Flexible active antenna arrays

M. Gal-Katziri, A. Fikes, A. Hajimiri

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Complex and dynamic control of radiated fields are advantageous for flexible radio systems, which naturally move, roll, bend, twist, deform, and vibrate. Practical challenges hinder the proliferation of these antenna arrays. This work shows how using radio-frequency microchips reduces system component count, decreases mass to ~0.1 g cm−2, and increases functionality and mechanical flexibility. We develop a general platform for large scale flexible arrays and demonstrate two different 256-elements, 30 × 30 cm2flexible arrays. By varying supply distribution methods and radiators we show how performance can be optimized for maximum power delivery or physical flexibility. The demonstrated systems conform to curved surfaces with radii of curvatures as low as 23 cm and wirelessly deliver ~ 80 mW of DC power to a 6.7 cm × 11 cm-receiver over one meter away. This paves the way towards the integration of smart arrays in flexible wearables and deployable lightweight airborne systems.