The low propagation loss of electromagnetic radiation below 1 MHz offers significant opportunities for low power, long range communication systems to meet growing demand for Internet of Things applications. However, the fundamental reduction in efficiency as antenna size decreases below a wavelength (30 m at 1 MHz) has made portable communication systems in the very low frequency (VLF: 3–30 kHz) and low frequency (30–300 kHz) ranges impractical for decades. A paradigm shift to piezoelectric antennas utilizing strain-driven currents at resonant wavelengths up to five orders of magnitude smaller than electrical antennas offers the promise for orders of magnitude efficiency improvement over the electrical state-of-the-art. This work demonstrates a lead zirconate titanate transmitter > 6000 times more efficient than a comparably sized electrical antenna and capable of bit rates up to 60 bit/s. Detailed analysis of design parameters offers a roadmap for significant future improvement in both radiation efficiency and data rate.
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