Beam-Steering High-Gain MIMO Antenna Array for Handheld Wireless Terminals



Reference #: 01110

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for better internal antenna arrays for wireless devices that improve communication and increase battery life.

Invention Description:

The subject invention presents a unique internal antenna array system that, when controlled using electronic devices such as RF switches or diodes, can provide high antenna gain and steer the array beam in the azimuth plane. Both of these are tremendously beneficial for high data rate voice and video communications.

This technology provides the most significant performance boost (gain, pattern) for arrays developed for operation at frequencies greater than 2 GHz. Some relevant existing applications include GSM 1900, UMTS, 3.5 GHz band, 2.4 and 5 GHz WLAN, and Bluetooth.

Potential Applications:

This technology has significant economical applications in wireless terminal markets including smartphones, tablets, laptops, wireless LAN routers, soldier phones, as well as the development of new devices, geometries, and architectures for other forms of wireless commutations.

Advantages and Benefits:

The proposed invention introduces an entirely new antenna design paradigm for high gain beam steering platforms which will be crucial for any future high data demand systems, e.g. mm-wave. Other competitive advantages include:

1.  Addresses beam steering challenges of current technology

2.  Consists of much smaller antenna arrays compared to traditional phased arrays, making them more suitable for handheld devices

3.  Provides orders of magnitude improvement over low gain and fixed beam inefficient internal antennas

4.  Saves battery life by improving efficiency

The rapid growth of wireless broadband access at frequencies greater than 10 GHz, e.g. mm-wave will allow the proposed invention to proliferate even more because of the wavelength being shorter which will allow more and more elements to be packed into a small space.


Current wireless terminals (smartphones, wireless PDAs, laptop computers) contain small inefficient internal antennas that have broad fixed beams and low gain. This limits their communication range and data capacity. These problems also deplete the battery quickly, especially in weak coverage areas because much of the radiated RF power is absorbed by the head or the body resulting in wasted battery power.

Diversity MIMO (multiple input and multiple output) antennas or their variants have been proposed; however, neither diversity nor MIMO allows a great deal of flexibility in terms of forming beams and steering beams in intended directions.

State of Development:

The first experimental prototype of the array has been developed and tested. Further radiated tests are planned the results from which will clearly show the high gain and beam steering features that are noted here.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Mohammod Ali
Nowrin Chamok
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