Emerging Materials for Physically Reconfigurable Antenna Technologies
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The goal of this work is to demonstrate the fabrication and operation of reconfigurable microwave devices that incorporate emerging materials such as liquid metals and dielectric fluids, in order to foster a more effective collaboration between the material science and microwave engineering communities. This goal is accomplished by outlining the design, fabrication, and measurement processes of a few prototype devices. The first device is a series stub-based microwave band-stop filter that uses dielectric fluids in a 3D-printed channel to change the effective length of the filter stubs to enable frequency reconfigurability. A method for using the reconfigurable properties of the filter to determine the dielectric constant of the fluid is also developed and evaluated. The same band-stop filter design is modified by replacing the fixed copper stubs with an acrylic channel filled with eutectic gallium indium (EGaIn) to allow the physical length of the stubs to change dynamically as a mechanism for frequency reconfigurability. Another device presented in this work is a stretchable microstrip patch antenna made from silver thermoplastic polyurethane (AgTPU) printed on spandex. Stretching the spandex material changes the physical length of the patch to reconfigure the operating frequency. A simulation of the antenna shows that stretching only the half of the antenna with the feedline results in a better impedance match compared to when stretching the whole antenna. The last device presented is a patch antenna with a flexible, integrated pumping mechanism that can be used to drive fluid networks that enable frequency reconfigurability.
Grayson, David Thomas (2017). Emerging Materials for Physically Reconfigurable Antenna Technologies. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from