From SLAC National Accelerator Lab: “SLAC develops novel compact antenna for communicating where radios fail”

From SLAC National Accelerator Lab

April 12, 2019

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A new type of pocket-sized antenna, developed at SLAC, could enable mobile communication in situations where conventional radios don’t work, such as under water, through the ground and over very long distances through air. (Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

The 4-inch-tall device could be used in portable transmitters for rescue missions and other challenging applications demanding high mobility.

The device emits very low frequency (VLF) radiation with wavelengths of tens to hundreds of miles. These waves travel long distances beyond the horizon and can penetrate environments that would block radio waves with shorter wavelengths. While today’s most powerful VLF technology requires gigantic emitters, this antenna is only four inches tall, so it could potentially be used for tasks that demand high mobility, including rescue and defense missions.

“Our device is also hundreds of times more efficient and can transmit data faster than previous devices of comparable size,” said SLAC’s Mark Kemp, the project’s principal investigator. “Its performance pushes the limits of what’s technologically possible and puts portable VLF applications, like sending short text messages in challenging situations, within reach.”

The SLAC-led team reported their results today in Nature Communications.

See the full article here .


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SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.