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Software-Defined Antennas with Phase-Change Materials

Dr. Chisum
Dr. Chisum
Principal Investigator: 

Dr. Chisum, Department of Electrical Engineering

Project Summary: 

Reconfigurable antennas and distributed circuits have become extremely relevant for today's extremely wideband spectrum operations. Military applications require spectrum sensing from HF to 100's of GHz, and commercial industry is interested in leveraging software-defined radios covering the "DC" to 6 GHz band. In either case, recent advances in transistors can provide low-pass frequency response covering DC to 100's of GHz. However, at some point these electronics must interface with antennas whose dimensions are fundamentally tied to the frequency of operation, they are band-pass structures. For this reason, single antennas cannot provide wideband frequency coverage to match that of the electronics.

We have recently demonstrated 1D programmable transmission lines based upon metallic inclusions in a vanadium dioxide (VO2) film with low on-state loss and high off-state isolation. Such a material enables programmable antennas which are capable of matching the bandwidth of the electronics and can, therefore, offer revolutionary solutions to wireless sensing and communications. This project will extend the 1D proof-of-concept to a 2D programmable material for the purpose of antenna applications.

Student's Role:

The student will participate in electromagnetic simulations of 2D programmable VO2 films to help understand the performance and limitations of the material. They will develop electromagnetic models and circuit models for rapid design. They will assist graduate students on antenna design and finally on measurements of preliminary antenna designs.