Additively manufactured origami-inspired “4D” RF structures with on-demand continous-range tunability

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Nauroze, Syed Abdullah
Tentzeris, Emmanouil M.
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Traditional RF structures lack tunability in their electromagnetic (EM) response which is becoming ever so important especially with the exponential increase in number of components in the modern communication devices. Various tunability techniques available today become expensive and extremely complicated to realize as the overall size of the RF structure increases. Moreover, they are proving insufficient to meet the demands of next generation of outer-space, biomedical and terrestrial applications that require large systems to be stowed in small volumes and deployed on-demand at the destination. Therefore, some out-of-the-box solutions are required to address these unorthodox challenges. The work presented in this thesis introduces a paradigm shift in realization of wide-band, continuous range tunable RF structures using inkjet-printing technology and origami folding principles that can vary their EM behavior on-demand in response to their environment by simply changing their shape. A comprehensive description of various origami-inspired RF structures and an in-detail comparison between their kinematics and EM behavior with folding is also given. To the best of the author’s knowledge, it is the first reported work that establishes a direct relationship between their kinematics and EM behavior which lead to birth of a completely new class of tunable RF structures that can be programmed to realize desired frequency response at various folding configurations. Moreover, the thesis addresses some of the key challenges for implementation of origami-inspired RF structures including realization of truly flexible conductive traces, increasing tunability range, multi-layer configuration, structural stability and rigidity as well as actuation mechanism. These simple yet powerful structures can play a key role in revolutionizing the design of future RF structures that would give rise to a new-generation of terrestrial, outer-space, defense and biomedical applications.
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