Affordable 3D Printed Phased Arrays

Period of Performance: 08/04/2014 - 06/04/2015

$80K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Optomec Design Company
3911 Singer NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Georgia Tech Research Corp.
Office of Sponsored Programs
Atlanta, GA 30332
Institution POC

Abstract

A new generation of additive manufacturing (AM) techniques is expanding the possibilities of sensor and antenna design, with important implications for the performance and cost of finished devices. Optomec, Inc., with its proprietary Aerosol Jet technology, is a leader in the conformal printing of conductors and dielectrics on unusual geometries while the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has decades of experience in antenna system design for the DoD. Together, Optomec and GTRI propose an investigation into the application of AM in the conformal phased array design and fabrication process. We will characterize materials and processes compatible with phased array design, model the electromagnetic and thermal response of the overall system, and establish a manufacturing plan with a low final cost per element. As part of the Phase I option, we will utilize AM technologies to produce novel interconnects and packaging schemes. Advances in the 3D printing of RF antennas would immediately benefit existing commercial wireless applications and would revolutionize the way DoD phased array systems are conceived and fabricated.