Researchers of the University of Bristol have revealed substantial advancement in antennas through the usage of optically induced plasmas in silicone to regulate operation frequency and radiation patterns. Micro-Electro-Mechanicals Systems (MEMS) switches or diodes are used in the tuning of conventional antennas. These prevalent approaches have many disadvantages and are unable to scale up its performance as systems move to higher frequencies like 5G.
Scope for Improvement of Future Communication Systems
The first paper was jointly-authored by Dr. Chris Gamlath, a research associate during his PhD in Radio Frequency Engineering and was published in IET Optoelectronics. The paper elaborates how a silicon superstrate is placed on a slotted microstrip patch and the same is used to regulate radiation patterns.
The second paper with Dr. Michael Collett as the joint-author was published in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. It details how silicon can be put in the slots of cavity-backed, air-spaced antenna to do pattern and frequency tuning to obtain higher efficiencies.
This research is capable of spectacularly improving the radar systems and future of the communication. This technology is imperative for the implementation of specific types of 5G systems. Martin Crayon, joint-author of the papers and lecturer of Applied Electromagnetics and Photonics in the department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Bristol, informs that this technology depends on the interaction between silicon like semiconductors and light.
When illumination of the semiconductor happens with the application of an appropriate light wavelength, the photons produce holes and electrons resulting in increased conductivity of the silicon thereby creating a metal-like zone. Microwave signals are capable of interacting with these conductive regions. With correct designs, circuits and tunable antennas can be manufactured.