3D Antennas

Due to the requirements for smaller form factors and thinner profiles in today’s mobile devices, the ability to utilize every available space within the device has become increasingly important. As a result of this trend, Laird has been investing heavily in the design and manufacture of 3D antenna concepts. This area is expected to be driving the development over the coming years, and will become the leading technology by end of 2014 for mobile devices.

In the simplest form, yet made available through advances in manufacturing technologies, is the 3D flex concept. This concept takes the benefits of the flexfilm technology with extremely low project investments, rapid prototyping, and rapid design changes; and applies them all to a 3D surface radiator. It is only fair to say there are some limitations in the 3D capability of this concept, but for near 3D surfaces, this technology offers cost benefits that cannot be achieved by any other technology.

LDS antennas offer full 3D shaping for maximum design freedom. LDS antennas are manufactured in a three step process consisting of molding, laser structuring, and plating. The advantage of LDS is that the radiator can be placed on any shape that can be molded, with essentially no limitations on the radiator design. The pattern can be changed very quickly for rapid prototyping, but multiple variants can even be made in the same batch of manufacturing without requiring tooling changes. LDS antennas are normally nickel or gold plated for corrosion protection and can be followed by painting to achieve Class 2 / Class B visual appearance. Laird is also able to offer painted LDS antenna solutions where Class 1 / Class A visual appearance can be achieved.

In cases where extremely high volume 3D antenna solutions are required, Laird offers 2-Shot Molded Antennas (2SMA). This is where the antenna pattern is determined by a 2-shot molding solution in which the second shot is plated. Laird recommends using LDS for prototyping and builds, and then utilization of 2-shot molded antennas for mass production in order to maximize flexibility and performance of the final product.

In line with the growing trends for 3D antennas as well as the trend of increasing integration, Laird has combined the best aspects from our Mechanically Integrated Antennas, our LDS antennas, and our 2-Shot Molded Antennas, ernabling us to provide the LDS Hybrid. The LDS Hybrid is a patented concept-enabling full 3D antenna that incorporates the functionality in a mechanical structure, and all the benefits associated with it, while not sacrificing mechanical strength or design limitations.

Laird is continuously researching 3D antenna design and manufacturing technology in which to provide the optimal solutions for your application requirements.

Contact Laird today for your complete application solutions.

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