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Recent developments in liquid crystalline polymer (LCP)-based processing technology have shown that highly-integrated, fully-packaged radio-frequency (RF) front-end modules with high-performance can be designed by using the system-on-package (SOP) approach. However, the direct integration of a large antenna element to a small module package still remains an issue. This paper presents a novel conformal antenna structure, which results in a compact integration of the antenna and the module package for 5 GHz WLAN/WiMAX applications. The extension of 5 GHz single-band operation to 2.4/5 GHz dual-band operation is also discussed in this paper. The antenna is an inverse L-shaped monopole printed on a 25-mum-thick flexible LCP layer, which protrudes from a rigid multilayer organic substrate. The shielding effects of a grounded metal case, which can house the associated module circuitry, are also considered during the design process. The metal case serves as a vertical ground plane for the antenna in addition to protecting the module circuitry from the near-fields of the antenna. The flexible LCP substrate can be bent and folded over the module case, resulting in a compact design and the tight integration of the antenna with the front-end module. The details of the design and the fabrication of the proposed structure as well as the simulation and the measurement data are presented in this paper.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2009