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Fractus shows fractal UWB antenna

Joan Maragall called Barcelona "la gran encisera," and she was right. Now, Barcelona-based Fractus, an antenna technology innovator -- and fractal antennas pioneer -- is showing a UWB antenna for the short-range wireless market. People like it, and some of the leading UWB chip companies have already evaluated the fractal antenna and plan to offer it as an option to their customers. The device is called the UWB Media+ Chip Antenna, and it complies with the requirements of reference designers, OEMs, and ODMs using the 3.1 to 5 GHz spectrum as specified by the WiMedia Alliance. Staccato, an Alliance member, has already tested the device and is offering it as an option in its all-CMOS UWB chip.

We are talking about a small device, measuring only 10x10x0.8mm. The UWB antenna combines an omni-directional radiation pattern and high efficiency level to deliver the largest bandwidth possible. The small size provides flexibility to device designers and readily integrates into space-limited PCBs in digital cameras, home-cinema equipment, PC peripherals, PDAs, mobile phones, and compact-flash cards.

Fractus pioneered the use of fractals in antenna design and development. Back in 1995, the company's CTO, Charles Puente, filed the first patent for fractal design applied to mobile telecommunications antennas. The company now holds 36 patents for fractal technology, and is using its proprietary technology to integrate miniature antennas into semiconductor packages (Antenna-in-Package). The products are already used in mobile phones, wireless consumer electronics using Bluetooth, WLANs, and base stations.

For more on Fractus and its new antenna:
- see this company press release

BACKGROUND: The theory behind fractal antennas may be expressed thus: In order for an antenna to work equally well at all frequencies it must satisfy two criteria: It must be symmetrical about a point, and it must be fractal, that is, it must be self-similar, having the same basic appearance at every scale. In fractal shapes the segments look like each other and like the whole object independently of scale. Repeating geometric figures known as fractals were first described by the French mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in the mid-1970s. Fractals are used to explain lightning, galactic clusters, and clouds, and are also used in many computer-image compression schemes. The hardware application of fractal geometry is a more recent phenomenon, with fractal antennas and fractal arrays offering a good example. A fractal antenna is an antenna which has been shaped in a fractal fashion through bending or shaping a volume, or introducing holes. Among the basic fractal shapes we find the Sierpinski triangle, Mandelbrot tree, Koch curve, Koch island, and more. The use of fractal antennas simplifies circuit design, reduces construction costs, and improves reliability. There is no need for antenna tuning coils or capacitors, and often they do not require matching components to achieve multiband or broadband performance. For more on fractal antennas, see the fractal antenna gallery website, and the website of the Electromagnetics & Photonics Engineering group.

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