New antennas are up to a hundredth the size of today’s devices | Science News

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New antennas are up to a hundredth the size of today’s devices

Tiny tech relies on magnetism to relay signals

2:00pm, August 22, 2017
photo illustration of people transmitting signals

TEENY TINY ANTENNAS  A new type of micrometer-thick chip could one day transmit signals from devices embedded in our clothes or even our bodies.

Antennas just got a whole lot smaller.

Tiny chips that communicate via radio waves are a tenth to a hundredth the length of current state-of-the-art compact antennas. At only a couple hundred micrometers across — comparable to the thickness of a piece of paper — these next-gen antennas can relay the same types of signals as those used by TVs, cell phones and radios, researchers report August 22 in Nature Communications. The technological advance could pave the way to create wearable, or even injectable, electronics, says study coauthor Nian Sun, an electrical and computer engineer at Northeastern University in Boston.

Antenna miniaturization has been stalled out for decades, so these minuscule devices are “a huge deal,” says John Domann, who wasn’t involved in the work.

A traditional antenna picks up signals when electromagnetic waves moving through the air wash over

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