Thursday, October 27, 2011

US Patent 8044866 - Optically reconfigurable CNT RF antenna

This patent from Boeing teaches how carbon nanotubes can be used to reconfigure RF antennas so as to make them resistant to electromagnetic attack and enable easy change of frequency and direction of operation without adding complex electronics. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method to electronically steer an antenna's direction of radiation, the method comprising:

providing a surface-conformal reflector that comprises an array of addressable optical media that illuminate carbon nanotubes;

radiating a radio frequency signal from a transmitter in the direction of the reflector; and

selectively addressing the optical media with one or more optical signals to illuminate the carbon nanotubes and switch a state of the carbon nanotubes between their non-metallic states and metallic states to alter a reflection of the radiated radio frequency signal.