Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

In Step Toward Ultrasmall Radio, UF Team Demonstrates On-chip Antenna

Date:
May 12, 2004
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
Like the signals it emits, the radio may soon disappear from sight. University of Florida electrical engineers have installed a radio antenna less than one-tenth of an inch long on a computer chip and demonstrated that it can send and receive signals across a room.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Like the signals it emits, the radio may soon disappear from sight.

University of Florida electrical engineers have installed a radio antenna less than one-tenth of an inch long on a computer chip and demonstrated that it can send and receive signals across a room. The achievement is another step in the team's continuing efforts to build an "ultrasmall radio chip" – a transceiver, processor and battery all placed on a chip not much larger than a pinhead – and one that could one day be used for applications ranging from detecting illegal border crossing to ensuring bridge and tunnel safety.

"This project is about building very small radios that are very hard to detect, both electrically and physically," said Ken O, a UF professor of electrical and computer engineering and one of six authors of an article reported in last month's edition of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Electron Device Letters. "Since the antenna is usually the biggest part of the radio, this is a significant step."

Tiny, cheap and disposable radios are seen as having many applications – and not for dialing in tunes from BB-sized Walkmans. Instead, the goal is to pair the radios with equally tiny, inexpensive sensors as a way of saturating large areas with sensing and communication capabilities. O said other researchers have suggested, for example, that airplanes could drop radio-motion detectors by the hundreds of thousands along borders, creating an electronic eavesdropping "fence" that would alert authorities to anyone crossing the border illegally. Each radio would be powerful enough to transmit information to the next radio, creating a single large network that could be monitored from afar.

"Instead of building fences, you could just deploy these things (radio sensors)," O said.

Another potential application: Pairing the radios with force or strain sensors implanted throughout bridges, dams or tunnels, with the goal of reporting small defects before they mushroom into disastrous problems. Equipped with microphones, the radios also could make excellent covert listening devices, because they are so tiny and their individual signals so weak that they are difficult to detect both by with the naked eye and electronically, O said.

Joe Brewer, a UF professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of the research team, said other possible applications include using the tiny radio "nodes" in place of heavy wiring in aircraft and spacecraft, which need to be as light as possible. The nodes could also be used in factories to monitor the progress of items as they progress down the line.

"We're not at the stage where we're really working on the details or applications – what we're trying to do is create the basic capability," he said.

Some groups have sought to achieve such communication networks using tiny optical devices, but this approach has difficulty of aiming the information-carrying light from one optical device to another, O said. In research sponsored by the Semiconductor Research Corp. and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the UF group has made steady progress on true single chip radios.

Two years ago, the group announced it had achieved radio communication across a single fingernail-sized chip. The current research significantly extends the communication range to at least 16 feet in free space, O said.

Brewer said the chief importance of the latest research is that it changes some of the traditional "ground rules" governing ultrasmall radio design – namely that the antenna has to be a separate unit from the rest of the on-chip radio.

"The impact here is that the problem of taking radio frequency signals from an antenna through electrical connections in wires to get it to a chip has always been difficult, and this (the latest research) eliminates an interface," he said. "It makes the whole assembly much more rugged."

The next step in creating the tiny radios will be to miniaturize the crystal oscillator that tunes into the radio frequency, O said. The eventual goal is to produce radios that cost less than $1 each, O said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "In Step Toward Ultrasmall Radio, UF Team Demonstrates On-chip Antenna." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040512042915.htm>.
University Of Florida. (2004, May 12). In Step Toward Ultrasmall Radio, UF Team Demonstrates On-chip Antenna. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040512042915.htm
University Of Florida. "In Step Toward Ultrasmall Radio, UF Team Demonstrates On-chip Antenna." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040512042915.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Airlines Swanky New Plane

China Airlines Swanky New Plane

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) China Airlines debuted their new Boeing 777, and it's more like a swanky hotel bar than an airplane. Enjoy high-tea, a coffee bar, and a full service bar with cocktails and spirits, and lie-flat in your reclining seats. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins