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STTR Phase I: Micromachined Varactor for Antenna Impedance Matching

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2012 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
4775 Technology Circle, Suite 3 Grand Forks, ND 58203-5635
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2012
Title: STTR Phase I: Micromachined Varactor for Antenna Impedance Matching
Agency: NSF
Contract: 1217624
Award Amount: $149,497.00


This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will develop micromachined antenna tuning module products for cell phone and portable computing applications. The proposed technology can reduce the mismatch between the device's RF frontend and its operating environment (user's head, user's hand, metallic objects, etc.). Compared to competing approaches, the proposed technology can provide antenna tunability and reduced size, while reducing system costs and power consumption. The research will focus on the integration of the varactor technology with a low-loss RF design. Follow-on work could develop the entire prototype module. A proof-of-concept experiment demonstrated that a micromachined varactor was able maintain optimal matching while antenna output impedance was varied over a range. Anticipated technical results include demonstrating a product with a tuning range that will sufficiently cover probably antenna impedance mismatch conditions. The broad impact/commercial impact of this project includes addressing several key problems currently in the wireless sector: power consumption, bandwidth and signal reception. The ability to tune the antenna can deliver substantial benefits. For the radio transmitter, minimized mismatch reduces wasted reflected power. Battery power savings is critical, and additional features are requiring more and more power. For the radio receiver, minimized mismatch improves signal reception. For cell phones, this would directly result in improved call quality and reduced dropped calls. For data, improved reception will increase bandwidth without increasing transmitter power. With more than 1 billion cell phones manufactured a year, the commercial impact for the proposed micromachined antenna tuning module is enormous.

Principal Investigator:

Chopin Hua

Business Contact:

Chopin Hua
Small Business Information at Submission:

Laserlith Corporation
4775 Technology Circle, Suite 3 Grand Forks, ND 58203-5635

EIN/Tax ID: 222666373
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: Yes
HUBZone-Owned: Yes
Research Institution Information:
University of New Mexico
1 University Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131-
Contact: Christos Christodoulou
Contact Phone: 5052770111