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Plasma Antenna Basics | Plasma Antenna Working, advantages

This page covers Plasma Antenna basics. It compares Plasma Antenna vs traditional antenna and mentions difference between Plasma Antenna and traditional antenna w.r.t. working operation, construction and advantages.

About Plasma:
The plasma is fourth state of matter. It is most common form of matter which is found about 99% of the visible universe. Plasmas carry electric currents and generate magnetic fields. The cold plasma is used for antenna applications. Plasma consists of collection of free moving electrons and ions (i.e. atoms which have lost electrons).

About Plasma Antenna:
• An RF Antenna which uses plasma element instead of metal conductor is known as Plasma Antenna.
• The plasma antenna uses ionized gas enclosed in tube enclosure as conducting element.
• When the gas is electrically charged or ionized to plasma state, it becomes conductive. This allows RF signals to be transmitted or received.
• Ionized gas is very efficient conducting element with many benefits.

Traditional Antenna vs Plasma Antenna | Difference between Traditional Antenna and Plasma Antenna

Plasma Antenna

There are different methods to design a plasma antenna. One such design is depicted in the figure-1. This antenna acts as a receiver for FM radio operating in the 88 to 108 MHz band. It consists of standard U-shaped lamp and ballast. The variable voltage transformer is used to control plasma current and density. Small box size capacitive coupler is used surrounding the lamp. Capacitive coupler is connected with FM receiver using coaxial cable as shown.

The plasma which is inside the fluorescent lamp functions as antenna similar to the same size wire. The metal sleeve surrounding the lamp tube provides RF coupling for FM signal from plasma column to coaxial cable to reach FM receiver box. When AC power is switched ON, lamp will be turned ON and FM radio can be listened when it is tuned. When AC power is switched OFF, antenna gets de-activated and hence FM station can not be heard.

Following table differentiate plasma antenna with traditional antenna made using metals.


Specifications Traditional Antenna Plasma Antenna
Construction Metal Plasma
Power Lower Higher
Efficiency Low High
Weight Higher Lower
Size Large Small
Ringing Effect Yes No
Transmission/Reception Uses RF sinusoidal signals Uses short pulse during the time of transmission/reception
Noise Higher Lower, plasma antenna has low collision rates among its charge carriers.

Advantages of Plasma Antenna | Benefits of Plasma Antenna

Following points summarize benefits/advantages of Plasma Antenna.
• Increased power can be obtained in plasma antenna.
• It provides enhanced bandwidth.
• It delivers higher efficiency.
• It produces less noise.
• It is smaller in size.
• It is lower in weight.

Antenna related links

Antenna Tutorial   Antenna Gain vs Effective Area   Types of antenna   TV Antenna   TV Antenna Booster   Satellite Dish Antenna   Mobile Antenna   Antenna Installation   Antenna Suppliers  

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