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Reconfigurable Antennas and RF Components at Millimeter Wave

Reconfigurability is a vital feature of future agile millimeter wave systems for sensing, imaging, wireless, and satellite communications. Reconfigurable antennas are an integral part of such systems as they can control polarization, frequency, radiation pattern, or characteristic impedance.

High-Q Variable Capacitors

In our recent work we have developed novel low-loss (high Q) variable capacitors using paraffin phase change material (PCM). These capacitors are designed to operate at 80-120 GHz while exhibiting low losses compared to other technologies (MEMS switches, diodes, FETs). The variable capacitors can be integrated on various platforms such as antennas (see the next section).

3D schematic of reconfigurable low-loss transmission line3D schematic of reconfigurable low-loss transmission line

Capacitance, resistance and quality factor for different PCM variable capacitors.From right to left: Capacitance, resistance and quality factor for different PCM variable capacitors.

Novel Reconfigurable Antennas at 100 GHz

Current reconfigurable antennas suffer from large losses induced by tunable components. In our recent work we have addresses this shortcoming by integrating low-loss variable capacitors onto a slot antenna. Figure below (L) shows a continuously-reconfigurable slot antenna operating at 92-98 GHz. 

Top view of the reconfigurable slot antenna with phase change material capacitors (Left) and simulation results for reflection coefficient of antenna vs. frequency (Right).Top view of the reconfigurable slot antenna with phase change material capacitors (Left) and simulation results for reflection coefficient of antenna vs. frequency (Right)

© Prof. Nima Ghalichechian's Group

Related Paper: B. Ghassemiparvin and N. Ghalichechian, “Reconfigurable Millimeter-wave Antennas using Paraffin-Based MEMS Capacitors,” European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP), Davos, Switzerland, April 10-15, 20. (Download PDF)