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A Self-Adapting Flexible (SELFLEX) Antenna Array for Changing Conformal Surface Applications

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8 Author(s)
Braaten, B.D. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., North Dakota State Univ., Fargo, ND, USA ; Roy, S. ; Nariyal, S. ; Al Aziz, M.
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A phased-array test platform for studying the self-adapting capabilities of conformal antennas is developed and presented. Specifically, a four-port 2.45-GHz receiver with voltage controlled phase shifters and attenuators is designed along with four individual printed microstrip patch antennas attached to a conformal surface. Each antenna is connected to the corresponding receiver port with a flexible SMA cable. It is shown that with appropriate phase compensation, the distorted radiation pattern of the array can be recovered as the surface of the conformal array changes shape. This pattern recovery information is then used to develop a new self-adapting flexible 1 × 4 microstrip antenna array with an embedded flexible sensor system. In particular, a flexible resistive sensor is used to measure the deformation of the substrate of a conformal antenna array, while a sensor circuit is used to measure the changing resistance. The circuit then uses this information to control the individual voltage of the phase shifters of each radiating element in the array. It is shown that with appropriate phase compensation, the radiation properties of the array can be autonomously recovered as the surface of the flexible array changes shape during normal operation. Throughout this work, measurements are shown to agree with analytical solutions and simulations.

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Antennas and Propagation, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:61 ,  Issue: 2 )