Reconfigurable pixel antennas for communications
ColaboratorJofre Roca, Lluís; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament de Teoria del Senyal i Comunicacions
Document typeDoctoral thesis
PublisherUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
The explosive growth of wireless communications has brought new requirements in terms of compactness, mobility and multi-functionality that pushes antenna research. In this context, recon gurable antennas have gained a lot of attention due to their ability to adjust dynamically their frequency and radiation properties, providing multiple functionalities and being able to adapt themselves to a changing environment. A pixel antenna is a particular type of recon gurable antenna composed of a grid of metallic patches interconnected by RF-switches which can dynamically reshape its active surface. This capability provides pixel antennas with a recon guration level much higher than in other recon gurable architectures. Despite the outstanding recon guration capabilities of pixel antennas, there are important practical issues related to the performance-complexity balance that must be addressed before they can be implemented in commercial systems. This doctoral work focuses on the minimization of the pixel antenna complexity while maximizing its recon guration capabilities, contributing to the development of pixel antennas from a conceptual structure towards a practical recon gurable antenna architecture. First, the conceptualization of novel pixel geometries is addressed. It is shown that antenna complexity can be signi cantly reduced by using multiple-sized pixels. This multi-size technique allows to design pixel antennas with a number of switches one order of magnitude lower than in common pixel structures, while preserving high multiparameter recon gurability. A new conceptual architecture where the pixel surface acts as a parasitic layer is also proposed. The parasitic nature of the pixel layer leads to important advantages regarding the switch biasing and integration possibilities. Secondly, new pixel recon guration technologies are explored. After investigating the capabilities of semiconductors and RF-MEMS switches, micro uidic technology is proposed as a new technology to create and remove liquid metal pixels rather than interconnecting them. Thirdly, the full multi-parameter recon guration capabilities of pixel antennas is explored, which contrasts with the partial explorations available in the literature. The maximum achievable recon guration ranges (frequency range, beam-steering angular range and polarization modes) as well as the linkage between the di erent parameter under recon guration are studied. Finally, the performance of recon gurable antennas in beam-steering applications is analyzed. Figures-of-merit are derived to quantify radiation pattern recon gurability, enabling the evaluation of the performance of recon gurable antennas, pixel antennas and recon guration algorithms.
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