Conformal, Light-Weight&Load-Bearing Antennas Based on Conductive Textile Threads

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-12-C-0044
Agency Tracking Number: F11B-T13-0112
Amount: $99,775.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: AF11-BT13
Solicitation Number: 2011.B
Small Business Information
2780 Skypark Drive, Suite 400, Torrance, CA, -
DUNS: 106823607
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Rob Bortolin
 Principal Investigator
 (310) 626-8389
Business Contact
 Zoltan Feher
Title: Manager, Contracts and Pricing
Phone: (310) 626-8384
Research Institution
 The University of Texas at Dallas
 Dina C CRA
 800 West Campbell Rd, MP15
Richardson, TX, 75080-5080
 (972) 883-2312
 Nonprofit college or university
ABSTRACT: NextGen Aeronautics Inc. proposes use of CNT yarn to weave antenna elements into composite fabric used on Unmanned Vehicles. Use of highly conductive materials, which have previously demonstrated performance at least as good as copper at the desired frequencies, woven into the structural materials will enable antennas to be more simply mounted on a UAV. This ease of integration will also reduce the required structural modifications, weight of the antenna system, and drag on the vehicle. Additionally, by using different mounting points the antenna performance can be improved. This will lead to fewer antennas or more capability for the vehicle. By using structural excitation technology, which team members have worked on previously, the antenna size can be quite small compared to the frequency, enabling lower frequency capabilities on small vehicles. The team will review multiple conductive materials to ensure that the one with optimal performance in the desired frequency band is used. The final material will be woven into a demonstration article and tested to validate performance simulations. BENEFIT: Currently small UAVs are not able to have low frequency antennas at the commonly used UHF and VHF frequencies do to the size of the antenna required to pick up the transmissions. By using structural excitation technology, the whole vehicle can be used as an exciter for the antenna, allowing the actual element and associated hardware to remain much smaller and lighter for these low frequencies. Enabling these vehicle to access the VHF and UHF frequencies will greatly improve their capabilities and usefulness to the warfighter on the front lines. In addition to providing improved performance for new vehicles, integrating conductive materials into existing composite structures will allow these structural excitation antennas to readily replace existing antennas or be added to a vehicles existing EM suite. Simply replacing some of the skin panels with ones incorporating the highly conductive material will allow any vehicle to use the structural excitation technology and effectively operate much larger antennas covering much lower frequencies than is possible now.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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