Man standing in an anechoic chamber holding a flat antenna.

CSIRO's smart antenna technology makes the most of available spectrum.

Antenna systems research

CSIRO develops, designs and builds antennas for applications in digital wireless networks, broadband communications and radio astronomy.

  • 29 July 2011 | Updated 14 October 2011

Building on our long history designing and building antennas for radio astronomy, CSIRO’s current antenna research is world-class and has wide-ranging applications.

Current activities

We currently focus on developing antennas:

  • that reconfigure themselves to make the most flexible and efficient use of the radio spectrum
  • for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope.

Reconfigurable antennas

Our work on antennas that automatically make the most flexible and efficient use of the radio spectrum underpins our research into cognitive wireless networks.

Cognitive wireless networks take information from an optic fibre hub, for example, and make it available to wireless devices.

Our antenna research is world-class and has wide-ranging applications.

The network is made up of intelligent nodes that cooperate among themselves to deliver information with improved link reliability, capacity and coverage.

We’re developing low cost reconfigurable antennas that will go inside these nodes.

The antennas will operate at frequencies from a few hundred megahertz to millimetre-wave frequencies. The millimetre bands above 60 gigahertz offer the wide bandwidth necessary for high speed wireless delivery of multimedia information.

Read about how these technologies are applied in:

Broadband to the bush

CSIRO's Ngara technologies aim to bring wireless broadband communications to rural and regional areas of Australia.

Wireless sensor networks: a new instrument for observing our world

CSIRO is developing robust wireless sensor network hardware and smart software to increase the quality and reduce the cost of collecting environmental data.

Wireless tracking for challenging applications

CSIRO’s portable location technology operates indoors, underground and in built-up areas.

Radio astronomy

For ASKAP we’re developing enabling technology using wideband focal plane array (FPA) antennas and digital beamformers.

In particular, we’re investigating:

  • the capability of wideband connected-array antennas
  • electromagnetic modelling of array antennas
  • FPA system modelling
  • design and optimisation of joints, array elements and low-noise amplifiers
  • digital beamforming and calibration techniques.

Read more in ASKAP technologies [external link].

Partners

Our research partners in the private sector include:

  • NEC
  • Boeing
  • CETC
  • BAE Systems
  • TST Germany
  • Marand Engineering.

Our government partners include the:

  • Australian Institute of Sport
  • Department of Defence
  • Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

Impact

Our antenna systems research has benefitted defence forces and professionals working in the field of satellite communications.

We have helped wireless communications companies develop cutting edge systems and products, for example:

MultiBeam antenna provides novel solution for satellite communication

A CSIRO research team has developed a single antenna that can replace many conventional antennas by communicating simultaneously with up to 20 geostationary satellites over multiple frequency bands.
CSIRO’s MultiBeam antenna can collect signals from up to 20 geostationary satellites simultaneously.

We have also enhanced the capabilities of radio astronomy facilities in Australia and overseas, for example:

Super-fast chips boost telescope’s power

Recent changes to CSIRO’s Australia Telescope have made one of the world’s most advanced radio telescopes even more powerful.
CSIRO has boosted the power of its Australia Telescope through chips made of an advanced semiconductor material, indium phosphide.

Read more about Creating a wireless world.