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.

Related Articles


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 December 18, 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 December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Etihad Superjumbo Flight in December

First Etihad Superjumbo Flight in December

AFP (Dec. 18, 2014) The first flight of Etihad Airways' long-awaited Airbus A380 superjumbo will take place later in December, the Abu Dhabi carrier said Thursday, also announcing its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner route. Duration: 01:09 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The automaker added 447,000 vehicles to its recall list, bringing the total to more than 502,000. Video provided by Newsy
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