Lockheed Martin has licensed technology developed in part by a University of Dayton team led by electrical and computer engineering professor Guru Subramanyam.
The technology — tunable varactors made of a thin, ceramic film — was originally developed to cut the number of filters used to sort frequencies in cell phones, TVs and satellite communication systems. Very low battery-powered voltage changes manipulate the electrical properties of the film to switch the frequencies that allow the use of different gadgets and improve signal reception.
"This technology attracted attention at the World's Best Technologies and TechConnect forums that focus on the world's most promising technologies and of cell phone makers Ericsson, Qualcomm and Nokia when we first developed it a decade ago," Subramanyam said.
Over time, the varactors have evolved to support rapid reconfiguration of radio frequency and microwave sensors conducting simultaneous operations.
Lockheed Martin plans to test whether the technology can work with sensors to eliminate interference from sources that would otherwise degrade the performance of the sensors. If the sensor demonstration proves successful, Lockheed Martin and the UD team could move to a second phase that includes mass production of the varactors.
UD works with the Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to make the devices and Indiana Microelectronics and 3D Glass Solutions on design and testing.