STTR Phase I: Electronically Tunable RF Passives on Planar Multi-Layer Metamaterials

Period of Performance: 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

1026 Sean Circle, 6745 HOLLISTER AVENUE
Darien, IL 60561
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Illinois, Chicago
809 S Marshfield RM 608
Chicago, IL 60612
Institution POC


This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project investigates a new type of electronically tunable RF passives for reconfigurable multi-band and multi-function RF front end radio systems. The front-end passives including antennas, filters, baluns, and transmission line inductors and capacitors are printed on an engineered metalized material (meta-materials) made on common printed-circuit multiple metal-dielectric layer structures. By tuning the injected currents on meta-material, it could be possible to adjust material characteristics and as a result, the central frequency and operating band of a passive component. The design of such an electronically tunable system requires a rigorous electromagnetic analysis of passive components, meta-materials, and their interactions. The desired planar meta-materials are compact in size with the metal profile resonant frequencies close to the device frequencies. The entire tunable system design requires the modeling of electromagnetic coupling between components and meta-materials and involves a three-dimensional field analysis of the complete structure. Wireless communication technology and applications have seen tremendous growth in recent years. Present wireless technology is geared toward the consolidation of multiple networks into one communication system for global roaming. There is an ever increasing demand for broadband multimedia applications for personal communication systems (PCS) that are extremely compact in size with multiple functionalities. A compact and power efficient implementation of multi-standard and multi-functional system calls for a tunable or reconfigurable RF front-end that is completely integrated with the rest of the system on circuit boards. RF passives on the circuit board (outside the chips) remain the bottleneck for device miniaturization and reconfiguration.