DARPA seeks to shrink VLF wireless transmitters by 1000 times

Wireless transmitters that operate at very or ultra low frequencies (0.3‐30 kHz) typically require some big antenna complexes to handle their communications.

DARPA interested looking to eliminate that issue and develop physical structures 1000 times smaller that could handle new long-distance communication applications.

At these frequencies, free‐space electromagnetic (EM) field wavelengths are measured in tens of kilometers, resulting in very large transmitter structures when employing conventional antenna approaches. Electrically‐small antennas are defined as having dimensions much smaller than the EM wavelength, with examples in the literature of antenna‐sizes as small as 1/10th of the EM wavelength. DARPA is seeking innovation to bring that size below 1/10,000 of the EM wavelength or by at least a factor of 1000 times smaller than the current state of the art (SOA)

Such a tremendous reduction in size is impossible to achieve through traditional antenna design so DARPA said it is looking to gather information “in the areas of materials, mechanical actuation, and overall transmitter architectures to address impedance matching, power handling, signal modulation, scalability, and other system level considerations. “