of solid wire antenna design are eliminated. The design allows
for extremely short pulses, important to many forms of digital
communication and radars. The design further provides the opportunity
to construct an antenna that can be compact and dynamically reconfigured
for frequency, direction, bandwidth, gain and beam width. Plasma
antenna technology will enable antennas to be designed that are
efficient, low in weight and smaller in size than traditional
solid wire antennas.
When gas is electrically charged, or ionized to a plasma
state it becomes conductive, allowing radio frequency (RF) signals
to be transmitted or received. We employ ionized gas enclosed
in a tube as the conducting element of an antenna. When the gas
is not ionized, the antenna element ceases to exist. This is a
fundamental change from traditional antenna design that generally
employs solid metal wires as the conducting element. We believe
our plasma antenna offers numerous advantages including stealth
for military applications and higher digital performance in commercial
applications. We also believe our technology can compete in many
metal antenna applications.
Initial studies have concluded that a plasma antenna's
performance is equal to a copper wire antenna in every respect.
Plasma antennas can be used for any transmission and/or modulation
technique: continuous wave (CW), phase modulation, impulse, AM,
FM, chirp, spread spectrum or other digital techniques. And the
plasma antenna can be used over a large frequency range up to
20GHz and employ a wide variety of gases (for example neon, argon,
helium, krypton, mercury vapor and zenon). The same is true as
to its value as a receive antenna.
Applications of Plasma Technology
Plasma antennas offer distinct advantages and can compete
with most metal antenna applications. The plasma antenna's advantages
over conventional metal elements are most obvious in military
applications where stealth and electronic warfare are primary
concerns. Other important military factors are weight, size and
the ability to reconfigure. Potential military applications include:
Shipboard/submarine antenna replacements.
· Unmanned air vehicle sensor antennas.
· IFF ("identification friend or foe") land-based vehicle
· Stealth aircraft antenna replacements.
· Broad band jamming equipment including for spread-spectrum emitters.
· ECM (electronic counter-measure) antennas.
· Phased array element replacements.
· EMI/ECI mitigation
· Detection and tracking of ballistic missiles
· Side and back lobe reduction
Military antenna installations can be quite sophisticated
and just the antenna portion of a communications or radar installation
on a ship or submarine can cost in the millions of dollars.
Plasma antenna technology has commercial applications
in telemetry, broad-band communications, ground penetrating radar,
navigation, weather radar, wind shear detection and collision
avoidance, high-speed data (for example Internet) communication
spread spectrum communication, and cellular radiation protection.
Characteristics of a Plasma Antenna
One fundamental distinguishing feature of a plasma
antenna is that the gas ionizing process can manipulate resistance.
When deionized, the gas has infinite resistance and does not interact
with RF radiation. When deionized the gas antenna will not backscatter
radar waves (providing stealth) and will not absorb high-power
microwave radiation (reducing the effect of electronic warfare