Liquid Crystal smart antennas to tackle 5G roll-out challenges

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ALCAN Systems, an antenna start-up company, has developed a Liquid Crystal based technology that can be integrated into a range of telecom antenna solutions to overcome the stumbling blocks of mmWave deployments.

Building on research undertaken at Darmstadt University, ALCAN has developed a Liquid Crystal (LC) based phased array smart antenna. Liquid Crystal – most commonly used in TV and smart phone screens – is used to design low- profile antennas.

This technology offers electronically reconfigurable beam-steering technology at a lower cost compared to typical silicon-based options and can be integrated into a range of forms including Customer Premises equipment (CPE), repeater, and Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface-Based antennas (RIS), along with land mobile solutions.

A patented technology, it has previously been used to serve the satellite market, offering a low-cost option for satellite ground terminals. The similarities between satellite and 5G frequencies, combined with the convergence between telecoms and satellite over the past 12 months, made it a natural evolution for ALCAN systems.

The versatile nature of Liquid Crystal allows for a naturally low-profile form factor at a relatively low cost. Additionally, the nature of liquid crystal also allows for an efficient and streamlined manufacturing process, meaning operators and premises managers can roll out mmWave 5G equipment at the scale needed to meet demand, while seeing a swift return on investment.

Commenting Onur Hamza Karabey, CEO at ALCAN Systems said, “To deliver mmWave 5G at scale still remains a huge challenge, and we cannot realise the benefits of the next generation of mobile connectivity without widespread coverage. At ALCAN we’ve recognized the pain points of mmWave 5G delivery and developed smart antennas to address them. We’re excited to see our unique technology evolve for the telecoms market and look forward to working with new and existing partners to see 5G deliver on its promised vision.”