Aerials can be friendly too

New mobile telecommunications base station antennas that are safer, less unsightly and more cost-effective to install than conventional systems are under development.

New mobile telecommunications base station antennas that are safer, less unsightly and more cost-effective to install than conventional systems are under development by researchers at Queen’s University, Belfast.

The 65 GHz prototype antennas incorporate sophisticated retrodirective transceiver arrays, so called because they transmit energy only in the direction of an incoming signal. By contrast, conventional systems are less discriminating, radiating energy in all directions to ensure maximum performance.

Because the arrays are designed to channel signals precisely to mobile phones and other antennas in a mobile network cell, the amount of redundant radiation they emit is reduced considerably.

Researchers believe this feature will translate into significant commercial benefits for manufacturers using the technology. It will also improve acceptance of the networks given public concerns about the safety of conventional masts.

The base station antennas under development at the university are based on a microstrip patch design. Measuring just 47 mm x 34 mm x 8 mm, the compact devices are hybrid circuits which incorporate solid state devices and antennas in a single unit.

Members of the research team will be displaying details of their work on the Northern Ireland Technology stand at CeBIT in Germany this month.

For further information, contact Thorsten Brabetz, research assistant at: e-mail t.brabetz@qub.ac.uk