Toppan, a global leader in communication, security, packaging, décor materials, and electronics solutions, has developed a multiband wave absorber for millimeter band frequencies.
Toppan’s new absorber employs a metasurface1 structure for a lightweight, thin, and flexible sheet. It facilitates multiple simultaneous connections to 5G mobile communication systems at high speed and with low latency by selectively absorbing radio waves in the millimeter band between 28 and 300 gigahertz (GHz), reducing interference and signal leakage from wireless devices.
High-frequency waves used in 5G communication include the 28 GHz band, also knowns as the millimeter band, and the 39 GHz band. Large volumes of data can be transmitted at high speed, driving expansion of high-definition video streaming and other digital services. The millimeter band, however, is susceptible to interference, leakage, and loss of signal, causing delays in transmission. Existing absorber solutions include magnetic materials or layering of multiple materials, but their appearance often fails to blend well with interiors, and thickness and weight are also obstacles to use indoors.
“We have leveraged our wave absorber design, high-definition etching, and converting technologies to address the challenges faced by conventional solutions,” said Yasutaka Kikuchi, head of R&D at Toppan of Toppan’s Technical Research Institute. “We are driving development and testing of materials and spatial designs for enhanced communication environments because absorbers like this will facilitate stable high-speed data transmission not just for 5G, but also for anticipated 6G mobile systems.”
The pattern on the metasurface of the absorber enables control of the specific frequencies and bandwidths targeted for absorption at wavelengths between 1 and 10 millimeters. This means multiple bands can be absorbed by a single sheet. Further miniaturization will make application to terahertz waves possible, helping to ensure ultra-high-speed, ultra-low-latency communication for 6G systems in the future. The absorber reduces latency and supports faster communication speeds because more than 90% of reflected waves are absorbed at wavelengths of 1 to 10 millimeters in the 30 to 300 GHz frequency range.
Toppan envisages multiple potential applications because the absorber sheet is thin, flexible, and roughly 96% lighter than existing products. Surface treatment is also possible, meaning a range of attractive designs, such as wood-grain or marble finishes, can be applied for use on walls or ceilings inside buildings such as offices or factories.