LaSalle Students Design Matching Networks for Virtual Antenna Technology Using NI AWR Software
La Salle, an institution with more than 300 years of history, is a founding member of Universitat Ramon Llull. It offers specialized university programs in engineering and belongs to the Lasallian network with more than one million students and 10 million alumni. The institution focuses on entrepreneurship through La Salle Technova Barcelona, an innovation park and accelerator for technologically-based startups.
Drs. Jaume Anguera and Aurora Andújar teach a masters course in antenna technology in which they challenge their students to design small and multiband antennas using the Virtual Antenna™ antennaless technology developed by commercial partner Fractus Antennas. This technology relies on the use of a very simple antenna booster element with a matching network. In this way, the number of bands is fixed by the matching network, which is much faster and more flexible than designing a particular antenna geometry. Using the same antenna booster, students have mastered the concept that by changing the matching network, the antenna system can operate at any band of any communication system, such as mobile or internet of things (IoT).
The professors chose the NI AWR Design Environment platform, specifically Microwave Office circuit design software, for their students to design matching networks for the Virtual Antenna technology to operate at LTE, GNSS, ISM, and Bluetooth bands. S-parameter files of an antenna booster without any matching network were provided. Each group of three students then designed appropriate matching networks with lumped elements (inductor and capacitors). Microwave Office optimization tools were used to obtain the values of L and C in the matching network. Using this procedure, students mastered how to design advanced antenna systems from a microwave perspective.
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