A spray-on antenna is a conductive material that can be dissolved in liquid and sprayed onto a surface to create a thin, lightweight and flexible antenna. Spray-on antennas are used to enable smaller IoT devices, wearables, and subtle communications devices.
Spray-on antennas created by researchers at Drexel University's College of Engineering are composed of a metallic compound call MXene. MXene is a water soluble compound made of titanium carbide that is very conductive. The malleable, fine and nearly imperceptible spray-on material achieves optimum performance near 8 micron thickness, but they can be made as thin as 10 nanometers. Successful applications have included water filtration, energy storage devices, structural reinforcement, cancer treatment, gas separation and chemical sensing.
Normally, conventional antennas require a special shape and nano materials such as carbon. Nanotube antennas have more of a challenge in being applied and maintaining a shape. Spray-on antennas like MXene are easily applied by dissolving the material in water and airbrushing it on a surface, such as glass, brick or even paper. The spray-on material is more resilient and also outperforms nanotechnology, which is popular but more difficult to produce