Although antennas are a key enabling technology for everyday devices in the radio-wave or microwave regime, their optical version is essentially rare in today’s technology. However, recent research in nanooptics and plasmonics has generated a lot of interest in optical antennas. New studies now focus on ways to transfer the well-established radio-wave and microwave concepts into the optical frequency regime.
The lack of optical antenna devices in technological applications is associated with their small scale, and with difficulties finding materials that can behave as antennas at such frequencies. The new so-called metamaterials facilitate access to these new technologies.
Dr. Luigi La Spada has designed a new kind of epsilon-near-zero antenna. He has revisited the radio frequency and microwave antenna concepts, and brought them to higher frequencies (infrared and optics) by exploiting the opportunities that new materials offer.
The possibility to reproduce the behaviour of a classic half-wavelength dipole for shorter dimensions was a crucial aspect of his research. The electromagnetic behaviour of the structure (in terms of radiation efficiency, gain, and bandwidth) becomes independent from its geometry.
The research presented at BODYNETS 2014 resulted in the proposal of a new antenna structure that offers great potential in a wide variety of practical application fields, such as detection, sensing, and communications applications.
Read the whole paper here.