Mobile communications masts against a dark sky

Glass Antennas for High-Frequency Applications

One of the most exciting areas of telecoms is 5G. This new generation of mobile communication requires a global network of high-frequency antennas made of highly efficient and specialized materials. These materials require specific physical properties to withstand the harshest environments, including space. 

The powerful high-frequency alternative

The world is increasingly run using high-frequency applications. Whether it’s high speed data transfer or a pan-global conference call, the demand for telecoms equipment operating at maximum efficiency with consistent performance rises every day. An emerging material for the communications equipment is specialty glass, which offers low dielectric loss, high temperature resistance, and a smooth surface for minimal scattering. In a rapidly developing industry, glass answers every challenge.

The ideal antenna material

Discover how specialty SCHOTT glass leads to low dielectric loss and improved communications performance.

The shape of things to come

For efficient wavelength detection, the latest high-frequency antennas are made using components with accurate and complex shapes. For many materials, this can present a problem, but glass has the ability to be precisely processed in a vast range of forms to suit highly specific shapes. Taken with its superior physical properties, this gives the material a huge advantage in the communications industry.

Four clear SCHOTT glass rods

Game-changing properties

SCHOTT has a portfolio of glasses that are suitable for high-frequency applications, with the ideal combination of properties for this demanding area. The high purity and homogeneity of glass results in a low dielectric loss, while the portfolio offers a range of dielectrical properties, with different glass types showing different values of dielectric constant. Low temperature coefficients together with exceptional heat resistance (0 - 950 Kelvin) also make them suitable for a range of environments – even space.

Unlike polymers, which have a high surface roughness, glass is supremely smooth with root mean square values (RMS) of 1 nm and below. This reduces scattering losses on the interface between the glass and the conducting metal. Laser-based structuring methods also allow the manufacturing of complicated structures, enabling glass to fulfill the increasingly complex needs of high-frequency equipment.

The best glass for the job

We compared the relative permittivity and dielectric loss factor of SCHOTT 8252 glass to DURAN® glass tubing and found the following results. While DURAN® glass tubing shows a lower dielectric constant, SCHOTT 8252 shows a lower dielectric loss. Therefore, which glass you use depends on the requirements of your application.

High Precision Dielectric Characterisation (ɛ, tan(δ)) at 1.1, 1.9, 5, 10 and 15 GHz Microwave Frequency

f0 [GHz] Relative permittivity
ɛ (±0.1)
Loss factor
tan(δ) (±0.0001)

DURAN® SCHOTT 8252 DURAN® SCHOTT 8252
 1.1  4.4  6.0  0.0042  0.0029
 1.9  4.5  6.1  0.0045  0.0033
 5  4.4  6.0  0.0054  0.0043
 10  4.4  6.1  0.0061  0.0051
 15  4.4  6.1  0.0068  0.0058


Testing method

  • Split Post Dielectric Resonator (SPDR) at 25° C

Wall thickness samples

  • 1.1 GHz, 1.9 GHz: ca. 1 mm
  • 5 GHz, 10 GHz, 15 GHz: ca. 0.5 mm

 

DURAN® is a registered trademark of DWK Life Sciences GmbH.

Browse the portfolio

by dielectric constant Ɛr and / or dielectric loss tan δ

Glass Tubing Explorer

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Dr. Andre Petershans
Dr. Andre Petershans

Senior Product Manager Technical Tubing