Rahmat-Samii (using nearly three dozen slides) described novel outside-of-the-box concepts for antennas—from tiny ingestibles to large space antennas. UCLA’s antenna research, analysis, and measurement laboratory is organized in five fields: personal communications; medical RFID (RF identification); remote sensing; electromagnetic band gap (EBG), photonic band gap (PBG), nano, and MEMS (microelectromechanical systems); and analyzing, optimizing, and measuring. The laboratory (in cooperation with other institutions) is advancing miniature antenna concepts as well as large antenna concepts. One of his key points was that “we can optimize antennas for almost any need!”
Rahmat-Samii highlighted the many conflicting challenges of miniaturization (e.g., low profile or low volume, with or without ground plane, single frequency or multifrequency, narrow or broad band, single or multiple elements, low or high cost). Approaches for miniaturization included low profiles using EGB, folding structures, incorporating switches, hybridization of the above, and stored energy utilization. He mentioned advances in RFID, including platform-tolerant tag designs, medicine-monitoring RFID systems, and medical diagnostics and sensing. He also covered advances in meta-materials, including double-negative materials, EBG structures, and artificial complex ground planes.
Q: For wearable textile antennas, where do you see this research going? A: Two fronts, embroidery machines and wearable designs (e.g., communications on clothing, such as for firemen).
Q: In medical applications, are you looking at RFID tags embedded inside the body for medical scans? A: Designing these types of chips, which create the communication link, is a challenge. However, this area of study is emerging, and the UCLA team is examining this application.
Q: International work? A: Europeans are doing interesting work (e.g., research on antennas and establishing a school of antenna engineering for worldwide Ph.D. students). The Far East (e.g., Singapore) is working in areas of miniaturization and multi-band design plus medical applications (biotelemetry). The Japanese are trying to reduce the cost of arrays and are also harvesting electromagnetic energy (e.g., charging cell phones from energy in the environment). Finally, China is doing research and producing various products.
4Unless specifically stated otherwise, the speaker answered all questions.