SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  AF071-086 (AirForce)
Title:  Antenna Array Structures for Composite Airframes
Research & Technical Areas:  Information Systems, Electronics

  Objective:  To design and build a new class of adaptable, software defined, skin conformal aircraft antennas aimed at coupling RF information into and out of nano-scale devices and sensors.
  Description:  Carbon nanotubes are essentially mono-atomic graphite sheets rolled into cylinders. Recent breakthroughs in materials synthesis have resulted in the ability to synthesize carbon nanotubes at microwave and RF wavelengths. This allows the possibility of wirelessly coupling microwaves from free space into nanoscale electronic devices and sensors. Integrated circuits built around single carbon nanotubes have been demonstrated. Carbon nanotube transistors have the potential to outperform silicon. Graphite/epoxy material is the basis of most aircraft composite airframe structures. These factors open the door for aircraft skin that could perform as software defined antenna or EM shield.

  PHASE I: Phase I of the program should demonstrate proof-of-concept of nanotubes as both receiving and transmitting antennas. Design GHz frequency range antenna from a single or multiple nanotubes.
  
  PHASE II: Phase II of the program should demonstrate proof-of-concept of connecting a nanotube antenna to a carbon nanotube integrated circuit. Demonstrate a prototype design of a carbon nanotube integrated circuit, tunable, GHz frequency range, transmit receive antenna module.

  DUAL USE COMMERCIALIZATION: Military application: The technology will produce new materials for enhancing stealth capabilities and producing polarization sensitive electromagnetic shielding and sensing of interest to the DoD. Commercial application: Wearable computers, cell phones, fuel cells, solar cells, drug delivery vehicles, bullet proof vests, fire retardant plastics, electrical power grid.

  References:  1. Charles E. Harris, James H. Starnes, Jr., and Mark J. Shuart, “An Assessment of the State-of-the-Art in the Design and Manufacturing of Large Composite Structures for Aerospace Vehicles”, NASA/TM-2001-210844 Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia. 2. G.W. Hanson, “Fundamental Transmitting Properties of Carbon Nanotube Antennas”, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 53, NO. 11, NOVEMBER 2005. 3. P. Burke, Z. Yu and S. Li, "Quantitative Theory of Nanowire and Nanotube Antenna Performance", cond-mat/0408418, (2004). 4. S. M. Huang, X. Y. Cai and J. Liu, "Growth of Millimeter-Long and Horizontally Aligned Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes on Flat Substrates", Journal of the American Chemical Society, 125, 5636-5637, (2003). 5. Z. Yu, S. Li and P. J. Burke, "Synthesis of Aligned Arrays of Millimeter Long, Straight Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes", Chemistry of Materials, 16, 3414-3416, (2004).

Keywords:  antenna, software defined radio, carbon nanotube, nanotechnology

Additional Information, Corrections, References, etc:
Ref #1: Available from NASA Center for AeroSpace Information.
Ref #1: Available from NASA Center for AeroSpace Information.
Ref #2: Available online to IEEE members.
Ref #2: Available online to IEEE members.
Ref #3: available at: http://nano.ece.uci.edu/papers/0408418.pdf
Ref #3: available at: http://nano.ece.uci.edu/papers/0408418.pdf
Ref #4: Available through online document delivery services.
Ref #4: Available through online document delivery services.
Ref #5: Available through American Chemical Society Publications.
Ref #5: Available through American Chemical Society Publications.

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