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A fully integrated solution providing scan-beam capability with a single antenna is presented in this paper for the first time. The proposed system includes a reconfigurable rectangular spiral antenna with a set of micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) switches, which are monolithically integrated and packaged onto the same substrate. The system is based on a single-arm rectangular spiral antenna, capable of changing its radiation pattern using radio frequency-MEMS (RF-MEMS) switches. The rectangular spiral and RF-MEMS switches are monolithically integrated on a conventional microwave substrate printed circuit board (εr=3.27 and tanδ=0.004) and quartz substrate (εr=3.78 and tanδ=0.0002). The spiral is made out of multiple lines, which are interconnected by RF-MEMS switches strategically located along the spiral. On activating these switches, the spiral overall arm length is changed and consequently its radiation beam direction is changed. The two proposed antennas radiate right hand circular polarization (RHCP) and left hand circular polarization (LHCP) for printed circuit board and quartz substrate respectively. The gain of the two antennas varies between 3∼6 dBi. They both satisfy the 3-dB axial ratio criterion at their operating frequency band, i.e., at 10 GHz and 6 GHz for the printed circuit board and the quartz substrate respectively. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first truly reconfigurable printed antenna design using MEMS devices as active elements integrated in the same low loss substrate. The excellent performance of the proposed system emphasizes the importance of being able to integrate MEMS switches into the same low loss substrate for antenna applications. This technology pioneers the design of arbitrarily shaped reconfigurable antennas including the design of reconfigurable antenna arrays.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2006