Rayspan raises $6 million for revolutionary metamaterials

rayspan logoRayspan Corporation, a San Diego based company which has invented innovative metamaterials for high performance wireless networks, has raised $6 million in funding from Sequoia Capital. The deal was lead by Mark Stevens , who focuses on semiconductor, systems and software investments at Sequoia.

metamaterialsMetamaterials are composite materials that are manufactured to have specific electromagnetic behavior characteristics, above and beyond what can be achieved with naturally occurring materials.

According to Rayspan:

Metamaterials technology brings three powerful enabling capabilities
(1) the ability to strongly manipulate the propagation of electromagnetic waves in the confines of small structures
(2) simultaneous support of multiple RF functions, and
(3) the freedom to precisely determine a broad set of parameters which include operating frequency and bandwidth; positive, negative and zero phase offsets; constant phase propagation; and matching conditions and number and positioning of ports.

ImageThe significant result is that electrical components that have a sizable physical footprint, such as an antenna, can now be squeezed into shorter lengths using metamaterials . A standard antenna, whose length is half the wavelength of the signal, can be shortened by a factor of five, using these new materials. This can have a great impact on gadgets where size is an issue, such as mobile devices.

Rayspan has a couple of product lines centering upon MIMO antennas and antenna arrays. MIMO (Multiple input multiple-output) uses antennas both at the transmitter and receiver, and is begining to be used in wireless communication. It offers increase in data throughput and link range without using extra bandwidth or power.These “smart” antennas can see much higher throughput than those of conventional antennas (by a factor of 3 or more).

The technology was developed in association with the University of California, and was presented at the UCLA Faculty Mixer on July 25th.

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