High Performance, Tunable Electrically Small Antennas through Mechanically Guided 3D Assembly

Fei Liu, Ying Chen, Honglie Song, Fan Zhang, Zhichao Fan, Yuan Liu, Xue Feng, John A. Rogers, Yonggang Huang, Yihui Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


To address demands for increased data transmission rates, electrically small antennas (ESAs) that simultaneously offer large frequency bandwidths and small physical sizes are of growing interest. 3D layouts are particularly important in this context and among various 3D ESAs, systems that adopt hemispherical shapes are very promising, because they can occupy the entire Chu-sphere and offer outstanding electrical performance. Researchers have developed a few different approaches to fabricate high-quality hemispherical ESAs, but most have static layouts and fixed operating frequencies. Here, a mechanically guided 3D assembly approach is introduced for the design and fabrication of deformable hemispherical ESAs that can offer tunable, dynamic properties to adapt to changes in environmental conditions. The strategy exploits controlled compressive buckling of strategically patterned 2D precursor structures, as a low-cost and high-yield scheme that can exploit conventional, planar processing technologies and commercially available platforms. Combined numerical simulations and experimental measurements show outstanding performance characteristics in terms of the quality factor and radiation efficiency. Application of external tensile strains to elastomeric substrates for these systems allows them to be reshaped and reversibly tuned through a wide range of center frequencies. Mechanical testing under different loading conditions demonstrates the ability of these ESAs to accommodate large deformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1804055
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2019


  • 3D assembly
  • buckling
  • electrically small antennas
  • quality factor
  • tunability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Biotechnology
  • General Materials Science
  • Biomaterials


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