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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Plasma antennas

From Daily Wireless:
Sprint’s Xohm blog had a graphic (below), inserting the Xohm logo above the Chicago skyline.

It got me thinking about Plasma antennas. Sure, sure, its only a science project in a test tube — but imagine how a “virtual” antenna, floating 1000-2000 feet above a city, might revolutionize communications — if a free-space antenna could be created in thin air. A blimp antenna — without the blimp. The unlicensed 60 GHz band — even the 5.8 GHz band using 802.16m — can deliver “wireless cable” at Gigabit rates. Now that’s Directed Energy! An ionized gas, when sufficiently dense, behaves as a conductor. A plasma antenna generates localized concentrations of plasma to form a plasma mirror which deflects an RF beam launched from a central feed located at the focus of the mirror. These antennas only work when energized, effectively vanishing when turned off, with the plasma reverting back to normal gas. Beam it up using fancy phase conjugation of the wave front from multiple rooftops. Or something. Scientists are now apparently developing simple and rugged plasma antenna prototypes that could soon find use in military telecommunications.

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