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Article

The Use of 3D Printing Technology for Manufacturing Metal Antennas in the 5G/IoT Context

1
Instituto de Telecomunicações, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
2
Department of Electronics Telecommunications and Informatics, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ángela María Coves Soler
Sensors 2021, 21(10), 3321; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21103321
Received: 24 March 2021 / Revised: 6 May 2021 / Accepted: 7 May 2021 / Published: 11 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection RF and Microwave Communications)
With the rise of 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), and networks operating in the mmWave frequencies, a huge growth of connected sensors will be a reality, and high gain antennas will be desired to compensate for the propagation issues, and with low cost, characteristics inherent to metallic radiating structures. 3D printing technology is a possible solution in this way, as it can print an object with high precision at a reduced cost. This paper presents different methods to fabricate typical metal antennas using 3D printing technology. These techniques were applied as an example to pyramidal horn antennas designed for a central frequency of 28 GHz. Two techniques were used to metallize a structure that was printed with polylactic acid (PLA), one with copper tape and other with a conductive spray-paint. A third method consists of printing an antenna completely using a conductive filament. All prototypes combine good results with low production cost. The antenna printed with the conductive filament achieved a better gain than the other structures and showed a larger bandwidth. The analysis recognizes the vast potential of these 3D-printed structures for IoT applications, as an alternative to producing conventional commercial antennas. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D printing; metal antennas; horn antennas; IoT sensors; 5G 3D printing; metal antennas; horn antennas; IoT sensors; 5G
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MDPI and ACS Style

Helena, D.; Ramos, A.; Varum, T.; Matos, J.N. The Use of 3D Printing Technology for Manufacturing Metal Antennas in the 5G/IoT Context. Sensors 2021, 21, 3321. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21103321

AMA Style

Helena D, Ramos A, Varum T, Matos JN. The Use of 3D Printing Technology for Manufacturing Metal Antennas in the 5G/IoT Context. Sensors. 2021; 21(10):3321. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21103321

Chicago/Turabian Style

Helena, Diogo, Amélia Ramos, Tiago Varum, and João N. Matos. 2021. "The Use of 3D Printing Technology for Manufacturing Metal Antennas in the 5G/IoT Context" Sensors 21, no. 10: 3321. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21103321

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