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Sensors 2014, 14(1), 834-847; doi:10.3390/s140100834

An Ionic-Polymer-Metallic Composite Actuator for Reconfigurable Antennas in Mobile Devices

Received: 29 September 2013 / Revised: 16 December 2013 / Accepted: 25 December 2013 / Published: 6 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling, Testing and Reliability Issues in MEMS Engineering 2013)
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In this paper, a new application of an electro-active-polymer for a radio frequency (RF) switch is presented. We used an ionic polymer metallic composite (IPMC) switch to change the operating frequency of an inverted-F antenna. This switch is light in weight, small in volume, and low in cost. In addition, the IPMC is suitable for mobile devices because of its driving voltage of 3 volts and thickness of 200 μm. The IPMC acts as a normally-on switch to control the operating frequency of a reconfigurable antenna in mobile phones. We experimentally demonstrated by network analysis that the IPMC switch could shift its operating frequency from 1.1 to 2.1 GHz, with return losses of than −10 dB at both frequencies. To minimize electrolysis and maximize the operation time in air, propylene carbonate electrolyte with lithium perchlorate (LiClO4) was applied inside the IPMC. The results showed that when the IPMC was actuated over three months at 3.5 V, the tip displacement fell by less than 10%. Therefore, an IPMC actuator is a promising choice for application to a reconfigurable antenna.
Keywords: reconfigurable antenna; RF switch; electro-active polymer actuator reconfigurable antenna; RF switch; electro-active polymer actuator
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Lin, Y.-C.; Yu, C.-Y.; Li, C.-M.; Liu, C.-H.; Chen, J.-P.; Chu, T.-H.; Su, G.-D.J. An Ionic-Polymer-Metallic Composite Actuator for Reconfigurable Antennas in Mobile Devices. Sensors 2014, 14, 834-847.

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