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
Fraunhofer ISE Supports Market Development of Solar Thermal Power Plants in the MENA Region
21.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE
New tech for commercial Lithium-ion batteries finds they can be charged 5 times fast
20.02.2018 | University of Warwick
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy