Wideband Antenna Structure for Airborne Communications Systems

Period of Performance: 03/13/2008 - 12/31/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Applied EM, Inc.
100 Exploration Way, Suite 300
Hampton, VA 23666
Principal Investigator


Much effort have been devoted in recent years to develop compact broadband antennas to address antenna congestion on small aerial platforms (including small Unmanned Airborne Vehicles) and the explosive growth of communication and connectivity needs. Over the past few years, Applied EM developed and marketed antennas for direction finding and communication purposes with particular emphasis on the 30-2000MHz continuous bandwidth. Under this effort, we propose a 2-2000MHz single aperture that is at least 4 times smaller than current designs. Key elements of the proposed design are (a) optimal volumetric design for shape and topology optimization, (b) novel ultawide band material ground plane to realize a thin structure, and (c) magnetodielectric loading in place of reactive loading for optimal impedance matching. Each of these topics have been examined separately in the past, and will be integrated for the first time to provide a new paradigm in ultrawide band antenna design. Representative antenna elements will be farbricated and tested in the anechoic chamber to verify and guide re-designs. In addition, the performance of the new antenna will be examined on typical unmanned aerial vehicles via simulations. Passive and active impedance matching will be also considered for further improvements over bands of interest.