Scientists from BAE Systems and Queens Mary University of London have created a novel composite material, called metamaterial, that could revolutionize the design of aircraft, ships, radios and satellite dishes since it has been successfully used to manufacture a new type of antenna lens that “thinks it’s curved”, but it’s actually flat.
According to the news article on the official website of BAE Systems, the metamaterial was created using transformational optics which “allows a flat lens to perform like a traditional curved lens without any reduction in bandwidth performance.”
Traditional metamaterials only operate over narrow frequencies when used in antennas, while the new composite metamaterial has a greatly extended bandwidth performance.
“The technology developed could lead to us to think differently about aircraft design as well as lowering radar cross sections, provide weight savings or allow miniaturisation of integrated components. Traditional metamaterials suffer from limited bandwidth whereas the new composite metamaterial we have developed for this antenna does not. The project is a great example of academic and industrial collaboration, illustrating perfectly what can be achieved with the right partnerships and skill set,” said Dr Sajad Haq from BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre in Bristol.
“It’s possible in the future that this research could contribute to the production of even smaller or discrete antennas. This could be useful in all walks of life from telecommunications to healthcare. We’re very pleased that this joint effort between academia and industry has overcome many restrictions on antenna design,” added Professor Yang Hao from Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science.
BAE Systems and Queen Mary University scientists are currently working on finding additional applications of the metamaterial, as well as new transformational optic designs using the new metamaterials for antennas and other disruptive technologies.
The partnership with Queen Mary University will allow BAE Systems to further its research and development of sensor and communications systems. Also, this breakthrough goes a long way towards better understanding the impact emerging technologies such as transformation optics and novel nano-materials have on the defence, security and aerospace sector.