Posted by Courtney HowardSPOKANE, Wash., 1 May 2011. Radio communications experts at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., will investigate how to enhance the reliability of high-bandwidth wireless communications using wireless local-area-network (LAN) technology, with assistance from ANSYS Inc. in Canonsburg, Pa. ANSYS technology will enable university researchers to test antenna design performance virtually to reduce time and costs of expensive prototype build-and-test.Gonzaga researchers won a nearly $1.2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) award to develop a Smart Antenna and Radio Laboratory to do this work.The NSF grant provides Gonzaga with money for dedicated computers running ANSYS software that simulates smart antenna circuits and electromagnetic fields in three-dimensional (3D) structures. Using engineering simulation, the team from the Gonzaga School of Engineering and Applied Science will develop new multi-antenna techniques that improve the efficiency and bandwidth of wireless communications.
“We’re creating a state-of-the art anechoic chamber for testing our physical antenna prototypes, but even the best antenna test chambers are limited in their size and shape, the performance of their absorptive materials, and the range of frequencies they can accommodate,” says Steven D. Schennum, professor of electrical engineering at Gonzaga.
“By simulating electromagnetic fields and currents in a virtual environment using ANSYS software, we can test the performance of our antenna designs for any location, plane, or geometry—and over a limitless range of frequencies—before moving to the prototype stage,” Schennum says.
The design tools HFSS and DesignerRF from ANSYS provide results at a system level—including fabricated metal parts, cables, and other components—to capture the effect of individual changes on how the antenna system performs as a whole, says a representative.
For more information contact the Gonzaga University School of Engineering and Applied Science at www.gonzaga.edu, or ANSYS Inc. at www.ansys.com.