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E-Textile Conductors and Polymer Composites for Conformal Lightweight Antennas

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7 Author(s)
Bayram, Y. ; ElectroScience Lab., Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH, USA ; Yijun Zhou ; Bong Sup Shim ; Shimei Xu
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We present a conformal and lightweight antenna technology based on E-textile conductors and polymer-ceramic composites. Unique advantages of the proposed technology are its structural integrity, light weight and conformity to the platform. E-textile conductors are fabricated with single wall carbon nanotube (SWNT) and Ag coated textiles. They demonstrate good structural integrity with polymer composites due to their mechanical compatibility. Similarly, polymer composites demonstrate superior RF performance with permittivity ranging from 3 to 13. Fabrication process for E-textile conductors and integration process with polymer composites is described in detail. We also demonstrated merit of the proposed technology with a simple patch antenna whose radiation performance is measured when it was flat and conformed onto a cylindrical surface. We compared its performance with that of an ideal patch. Experiments suggested that the sample patch antenna based on the proposed technique achieved 6 dB gain, which is 2 dB below a patch which has the same dimensions and made of ideal lossless materials. When it is conformed onto a cylindrical surface, we achieved 2.5 dB less gain than that of antenna realized with a PEC surface. This clearly validates the merit of the proposed conformal antenna technique based on non-traditional materials.

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Antennas and Propagation, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:58 ,  Issue: 8 )