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Highly Directional Antenna for Improved Communications

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Researchers at Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory have developed a highly tunable, high directivity microwave antenna with utility for military and mobile communications.


Directional antennas are used in advanced systems to optimize or maximize transmission/receiving in some directions while suppressing it in others, and are used in applications such as satellite communications, wireless communications, surveillance, and weather radar. As directional antennas have proliferated with the increase in wireless communications, one result is that the number of antennas that pick up extraneous transmissions has increased, which can potentially interfere with the applications using the antennas. To overcome this obstacle, researchers at Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory have developed a highly tunable, high directivity microwave antenna constructed from an optical photonic crystal. The antenna can be designed for operation in the 10 to 40 GHz range, and the antenna is tuned for transmission with directivity ranging from 100 to 500. In addition, the antenna structures may have utility as a highly directional receiver and can detect and discriminate signals from a very narrow cone. The antenna thus has potential to be useful for military communications applications and cellular or PCS (personal communication service) telephones.


* Versatile (very high directivity and tunability have utility for a variety of communications applications)
* Efficient (operates at lower power and is compact in size)

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 6,593,894
Highly directional receiver and source antennas using photonic band gap crystals
A directional antenna made with photonic band gap structures has been presented. The directional antenna is formed with two photonic band gap structures oriented back to back and separated from each other by a distance to form a resonant cavity between the photonic band gap structures. An antenna element is placed in the resonant cavity. The resonant frequency of the cavity is tuned by adjusting the distance between the photonic band gap structures. The resonant cavity can be asymmetrical or symmetrical.
Ames Laboratory 07/15/2003
Technology Status
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To: Stacy Joiner<>