Metamaterial-Based MEMS Compact Phase Shifters

Period of Performance: 04/16/2012 - 01/24/2013


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Memtronics Corp.
1301 N. Plano Road
Richardson, TX 75081
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Lehigh University
Whitaker Lab 5 East Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Institution POC


ABSTRACT: The main objective of this project is to design metamaterial-based MEM phase shifters, and to enable their application in phased-array radar and communications systems. A compact, low-loss, low-power-consumption, and non-dispersive Ka-band 4-bit phase shifter is chosen as the demonstration vehicle. To determine the feasibility of the overall project, the objective during Phase I will be to demonstrate a Ka-band 45° unit cell. The proposed design will be based on a proven Ku-band 45 degree unit, which closely integrates metamaterial with MEM switches to achieve unprecedented broadband performance. Additionally, the design will be based on MEM capacitive switches of proven reliability and reproducibility, making the technology transfer low risk but high payoff. The goal is to end up with the mask layout of the Ka-band 45° phase-shifter unit cell six months after Phase I starts. Then, if the Phase II proposal is selected, the unit cell and eventually a full four-bit phase shifter will be fabricated and tested during Phase II. The teaming of MEMtronics Corp., Lehigh Univ. and Innovative Micro Technology, Inc. ensures that the phase shifters developed under this project will be manufacturable and can be readily commercialized. BENEFIT: The development of ultra-low loss phase shifters based on this technology could significantly reduce the cost of phased array antenna systems. A significant reduction in cost will promote their proliferation for a variety of defense and communications applications.