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Shape-Shifting Origami Could Help Antenna Systems Adapt On-the-Fly

  • Magazine Article
  • 19AERP09_05
Published September 01, 2019 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Conventional reconfigurable electrical and radio frequency (RF) structures commonly used in applications involving real-time reconfigurability in response to fast varying operational scenarios require specialized substrates or complex electrical circuits. Origami-based RF reconfigurable components and modules offer a solution with unique properties. First, they enable reconfigurability over continuous-state ranges (as opposed to discrete states). Second, they do not require specialized mechanical support for multilayer frequency-selective surface structures. Moreover, deployable origami-based RF structures can achieve large surface reconfigurability ratios from folded to unfolded states. Finally, these structures allow for independent control of multiple figures of merit: bandwidth, frequency of operation, and angle of incidence.

The tremendous increase in the number of components in typical electrical and communication modules requires low-cost, flexible, and multifunctional sensing, energy harvesting, and communication modules that can readily reconfigure, depending on changes in their environment. Current subtractive manufacturing-based reconfigurable systems offer limited flexibility (limited finite number of discrete reconfiguration states) and have high fabrication cost and time requirements.