As reported in New Scientist of 11th Dec 2010, the search for superfast wireless is being boosted by the creation of antennas that use plasma to focus beams of radio waves.
" Existing directional antennas that transmit high-frequency radio waves require expensive materials or precise manufacturing. But the new antenna, called Plasma Silicon Antenna, or PSIAN, relies on existing low cost manufacturing techniques developed for silicon chips. it has been developed by Plasma Antennas of Winchester, UK.
PSIAN consists of thousands of diodes on a silicon chip, When activated, each diode generates a cloud of electrons - the plasma- about 0.1 millimetres across. At a high enough electron density, each cloud reflects high-frequency radio waves like a mirror. By selectively activating diodes, the shape of the reflecting area can be changed to focus and steer a beam of radio waves.
This 'beam forming' capability makes the antennas crucial to ultrafast wireless applications, because they can focus a stream of radio waves that would quickly dissipate using normal antennas.
That makes them attractive for use in a new generation of ultrafast Wi-Fi, known as Wi-Gig. Existing Wi-Fi tops out at 54 megabits of date per second, whereas the Wi-Gig standard is expected to go up to between 1 and 7 gigabits per second - fast enough to download a HD television programme in seconds."