Development of microwave/millimeter-wave antennas and passive components on multilayer liquid crystal polymer (LCP) technology

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Bairavasubramanian, Ramanan
Papapolymerou, John
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The investigation of liquid crystal polymer (LCP) technology to function as a low-cost next-generation organic platform for designs up to millimeter-wave frequencies has been performed. Prior to this research, the electrical performance of LCP had been characterized only with the implementation of standard transmission lines and resonators. In this research, a wide variety of passive functions have been developed on LCP technology and characterized for the first time. Specifically, we present the development of patch antenna arrays for remote sensing applications, the performance of compact low-pass and band-pass filters up to millimeter-wave frequencies, and the integration of passive elements for X-band and V-band transceiver systems. First, dual-frequency/dual-polarization antenna arrays have been developed on multilayer LCP technology and have been integrated with micro-electro-mechanical-system (MEMS) switches to achieve real-time polarization reconfigurability. These arrays are conformal, efficient and have all the features desirable for applications that require space deployment. Second, a wide variety of filters with different physical and functional characteristics have been implemented on both single and multilayer LCP technology. These filters can be classified based on the filter type (low-pass/band-pass), the resonators used (single-mode/dual-mode), the response characteristics (symmetric/asymmetric), and the structure of the filter (modular/non-modular). Last, examples of integrated modules for use in transceiver systems are presented. This part of the research involves the development of duplexers, radiating elements, as well as their integration. The duplexers themselves are realized by integrating a set of band-pass filters and matching networks. The characterization of the individual components, and of the integrated system are included. This research has resulted in a thorough understanding of LCP's electrical performance and its multilayer lamination capabilities pertaining to its functioning as a material platform for integrated microwave systems. Novel passive prototypes that can take advantage of such multilayer capabilities have been developed.
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