Printable Silicon Nanomembranes for Solar-Powered, Bi-directional Phased-Array Antenna Communication System on Flexible Substrates
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
ABSTRACT: Realizing the tremendous demand and commercialization potential of silicon nanomembrane (SiNM) based flexible electronic and photonic components for modern systems, Omega Optics, Inc., together with The Nanophotonics Group at the University of Texas at Austin, propose Printable Silicon Nanomembranes for Solar-Powered, Bi-directional Phased-Array Antenna (PAA) Communication System on Flexible Substrates. During the Phase I program, we developed single and multilayer SiNM transfer processes on Kapton substrate with<1m alignment capability and demonstrated stacking of photonic crystal waveguides (PCWs) and multimode interference (MMI) couplers on different layers. A light coupling scheme into flexible planar waveguides was also demonstrated. In addition, we developed an ink-jet printed Si-nanoparticle nanofilm switch based 1x4 phased-array antenna system and demonstrated steering of a 5GHz beam from 0 to -27 degrees. These achievements are targeted at the unique conformal system architecture that can only be achieved using SiNM. In Phase II, we propose to further investigate the engineering design, manufacturing viability, and application potential of SiNM based PCW modulators, PCW delay lines, RF amplifiers, ink-jet printed switches and antenna elements targeted at developing a multilayer bi-directional 4-bit 4x4 phased array antenna system on flexible substrate. Key manufacturing related issues such as device packaging, fabrication yield, and integration will be addressed. These objectives shall lay a solid foundation for the system demonstration and commercialization using the proposed SiNM based devices and, potentially, the widespread presence of such NM-based devices in commercial and military applications. BENEFIT: The proposed silicon nanomembrane based communication system development will lead to a significant acceleration of light weight, conformal, high performance SiNM based photonic and electronic devices, which is an attractive alternative to conventional CMOS and printed electronic/photonic technology for air-borne application. The proposed technology explores the full advantages of Si CMOS and printed circuits on flexible substrates. The immediately accessible markets for SiNM based photonic and electronic devices on flexible substrates include conformal communications networks, active phased array antennas, back plane drivers for displays, active RFIDs, Smart skins, actuators, batteries, solar cells, signage and sensors. Due to the low weight, conformal nature and stackability, the SiNM-based components will lead to a large market in both military and commercial applications, which is projected to exceed 50 billion dollars by 2020.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
Omega Optics, Inc.
10306 Sausalito Dr Austin, TX 78759-6113
Number of Employees:
The University of Texas at Austin
10100 Burnet Rd, PRC/MER 160
Austin, TX 78758-
Ray T. Chen