Scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Sensors Directorate have recently invented a rollable multiport microwave device for a more compact antenna system that can fit inside an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The patented technology is available via patent license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.
One challenge in designing UAVs is the limited amount of interior or exterior space for their many components, including the systems for communication, navigation, and radar. Phased array antenna systems, which steer an antenna electronically instead of mechanically, have the ability to save such space. However, one component of phased array antenna systems — known as a multiport microwave device or a Rotman lens — has an elongated, flat, planar shape that may make it cumbersome to fit within the space confines of a UAV.
To this end, AFRL researchers have developed a multiport microwave device that can be rolled up to better fit in a space-constrained location. The device allows for multiple antenna beams to be formed without a need for switches or phase shifters and is a critical part of phased array antenna systems. The component may start out with a typical planar configuration and then be rolled into a cylindrical spiral, permitting it to fit onto the tail of a UAV, without affecting its performance.
- Packs the relatively large area of a Rotman lens into a small volume by rolling it in a cylinder following a spiral path
- System performance is not significantly impacted by rolling the lens, while size can be reduced significantly
- May be used wherever traditional antennas would need a significant redesign to use in a space-constrained location
- Has applications for UAVs, universal internet wireless base stations, mobile internet services, mobile internet devices, and the like
- Businesses can commercialize the technology by licensing U.S. Patent Application 20190109370 from the Air Force
- License fees paid to the Air Force are negotiable
- Businesses that license the technology may have the opportunity to pursue collaborative research with the inventors
- Testing data may be available to companies evaluating the technology
- TechLink guides businesses through evaluation and licensing; services provided at no cost