University of Wisconsin–Madison

Antenna Design

Microwave ablation antenna design determines how efficiently and in what geometric pattern energy is delivered. Unlike communications antennas in free space, microwave ablation devices operate in lossy, high-permittivity tissues. Designing such devices requires near-field theory and numerical techniques.

The triaxial antenna developed in our lab established much of the basic foundation for modern microwave ablation, proving that large ablations can come from small antennas. Integrated cooling with water or cryogenic gases has also allowed greater power delivery through very thin antennas.

Antenna With Ice Ball

More recent research has focused on creating spherical heating patterns with coaxial antennas as well as application-specific designs for small tumors, surgical applications, planar antennas and external heating.

Two antennas from the lab demonstrate different patterns of energy deposition and create ellipsoidal (left) or spherical (right) ablations.

Additional avenues of research include power modulation and multiple-antenna techniques.