Flexible and Stretchable Microwave Devices: Design, Fabrication and Applications

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "D:Materials and Processing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 November 2020) | Viewed by 3225

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Interests: antennas; applied electromagnetics; microwave systems; 3D printing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The growing interest in wearable wireless electronics and other unconventional wireless applications has created new opportunities for microwave devices that can withstand shape deformations and mechanical strain without impacting performance. A number of challenges remain in realizing these systems. To meet both the electrical and mechanical requirements of these applications, low-loss dielectrics, including textiles and elastomers, are combined with a variety of flexible conductors, including liquid metals; conductive composites; and thin, metallic ribbons. Devices must incorporate anticipated shape deformation into their design in order to maintain their properties during operation. In addition, high-frequency interconnects between conventional rigid electronics and soft electronics remain challenging. At the same time, shape deformation can also enable new functionality. For example, antennas can reconfigure their properties by altering their dimensions and shape. Other microwave devices such as frequency-selective surfaces can deliver new capability via intentional shape deformation, e.g., folding and stretching structures using origami principles or other means.  In light of these recent developments and the remaining challenges, this Special Issue seeks research papers, communications, and review articles that describe advances in flexible and stretchable microwave materials and devices as well as applications of these technologies.

Prof. Jacob J. Adams
Prof. Huanyu (Larry) Cheng
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Flexible electronics
  • Microwave
  • RF
  • Antenna
  • Reconfigurable
  • Stretchable
  • Liquid metal
  • Wearable electronics

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

15 pages, 3385 KiB  
Article
Direct-Write Spray Coating of a Full-Duplex Antenna for E-Textile Applications
by Ying Zhou, Saber Soltani, Braden M. Li, Yuhao Wu, Inhwan Kim, Henry Soewardiman, Douglas H. Werner and Jesse S. Jur
Micromachines 2020, 11(12), 1056; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11121056 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2740
Abstract
Recent advancements in printing technologies have greatly improved the fabrication efficiency of flexible and wearable electronics. Electronic textiles (E-textiles) garner particular interest because of their innate and desirable properties (i.e., conformability, breathability, fabric hand), which make them the ideal platform for creating wireless [...] Read more.
Recent advancements in printing technologies have greatly improved the fabrication efficiency of flexible and wearable electronics. Electronic textiles (E-textiles) garner particular interest because of their innate and desirable properties (i.e., conformability, breathability, fabric hand), which make them the ideal platform for creating wireless body area networks (WBANs) for wearable healthcare applications. However, current WBANs are limited in use due to a lack of flexible antennas that can provide effective wireless communication and data transfer. In this work, we detail a novel fabrication process for flexible textile-based multifunctional antennas with enhanced dielectric properties. Our fabrication process relies on direct-write printing of a dielectric ink consisting of ultraviolet (UV)-curable acrylates and urethane as well as 4 wt.% 200 nm barium titanate (BT) nanoparticles to enhance the dielectric properties of the naturally porous textile architecture. By controlling the spray-coating process parameters of BT dielectric ink on knit fabrics, the dielectric constant is enhanced from 1.43 to 1.61, while preserving the flexibility and air permeability of the fabric. The novel combination textile substrate shows great flexibility, as only 2 N is required for a 30 mm deformation. The final textile antenna is multifunctional in the sense that it is capable of operating in a full-duplex mode while presenting a relatively high gain of 9.12 dB at 2.3 GHz and a bandwidth of 79 MHz (2.260–2.339 GHz) for each port. Our proposed manufacturing process shows the potential to simplify the assembly of traditionally complex E-textile systems. Full article
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