Unique Chip Antennas

Most people like to be connected to the internet all time. Therefore, wireless internet connections are becoming a must-have in modern life. Most portable devices now require wireless communication capability, and with that, the Internet-of-Things (IOT) is becoming the technology focus of high-tech industries. Eventually, everything will be connected together through wireless communication devices. In this wireless competition, a winning miniature antenna technology becomes your road to success in the vast market of portable devices because every portable device is competing for less volume, less mass and thinner dimensions.

A look at the past development of electronic products tells us that foreseeing the market need and developing key components accordingly is the key to success. In the case of wireless communication devices, antenna products are a crucial factor. In order to achieve the fast and steady internet connection that end users value, having good antenna quality is a basic requirement. With its excellent signal transmitting and receiving quality, Unictron’s patented miniature chip antenna technology helps you to achieve that fast and steady internet connection and win the customer’s heart.

Let’s take WiFi AP routers as an example. Many current products still use dipole antennas, and they are not only space consuming, unaesthetic and inconvenient, but also expensive and require more labor to assemble. If you replace that with Unictron’s chip antenna, your product design team can then say good-bye to that outdated stick, and design a new, slim and fashionable look.

Now let’s take tablets as another example. FPC antennas are currently the most common antennas used on tablets. Manual handling is required for an FPC antenna assembled on the cover of a tablet and two additional springs are also attached on the main circuit board. The disadvantages of using an FPC antenna is not only the higher assembly and material cost, but also the unstable quality due to manual handling. However, Unictron chip antennas are SMT processes compatible and cost effective with reliable quality.

How to design an embedded antenna

Embedded antennas are often used in mobile phones, tablets and portable devices. Based on different materials and processes, the major embedded antennas include LDS antennas, FPC antennas and chip antennas. According to different design philosophies, the major embedded antennas are actually PIFA and Loop antennas.

The concerns for embedded antenna applications are as follows.

  1. Antenna performance impact when the human body is too close
  2. The trade-off of antenna size and performance
  3. The efficiency impact by radiation patterns
  4. Custom-made is required for each model
  5. Total cost

Compared to other antennas, Unictron’s chip antennas provide the best solution to these issues.

1. Antenna performance impact when the human body is too close

The near field reactance of an antenna consists of electric fields and magnetic fields. The human body is a dielectric material, and has more effect on the electric field portion of the near field reactance. This could affect the feed in impedance of the antenna. When a person is near an antenna or holding a cellular phone, the antenna performance will be impacted more if the electric field is stronger. On the other hand, Unictron’s chip antenna utilizes improved loop antenna design methodology, in which the magnetic field portion is stronger, and thus decreases the impact of the human body on the an antenna’s near field reactance, thus causing less impact on the overall performance of the antenna.

2. The trade-off of antenna size and performance

Unictron’s chip antenna uses the metal of both sides for radiation. Although the size of a chip antenna is very small, the radiation efficiency can stay very high if the metal length of both sides is long enough. For example, PIFA( LDs, FPC) will have better radiation efficiency if the length of the antenna meets 1/4λ criteria and the antenna remains far away from metal object. For modern 3C products, the trend of the product design is thinner. When PIFA is close to the main board, the efficiency of the antenna will drop tremendously if the metal layers covered on the main board are not empty. However, Unictron’s chip antenna covers the previous problems by not only shrinking the size of the antenna to 3.2×1.6×0.5(mm) but also maintaining high radiation efficiency. Thanks to our innovative designs, Unictron’s chip antennas are used in Tier 1 companies as the standard antenna choice for their products.

3. The efficiency impact by radiation patterns

Regarding the design of PIFA antennas, the direction of the main radiation field will be perpendicular to the metal surface but not the position of the PIFA. Antenna engineers cannot use the design pattern of an antenna to change the direction of the radiation field, such that the main direction of the radiation field is different from our major concern. For example, if a smart phone needs to implement a GPS antenna, the GPS antenna will be located on the top of the smart phone since the main antenna of an LTE/3G will be implemented in the bottom of the smart phone. By using PIFA, the direction of the main radiation field will aim downward, that is toward the ground side. Under these circumstances, the radiation efficiency of receiving a GPS signal will be very low since the satellite signal of GPS is from the zenith. Unictron’s antenna can keep the current flowing around the chip antenna so that the radiation field will be focused on the sky in order to increase the effective radiation efficiency. The GPS signal efficiency will increase tremendously by using Unictron’s chip antenna.

