PHASED ARRAY ANTENNAS BASED ON FLEXIBLE ULTRA-LIGHT MATERIALS AND PRINTED RF COMPONENTS (ARTES AT 7C.074)

Description

The objective of this activity is to design, manufacture and test a phased array antenna, in Ku- or Ka-band, based on ultra-lightweight, flexible and conformable dielectric substrate materials and printed passive and active RF components. Targeted Improvements:The phased array antenna is expected to be 5-10 times lighter, could be installed on curved surfaces, and guarantee an extended fieldof view. Description:Traditional arrays are rigid, bulky, heavy, and expensive. These characteristics preclude their use in compact and portable systems. Two emerging technologies could enable several new possible applications for phased array antennas. The first one is ultra-lightweight rollable, foldable, and conformable dielectric materials that can be used as substrates in phased arrays and the second one is 3D printing of RF components including phase shifters and amplifiers. Combining the new dielectric materials with light and printable RF components could enable the breakthrough to achieve conformal phased array antennas satellite antenna formobile platforms such as cars and could also be extended to deployable textile antennas for emergency applications to overcome limitations in terms of weight, flexibility, shaping and re-shaping capabilities of the existing flexible metallic textile antennas. This activity aims at developing ultra-light, flexible phased array technology for these two main applications:- conformal phased arrays to be installed on mobile platforms like cars to guarantee an extended field of view,- textile antennas based on conformable ultra-light dielectric substrates instead of metallic ones.This activity will use innovative dielectric materials as substrates and the use of conformal antennas to offer satellite connectivity. The antenna will be able to adapt to the car profile (for example) not possible today and to naturally extend the angular field of view. The frequency band will be traded-off considering Ku- and Ka-band.This activity will carry out a detailed RF, thermal and mechanical design of two antennas for the two applications. Two breadboardsare anticipated to de-risk the new technology. The breadboards will include dielectric ultra-light materials, printed RF passive and active components. Experimental tests will be carried out including an assessment of the scanning capabilities of the two antennas. Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs). For additional information please go to: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Business_with_ESA/Small_and_Medium_Sized_En…

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