A flexible phased array system with low areal mass density

M.R. Hashemi, A. Fikes, M. Gal-Katziri, B. Abiri, F. Bohn, A. Safaripour, M. Kelzenberg, E. Warmann, P. Espinet, N. Vaidya, E. Gdoutos, C. Leclerc, F. Royer, S. Pellegrino, H. Atwater, and A. Hajimiri

Phased arrays are multiple antenna systems capable of forming and steering beams electronically using constructive and destructive interference between sources. They are employed extensively in radar and communication systems but are typically rigid, bulky and heavy, which limits their use in compact or portable devices and systems. Here, we report a scalable phased array system that is both lightweight and flexible. The array architecture consists of a self-monitoring CMOS-based integrated circuit, which is responsible for generating multiple independent phase- and amplitude-controlled signal channels, combined with flexible and collapsible radiating structures. The modular platform, which can be collapsed, rolled and folded, is capable of operating standalone or as a subarray in a larger-scale flexible phased array system. To illustrate the capabilities of the approach, we created a 4 ×4 flexible phased array tile operating at 9.4–10.4 GHz, with a low areal mass density of 0.1 g/cm^2. We also created a flexible phased array prototype that is powered by photovoltaic cells and intended for use in a wireless space-based solar power transfer array.