Self-Structuring Antennas

The Self-Structuring Antenna (SSA) was developed and patented (US 6175723) by Dr. Edward J. Rothwell, a Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Michigan State University (MSU). For those of you who don't know, John Ross was Professor Rothwell's first Ph.D. student. He has worked closely with him on a variety of topics (especially the SSA) since the late 1980's.

In the early days of SSA research, Dr. Ross used his (then) new GA-NEC program to perform the first computer simulations of the SSA. At the time, GA-NEC was the only software tool available that could simulate the self-adaptive nature of the SSA. The results of these simulations helped substantiate some of the interesting and non-intuitive laboratory observations of SSA behavior and were presented in an IEEE APS/URSI conference in Salt Lake City in June of 2000.

Several years prior to the Salt Lake meeting, Dr. Ross, teamed with MSU on the submission of a number of SSA related research proposals to government agencies. The idea must have been ahead of its time since none of those early proposals were funded! Eventually however, Dr. Ross used his connections to build a relationship between Michigan State University and Delphi. That relationship provided needed funding for graduate students at the MSU EM Lab.

Photo of early SSA prototype

Beginning in 2002, Dr. Ross teamed with Prescuhtti & Associates, a small design house in State College, PA, and MSU to seek government funding. The team won a Phase 1 SBIR from the US Navy in 2003. Unfortunately, Phase 2 was not awarded as a result of the Iraq war. The team won a second Phase 1 STTR grant from the US Navy in 2004 but financial problems at Preschutti & Associates again precluded Phase 2 funding.

By November 2004, Dr. Ross had grown frustrated with the level of funding from Delphi and the pace and nature of government funding sources so he and Stan Preschutti founded Viamorph, Inc. Their goal was to secure venture funding to develop and commercialize the SSA on a large scale. Unfortunately, politics and IP issues between MSU and Delphi meant that things were not as straightforward as they should have been. Unable to raise the needed capital, Viamorph gave up on its goal of commercializing the SSA in the fall of 2005 and moved on to pursue other opportunities.

Several years later, MSU and Delphi decided to launch their own spin-out known as Monarch Antenna. Dr. Ross has no affiliation or relationship with Monarch Antenna or Delphi at this time. While Dr. Ross continues to provide guidance to student oriented SSA projects at MSU he is no longer actively involved in SSA research and development.

For an overview of the concepts behind the SSA please see:

Below are lists of SSA related conference presentations, journal articles and patent applications that include contributions from Dr. Ross.



Patent Applications

MSU student publications:


Last updated March 10, 2020.