Reconfigurable Antennas for Portable Wireless Devices

James Aberle, Sung Hoon Oh, David T. Auckland, Shawn D. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


New technologies in communications electronics, such as software-defined radio (SDR) and RF switches implemented using micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), present new challenges and opportunities for antenna design. In sharp contrast to digital technology where Moore's law reigns, a fundamental law of physics constrains the ability to realize electrically small antennas that are both efficient and broadband. As a result, covering several frequency bands concurrently with a single antenna having enough efficiency and bandwidth is a major challenge. One possible solution to this problem is to use reconfigurable antennas that tune to different frequency bands. Such an antenna would not cover all bands simultaneously, but provides narrower instantaneous bandwidths that are dynamically selectable at higher efficiency than conventional antennas. Such tunable-antenna technology is an enabler for software-definable radios, the RF front ends of which must be reprogrammable on the fly. This paper discusses the practical implementation issues, limitations, and measured results of small, narrowband, tunable antennas within portable handsets. Many of the concepts discussed in this paper will likely become practical and cost effective in the near future because of recent advances in RF MEMS switches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-154
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Active antenna
  • Adaptive systems
  • Antennas
  • Land mobile radio equipment
  • Microstrip antennas
  • Mobile antennas
  • Multifrequency antennas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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