Electronically reconfigurable and mechanically conformal apertures using low-voltage MEMS and flexible membranes for space-based radar applications

J. T. Bernhard, N. Chen, R. Clark, M. Feng, C. Liu, P. Mayes, E. Michielssen, R. Wang, L. G. Chorosinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The University of Illinois and Northrop Grumman Corporation have teamed to integrate a wide band reconfigurable aperture array with associated wide band T/R functions on a flexible and foldable/rollable substrate for space based radar applications. Advanced MEMS and packaging techniques are used to make the antenna array lightweight, reliable, and reproducible. Soft flexible substrates make the antenna foldable/rollable with the associated electronics below the ground plane of the antenna elements. The individually reconfigurable antenna element uses MEMS switches to select between two broad frequency bands of operation. These MEMS switches have low actuation voltages and stress-free operation, improving the array's reliability. The reconfigurable antenna element is based on a low-profile radiator that provides greatly increased instantaneous bandwidth over microstrip patch antennas currently in place for phased array applications. Voltage-controlled MEMS switches are utilized to switch between stacked layers of elements that operate in the S- and X-bands. In each band, the antenna elements provide at least 25% instantaneous bandwidth. The challenges presented by the flexible substrate and the array design as well as experimental and simulated results for the antenna elements and switches are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume4334
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 16 2001

Keywords

  • Broadband
  • RF MEMS
  • Reconfigurable antenna

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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