As part of its work for the Advanced Materials for Ubiquitous Leading-edge Electromagnetic Technologies (AMULET) research project, Vector Fields, a part of Cobham plc, has released practical design tools to help RF designers exploit the properties of metamaterials. Metamaterials can provide a means to enhance the performance and size of wireless components — for example, by making antennas multi-functional, and reducing the size and cost of front-end filtering.
Therefore, AMULET is researching artificial materials and their application in the design and manufacture of next generation broadband, multifunctional, adaptive and conformal antennas for aerospace systems. It is a three-year £3.4 M collaborative R&D project that has received a £1.9 M investment from the UK's Technology Strategy Board. Led by Cobham’s ERA Technology, the other consortium partners are the National Physical Laboratory, Queen Mary University of London and Vector Fields. Vector Fields' role in AMULET is to provide antenna developers with enhanced design tools to simulate metamaterial structures. The first phase of this support is currently being released to the market in the new version of the high-frequency electromagnetic design tool, Concerto. One of the key problems addressed by this software is efficient and fast simulation, which is handled by exploiting the periodic nature of passive metamaterial structures to minimize the computations required. The AMULET project will also be exploring the use of active metamaterials, and Vector Fields intends to add modeling support for these in future developments.