Researchers at Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia have succeeded in using ionised gas in a common fluorescent light tube as an antenna for a Wi-Fi Internet router.
The prototype antenna consists of a fluorescent tube that connects to the router through a tuned wire coil in a sleeve slipped over one end.
Wi-Fi routers are essentially two-way radios that connect digital devices to the Internet. But in many buildings, providing complete coverage is a challenge. Radio “dead spots” can occur in areas where solid walls or appliances block a router’s signal entirely, or degrade it to become so weak that a portable Wi-Fi device, such as a tablet or phone, cannot connect reliably.
When electricity flows through the argon-mercury vapour in a fluorescent tube, it forms an ionised gas or plasma. Plasma has conducting properties comparable to a common metal radio antenna.
This allows an attached router to send and receive radio signals through the light tube on the standard 2.4-gigahertz Wi-Fi frequency in exactly the same way it does through a regular antenna. The router’s radio waves can ionise the gas in the tube, so it acts as an antenna whether the light is on or off.
According to the research team, the plasma found in a standard 62-centimetre light tube is highly conductive and signal measurements on a test device show that it’s strong and stable. Thus plasma compares favourably with standard metal Wi-Fi antennas for transmitting and receiving.
The prototype antenna consists of a fluorescent tube that connects to the router through a tuned wire coil in a sleeve slipped over one end. The coil passes the router’s radio signal through the glass of the fluorescent tube and into the plasma.
The team says that multiple antennas could be connected to a single router through a building’s electrical wiring using existing Wi-Fi standards. This would create a separate antenna in every room where there is a dedicated fluorescent light fixture and provide low cost building-wide wireless Internet coverage.
Further studies by the team may include adding more fluorescent tubes in various configurations to investigate the capability and performance of multiple plasma antenna arrays. One possible application could involve installing this technology in outdoor billboard lights. Each plasma antenna array would then be integrated with a Wi-Fi router to provide large-scale, system-wide wireless communication.
For further information contact:
Dr Mohd Tarmizi Ali
Associate Professor and Head of the Centre for
Communication Engineering Studies
Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
*This article also appears in Asia Research News 2015 (P.52).
Darmarajah Nadarajah | ResearchSEA
Beyond the limits of conventional electronics: stable organic molecular nanowires
24.05.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices
24.05.2018 | Technische Universität München
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy