Proceedings of the IEEE Covers Antennas

Special-topic issue focuses on wireless communications

9 July 2012

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Another article in a series in The Institute highlighting the technical topics included in Proceedings of the IEEE in celebration of the journal’s 100th anniversary.

You hardly ever see them, but antennas are everywhere, from our homes to outer space. This month’s special-topic issue of Proceedings of the IEEE focuses on advances including antennas for digital cellular networks, wireless sensor networks, short-range point-to-point wireless connectivity, mobile broadcasting systems, global navigation satellite systems, and millimeter-wave personal area networks.

TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
The first section of the issue consists of four papers that summarize breakthroughs in analytical tools and measurement techniques. The first paper, “Small Antennas in Wireless Communications,” gives readers a fundamental understanding of the topic and acts as an introduction to the rest of the issue.

The second paper describes a computationally efficient technique for prototyping planar antennas and printed circuits for wireless applications. “Although many simulation tools based on the integral equation technique, finite-difference, time-domain method or finite element approach are commercially available nowadays, they have the weaknesses of requiring huge memory and much CPU time for accurate solutions,” IEEE Fellows Kwai-Man Luk and Kai Fong Lee wrote in the issue’s introduction. The technique covered in the article aims to improve on the weaknesses of those methods.

Another paper, “Nature Inspired Optimization Techniques in Communication Antenna Designs,” reviews designs for wireless-communications antennas. The paper explores the particle swarm optimization process, a computational method that tries to improve on a possible solution.

The last paper in the section discusses the method of using a reverberation chamber to test wireless devices in rich isotropic multipath environments. It also presents a theory for accurately modeling throughput for a long-term evolution system with orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing and multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) antennas.

ANTENNA ADVANCES
In the next section, six papers give an overview of the latest advances in five types of antennas: slot, wire, microstrip patch, dielectric resonator, and leaky wave. Methods to reduce antenna size and enhance bandwidth are discussed.

“Printed Slot and Wire Antennas: A Review” covers techniques for enhancing the bandwidth of printed narrow-slot and wide-slot antennas. The article describes radiation characteristics of various wire antennas.

When it comes to microstrip patch antennas, much research has focused on their inherent weakness: narrow bandwidth. “Microstrip Patch Antennas—Basic Characteristics and Some Recent Advances” reviews the progress made in the development of wideband and multiband patch antennas with linear or circular polarization. And because antenna size is important in wireless devices—the smaller the better—the article reviews techniques for reducing the size of patch antennas.

Dielectric resonator antennas have several advantages. They’re small, lightweight, inexpensive, and have reasonable bandwidth. Such antennas are especially useful in millimeter-wave applications. “Dielectric Resonator Antennas: From the Basic to the Aesthetic” discusses the antennas’ fundamental characteristics, as well as recent developments in higher-order-mode, circularly polarized, dual-functional, and transparent designs.

“Leaky-Wave Antenna” explains the type’s basic operating principles, plus recent advances in configurations. The last two papers cover beam-forming architectures and substrate integrated millimeter-wave and terahertz antennas.

UPPING PERFORMANCE
The next section reviews recent developments that enhance wireless communication systems.

“Smart Antennas for Advanced Communication Systems” goes over adaptive arrays, MIMO devices and other options. In “Reconfigurable Antennas for Wireless and Space Applications,” the concepts for designing antennas with reconfigurability in frequency response are explained. The paper also covers radiation patterns and applications in cognitive radio, MIMO, and satellite systems.

The section also includes papers on requirements for software-defined and cognitive radios and metamaterial-based antennas. Metamaterials can concentrate electromagnetic fields and currents near the antenna—which reduces the effect of a cellphone user’s hand and head on its performance.

The final section of the issue consists of 10 papers on the requirements, challenges, and designs for antennas used in wireless systems. Topics include antennas for cellphones; ultrawide-band antennas for short-range broadband communications, radar sensing, and body-area networking; and antennas for Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS systems, and automotive radar. Body-centric antennas, used in e–health care applications such as monitoring systems for the elderly and disabled, are also explored.

To read the full issue, you can subscribe to the journal.

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