4. Custom-made is required for each model

For traditional antenna design, each antenna needs to be customized by each 3C product because the position and environment of the antenna will have great impact on the electrical characteristics, specifically antenna efficiency. Under this circumstance, the antenna development time will be longer, the inventory pressure will be higher and it will result in higher costs. However, Unictron’s chip antennas have a unique tuning element design. Even with the shift of the resonant frequency from the different mechanical/geometrical environment, Unictron’s chip antenna can use the tuning element to fine-tune the resonant frequency to our target frequency. By using Unictron’s chip antenna, the development schedule can shrink tremendously with zero inventory, and thus lower the cost.

5. Total cost concerns

The total cost should include direct material/ labor cost and indirect cost.

A.Direct cost:

The cost comparison of LDS antennas, FPC antennas and chip antennas is provided as follows.

a.The cost of LDS antennas is the highest compared to other antennas, considering the expensive raw materials and complicated process.
b.The total cost of FPC antennas includes FPC raw materials, two springs, manual assembly and SMT cost. Although the cost of FPC antennas is lower than LDS antennas, but still higher than chip antennas.
c.The cost of chip antennas is lowest since only SMT process cost is required and there is no manual handling or additional spring cost.

B.Indirect Cost:

Under the development process of the electric product, the mechanical or geometrical structure will be changed frequently, such that the LDS antenna and FPC antenna will be changed with the mechanical or geometrical structure, which means the antenna must be redesigned. This will have an impact on the development schedule and increase the cost. Unictron’s chip antennas can meet different mechanical or geometrical structures without redesign. Unictron’s chip antennas can shrink the antenna design schedule and lower the total development cost.

Implementation Examples

Fig1:Unictron’s GPS and WiFi/Bluetooth chip antenna installed in a PC tablet.

Fig2:Unictron’s WiFi Dual Band (2.4G+5G) chip antenna installed in a PC tablet.

Fig3:Unictron’s GPS chip antenna installed in a Smart Phone.

Fig4:Unictron’s WiFi chip antenna installed in a portable AP router.

Fig5:Unictron’s Bluetooth chip antenna installed in an earphone.

 

Fig1Size:3.2X1.6X0.5 mm

Fig.1 Unictron’s GPS and WiFi/Bluetooth chip antenna installed in a PC tablet.

 

Table1 GPS & WiFi chip antenna 3D radiation efficiency

table1

table1-1

 

Fig2size:3.2X1.6X0.5 mm

Fig.2 Unictron’s WiFi Dual Band (2.4G+5G) chip antenna installed in a PC tablet.

 

Table2 Dual band WiFi chip antenna 3D radiation efficiency

table2

table2-2

 

Fig3Size:3.2X1.6X0.5 mm

Fig.3 Unictron’s GPS chip antenna installed in Smart Phone.

 

Table 3 GPS chip antenna 3D radiation efficiency

table3

 

Fig4Size:3.2X1.6X0.5 mm

Fig.4 Unictron’s WiFi chip antenna installed in a portable AP router.

 

Table 4 WiFi chip antenna 3D radiation efficiency

table4

 

Fig5Size:5.0X3.0X0.5 mm

Fig.5 Unictron’s Bluetooth chip antenna installed in an earphone.

 

Table 5 WiFi chip antenna 3D radiation efficiency

table5

 

Conclusion: Miniature chip antenna with excellent performance

Unictron’s chip antennas are popularly used in several Tier 1 company 3C products, such as smart phones, PC tablets, PNDs, portable routers, wireless dongles, BT earphones and more. Unictron’s chip antennas have many advantages: cost competitive, convenient design, noise resistant and INCREDIBLY small. The following table shows the comparison between chip antennas, LDS antennas and FPC antennas.

 

Human body influenceDimensions of antennaRadiation pattern effectivenessSingle standard partCost
Chip antennaLowSmallHighYesLow
LDS antennaHighLargeLowNoHigh
FPC antennaHighLargeLowNoMedium