Antenna tunes to all mobile bands

March 03, 2014 // By Julien Happich
Launched in August of last year, British startup company Smart Antenna Technologies (SAT) announced it has completed a second round of funding to boost product development and its sales and marketing activities.

The company is promoting a complex-shaped antenna design which can have up to 12 poles, something that could be printed as copper traces on a PCB or on the case of a mobile device, which could transmit and receive simultaneously DVB-H, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GSM, GPS, 3G multi-bands and 3.9/4G LTE signals.

Until now, mobile devices have to integrate up to six distinct antennas to work across various frequencies. Combined together, these can cost up to 20 dollars per mobile device, a significant part of the total bill of material.

In contrast, SAT claims to be able to replace all these antennas with one single design costing less than a dollar while reducing footprint dramatically. The unusually shaped antenna does not detune like others, claims the company, while covering the 450 MHz to 6 GHz communication range.

“The cleverness about it is how the shape is configured depending on customers’ requirements, and how we can configure and tune the antenna thanks to a dedicated companion chip” explained Professor Rick Hillum, CEO and Co-founder of Smart Antenna Technologies in an interview with EE Times Europe.

The findings stem from pure academia initially geared toward military applications. About two years ago, researchers from the University of Birmingham aimed for commercial applications and a 6-pole antenna was then demonstrated to work with prototype tuning circuitry by recently spun out company Smart Antenna Technologies.

Showing an actual implementation of the printed antenna would give too much away, according to Hillum who hopes to be licensing the IP to mobile chip vendors.