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ANTENTOP- 03- 2003, # 004

Plasma Antenna Technology


1. Higher power - Increased power can be achieved in the plasma antenna than in the corresponding metal antenna because of lower Ohmic losses. Plasmas have a much wider range of power capability than metals as evident from low powered plasma in fluorescent bulbs to extremely high-powered plasmas in the Princeton University experimental fusion reactors. In this range, a high-powered plasma antenna is still low powered plasma. Since plasmas do not melt, the plasma antennas can provide heat and fire resistance. The higher achievable power and directivity of the plasma antenna can enhance target discrimination and track ballistic missiles at the S and X band.

2. Enhanced bandwidth - By the use of electrodes or lasers the plasma density can be controlled. The theoretical calculations on the controlled variation of plasma density in space and time suggest that greater bandwidth of the plasma antenna can be achieved than the corresponding metal antenna of the same geometry. This enhanced bandwidth can improve discrimination.

3. EMI/ECI - The plasma antenna is transparent to incoming electromagnetic signals in the low density or turned off mode. This eliminates or diminishes EMI/ECI thereby producing stealth. Several plasma antennas can have their electron densities adjusted so that they can operate in close proximity and one antenna can operate invisible to others. In this physical arrangement mutual side lobe and back lobe clutter is highly reduced and hence jamming and clutter is reduced.

4. Higher efficiency and gain - Radiation efficiency in the plasma antenna is higher due to lower Ohmic losses in the plasma. Standing wave efficiency is higher because phase conjugate matching with the antenna feeds can be achieved by adjusting the

plasma density and can be maintained during reconfiguration. Estimates indicate a 20db improvement in antenna efficiency.

5. Reconfiguration and mutifunctionality - The plasma antenna can be reconfigured on the fly by controlled variation of the plasma density in space and time with far more versatility than any arrangement of metal antennas. This reduces the number of required elements reducing size and weight of shipboard antennas. One option is to construct controlled density plasma blankets around plasma antennas thereby creating windows (low-density sections of the blanket) for main lobe transmission or reception and closing windows (high-density regions in the plasma blanket). The plasma windowing effect enhances directivity and gain in a single plasma antenna element so that an array will have less elements than a corresponding metal antenna array. Closing plasma windows where back lobes and side lobes exist eliminates them and reduces jamming and clutter. This sidelobe reduction below 40db enhances directivity and discrimination. In addition, by changing plasma densities, a single antenna can operate at one bandwidth (e.g. communication) while suppressing another bandwidth (e.g. radar).

6. Lower noise - The plasma antenna has a lower collision rate among its charge carriers than a metal antenna and calculations show that this means less noise.

7. Perfect reflector - When the plasma density is high the plasma becomes a loss-less perfect reflector. Hence there exist the possibilities of a wide range of lightweight plasma reflector antennas.


ASI specializes in the development of advanced patented plasma technologies in support of DOD and commercial organizations. ASI staff has extensive experience in the disciplines of science, physics, engineering and mathematics with a focus on advanced plasma physics. ASI has innovated and


patented new applications of plasma in the areas of antennas, communication links, electronic shielding and noise reduction. The Company has worked on plasma projects with General Dynamics, University of Tennessee, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy and Malibu Research, Inc.

ASI Technology Corporation



The Technology of the Future

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