ta’s mTenna technology provides
beamforming satellite solutions
that are flat, lightweight, small and
use software to
steer instead of
This technology is being used to
deliver internet connectivity to industries that have historically been
inaccessible or difficult for the satellite industry to address, such as
rail, bus and automotive. Also, the
maritime and aviation markets have
struggled to implement satellite
technology broadly across smaller
vessels and aircraft.
A second company, Echodyne,
has developed metamaterial arrays
for radar using similar antenna technology to Kymeta but optimized
for radar applications. Echodyne’s
radar vision platform represents a
unique sensor technology that combines the all-weather, long range
and ground-truth measurements of
radar with high resolution imaging
capabilities (see Figure 7).
vision consists of high performance
agile imaging radar hardware combined with computer vision-like
software for classification, recognition and perception.
Their metamaterial based, electronically steered array radars operate in the same way as traditional
1. Transmit and receive via a single
2. Wide angle scanning and excellent beam performance
3. Electronically controlled pointing
4. Extremely low power consumption
5. First electronically scanned antenna designed for mass production.
Traditional satellite dishes are
heavy, large, expensive, consume
a lot of power and have mechani-
cal gimbals for steering, which have
prevented or limited their adoption
on most mobile platforms. Kyme-
based AESAs can steer the beam
without phase shifters, which reduc-
es system complexity, eliminates a
source of power loss and simplifies
waste-heat dissipation. There are a
couple of companies using unique
metamaterial structures developed
for this application.
Kymeta experimented with
these structures for many years and
discovered that the metamaterials
could be used to form holographic
beams that could link to satellites
and maintain the link while the antenna is in motion. Kymeta mTen-na™ technology (see Figure 6) is
manufactured using a completely
different process and components
than both traditional antennas and
phased array antennas.2 The “
metamaterial” in mTenna technology is
a metasurface in a glass structure.
Their glass-on-glass structure is
manufactured on the same production lines as LCD flat screen televisions, making it suited for low-cost,
high volume manufacturing. They
use the thin film transistor liquid
crystal as a tunable dielectric. Instead of reflecting microwaves like a
traditional dish antenna or creating
thousands of separate signals like
a phased array, Kymeta uses a thin
structure with tunable metamaterial
elements to create a holographic
beam that can transmit and receive
They use software to steer the
antenna, eliminating the need for
mechanical gimbals to point the
antenna toward a satellite. The antenna does not require active phase
shifters or amplifiers. Key features of
7 Echodyne’s radar vision unit
next to an iPhone.
5 A small test coupon of MITRE’s
biaxial metamaterial created with a
Voxel8 multi-material 3D printer.
6 Kymeta m Tenna™ construction.
8 Fractal Antenna’s RF invisibility cloak and measured data.
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