Sputtering antennas turn any surface into a radio transmitter

Any device connected via a wireless network requires an antenna - usually a built-in metal antenna, the capabilities of which are limited by the size of the gadget.

Researchers at Drexel University (Pennsylvania, USA) have proposed their own solution to this problem. They have developed a new type of antenna that can be sprayed onto almost any surface.

They are a nano-layer of metallic material called "MXene" (or "Maxine"). It is a two-dimensional type of titanium carbide (TiC) with a thickness of several tens of nanometers, which has high conductivity, which allows it to be used as an antenna.

Previously, MXene has already been used in experimental batteries that charge in a matter of seconds. Taking into account the existing developments, scientists have created a powdery substance that dissolves well in water. Sputtered onto the surface of an electronic device, it turns into a two-dimensional antenna.

In experiments with such antennas, scientists have found that, despite their ultra-thin dimensions, their performance is comparable to existing two-dimensional antennas made of graphene, silver ink and carbon nanotubes. MXene is 50 times better at transmitting / receiving radio waves than graphene and 300 times better than silver ink. With a layer thickness of 8 micrometers, a maximum antenna performance of 98% was achieved.

MXene antennas are compatible with virtually all transceiver devices, including flex and wearable electronics.