ERC Researchers Develop Powerful Model to Aid Pioneering Work in Miniaturizing Antennas

Achievement date: 

Researchers at the NSF-funded Nanosystems Engineering Research Center (NERC) for Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TANMS), headquartered at UCLA, have developed a custom, 3D computational model to support the ERC's pioneering work aimed at dramatic reductions in the size of antennas without compromising their radiation efficiency. The model has unconditional stability and exhibits two main advantages over conventional modeling tools. First, it has the capacity of handling extremely small structures accurately, with a simulation efficiency 10,000 times higher than conventional tools. Second, it has the ability to predict simultaneous interactions between magnetic spins and electromagnetic (EM) waves at radio frequencies. 


This numerical modeling tool provides design guidelines for antenna fabrication efforts, eliminates prevalent “make-it-and-test-it” attitudes, and permits TANMS researchers to converge quickly onto an acceptable solution. Insights provided by the modeling effort have furthered an understanding of the fundamental physical principles governing the multiferroic operating characteristics. The model is able to design test devices, select appropriate materials, optimize geometry for maximum radiation efficiency, and explain experimental test data. By fully integrating magnetization dynamics into the simulation, TANMS now has access to a powerful modeling toolbox currently unavailable in any commercial software packages. This achievement promises not only to produce the best possible multiferroic antenna system, but its capabilities also extend well into other exciting radio-frequency applications.


The previous century has brought forth unprecedented technological progress in miniaturizing consumer electronics. Unfortunately, antennas have not benefited as much from miniaturization, and they remain one of the largest components in electronic systems. A new paradigm is needed to produce an efficient small antenna,; TANMS researchers have pioneered a new scientific antenna philosophy based on strain-mediated multiferroic composites.

However, because antennas based on multiferroic composites consist of structures with characteristic dimensions 105 smaller than the EM wavelengths, accurate modeling algorithms are essential. The TANMS 3D model efficiently models the necessary details to accurately represent the response of the multiferroic Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAV) resonance device. The model also includes previously neglected items, such as shape anisotropy, eddy current losses, and the multiple physics interactions that arise in multiferroic antennas. The figure illustrates several main features of the model.