to gain the greatest distance -line of sight-.

This developement represents an improvement in actually coupling the RF energy itself more efficiently, as every particle of paint acts as a radiator. A 20 db (100x) improvement in an Iphone antenna? Whoa!

Doc
Ah, ok. It's about surface area and not just dimension. I still don't get how nano capacitors can improve the performance of an RF antenna, but I'm not an RF engineer so I guess that's to be expected...
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Old 14th February 2012, 03:51 PM   #7
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Think of it in terms of fractal geometry... or in more familiar terms with surface area on a heat sink. Infrared is RF (starts about 800 GHz).
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Old 14th February 2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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if this works, i am not too thrilled about the "read RFID tags from the air" part!
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Old 14th February 2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by thaumaturge View Post
Think of it in terms of fractal geometry... or in more familiar terms with surface area on a heat sink. Infrared is RF (starts about 800 GHz).
Doc
I'm pretty familiar with fractal antennas- the analogy is lost on me. Have you actually seen data from these guys? They appear to be local to you.
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Old 14th February 2012, 04:05 PM   #10
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His explanation (spraying capacitors) is pure nonsense. Most metal antennas are more than 99% efficient, so improving efficiency does not buy you much. I assume he is not an engineer, although he may employ some real engineers. If spraying a coating on an existing antenna could boost output by 20dB (he actually said 20dBm) then the existing antenna is very poor. Using trees as antennas was investigated by the US military about 40 years ago; it worked, but not brilliantly. I missed the bit about underwater, as the phone rang.

Is there a grain of truth behind the unbelievable claims? Possibly. A metamaterial coating could improve the behaviour of an antenna, but only if this was part of the design.

This is not a HUGE technology development, but an attempt to win some prize money? Perhaps in the hope that then they can really develop something useful? Someone who knew little or nothing about antennas (the prize judges?) might be impressed.

PS Its not about surface area. Antenna surface area may tell you something about bandwidth, but it tells you almost nothing about range.

Last edited by DF96; 14th February 2012 at 04:07 PM. Reason: add PS
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