Enhanced Permeable Dipoles for Undersea Communication



Undersea communication relies on antennas that send and receive signals while submerged. These traditional antennas may experience a high loss in their near field due to the electrical currents they produce in the conductive, surrounding sea water.  Current loop magnetic dipoles are the most efficient class of these traditional antennas because the only currents they produce are eddy currents induced by the alternating magnetic near field. However these currents still produce loss and interfere with communication signals.

Current advancements strive to improve the efficiency of communication. Innovations in technology requires a higher range for the same output. Therefore, there is a need for alternative equipment that is capable of more effective communication while minimizing its power requirements.

Invention Description

Researchers at Arizona State University developed an enhanced magnetically permeable dipole antenna specifically for undersea and subsurface-to-atmosphere communication. This design replaces traditional current loop antennas with a permeable dipole antenna with a dielectric baffle or insulating layer. The baffle occupies a small volume yet blocks the onset of near field eddy current, greatly increasing the efficiency of the antenna.

With these modifications, the efficiency increases 10 times over the traditional design. This device can communicate from below sea-level to satellites at the ultra-high frequency range with an order of magnitude increase over the conventional antenna, making this innovation significant and practical in present day undersea communication.  Additionally, it operates independent of the sea state, leaving a minimal wake at the surface, and can be towed much faster than current buoyant cable alternatives.

Potential Applications

•       Undersea communication

•       Submarine-to-submerged equipment applications

•       Submarine-to-submarine communication

•       Subsurface to satellite communication in the UHF range

Benefits and Advantages

•       Innovative Design – This application of the permeable dielectric antenna reduces signal interference and requires less power for a heightened communication rate

•       High Efficiency – Changes to the antenna port makes this technology 10-times more efficient that conventional undersea antennas

•       Robust – Operational regardless of sea state

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