"Together with Premix, we study how to use new, better materials and manufacturing techniques of antennas to minimize internal losses and achieve low fabrication costs."

Associate Professor Ville Viikari, Aalto University

Aalto_ELEC_EN_21_BLACK_1

CUSTOMER
Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering

LOCATION
Espoo, Finland

TOPIC OF COLLABORATION 
mmWave antennas and feeding networks

www.aalto.fi

Energy efficient use of radio waves

 

We co-operate with many of the leading universities and research institutes and enjoy the collaboration with all of them. We do have a soft spot for Aalto University, though, as many of Premix’s experts have graduated from there.

Aalto University and Premix have collaborated on many shared projects. One of them is an on-going research project 5WAVE where the aim is to develop new millimetre-wave radio front-ends for 5G cellular network access and backhaul connections.

 

Making the world wireless in an ecologically sustainable way

Mobile devices surround us, and the amount of wirelessly transmitted data grows 40-50 % annually. Besides being an indivisible part of our daily life, wireless technology has a significant ecological footprint.

- According to some estimations, wireless access networks accounted for 0.3–1.7 % of the global electricity consumption already in 2015, the absolute energy consumption possibly tripling by 2024, says Ville Viikari, Associate Professor, Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering.

A significant part of this energy is needed for generating radio waves to compensate for inefficient mobile antennas. Current state-of-the-art antennas of mobile devices waste up to 99 % of the available RF energy for heating the device and the user. Additionally, mobile antennas waste energy by spreading the RF signal into directions where there are no receivers.

Radical antenna improvements for more efficient use of radio waves

- We aim at radical improvements in energy efficiency of the wireless link of a mobile device by focusing on antennas at the both ends of the link: the mobile device and the access point, says Prof. Viikari.

 Prof. Viikari points out three ways of using radio waves more efficiently. First, antennas should be made adaptive to avoid wasting RF power for heating. Another important factor is using higher frequencies and direct the available RF energy precisely to the receiver. Third, intrinsic antenna losses are currently very large in mobile devices, where antennas are densely packed in a small volume.

Better materials

- Intrinsic losses easily dominate also at the future 5G millimeter wave bands, states Ville Viikari.

 “Together with Premix, we study how to use new, better materials and manufacturing techniques of antennas to minimize internal losses and achieve low fabrication costs.”

As an example, we have developed millimeter-wave antenna arrays, power division networks and transitions based on plastic waveguides. A plastic-based approach offers many benefits over traditionally used air-filled waveguide technology, such as lower manufacturing costs, easier integration, compactness and even physical flexibility in components.

Click below to read more about one of our collaborations - A 73 GHz integrated lens antenna prototype using PREPERM®.

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