It’s now possible to access the Web in more places and on more devices than ever before. As more mobile devices make it possible to view large bandwidth content, like video on iPads for example, the need is increasing for higher wireless data-rate- transfers.
A new type of antenna that makes use of plasma consisting of only electrons could revolutionize high-speed wireless communications.
The new antenna called Plasma Silicon Antenna, or PSiAN, developed by the UK company Plasma Antennas, relies on existing low-cost manufacturing techniques developed for silicon chips.
Essentially, the PSiAN is a cluster of thousands of diodes on a silicon chip that produces a tiny cloud of electrons when charged.
Those tiny, dense clouds can reflect high-frequency waves like mirrors, focusing the beams tightly by selectively activating particular diodes. This “beam-forming” capability could allow ultrafast transmission of high-data-loads.
The new plasma silicon antenna will help to usher in the next generation Wi-Fi…called Wi-Gig.
“Beam-forming antennas are the key for enabling next generation, high-data- rate indoor wireless applications,” says Anmol Sheth, at Intel Labs in Seattle, WA. “Without beam-forming antennas it would be difficult to scale to the levels of density of wireless devices we expect to have in future homes.”
PSiAN is compact and has no moving parts. That makes them attractive for use in a new generation of ultrafast WiFi, known as Wi-Gig. Existing Wi-Fi tops out at 54 megabits of data per second, whereas the Wi-Gig standard is expected to go between 1 and 7 gigabits per second – fast enough to download a TV program in seconds.
Wi-Gig requires higher radio wave frequencies though: 60 GHz rather than 2.4 GHz used by WiFi. Signals at these frequencies disperse rapidly unless they are tightly focused, which is where PSiAN comes in.
The antenna shouldn’t raise any health issues as they are covered by existing safety standards. The narrow beam means there is less “overspill” of radiation than with omnidirectional antennas. PSiAN could be com – mercially available within two years. As the demand for wireless speed and high-quality content increases, ultrafast wireless connection will be the key. When it comes, it may very well be in the form of plasma.
Source: David Hambling, New Scientist Magazine