SBIR Phase I: Microelectromechanical (MEMS) Phase Shifter for 2-D Electronically Scanned Antenna

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0539532
Agency Tracking Number: 0539532
Amount: $98,928.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 05-557
Small Business Information
396 Fenton Lane, West Chicago, IL, 60185
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Knox
 (630) 293-7118
Business Contact
 Robert Knox
Title: Mr
Phone: (630) 293-7118
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a Highly Efficient Low Cost electronically steered phased array antenna. Sought for many years has been a phased array antenna capable of electronic scanning in two planes so that communication and radar antennas could be very agile and low cost. The key barrier to such an antenna is the large, costly and power-hungry phase shifter typically used to perform beam steering. This proposal describes the use of microelectromechanical (MEMS) based analog passive phase shifters implemented in a completely novel fashion such that electronic beam steering in two planes can be independently accomplished. The MEMS movable membrane device is used as a distributed variable analog type phase shifter located on the antenna feed line. This is in contrast to the classical method to use a semiconductor or MEMS switch to select among several transmission lines of different length to change the phase length (in digital increments). If successful the benefits of this method include higher resolution in phase shift and beam scanning, smaller size and lower insertion loss. Successful outcome of this project will allow rapid improvements in the efficiency of antenna in RF frequencies, especially Millimeter wave frequencies. This will allow a broad array of DOD and commercial markets (automotive safety) to improve existing products in both terms of performance, cost, and size, and allowing for advanced products that currently are not available. The scientific and technology advancements of the MEMS phase shifter will enhance the knowledge of antenna and antenna systems communities. Existing devices for secure satellite communications, missile defenses, unmanned vehicles, hidden weapons detection intrusion detection, will all benefit from a technology that is low cost, and improves antenna performance, while also reducing size and cost. The proposed technology will also open pathways for the development of new, advanced technologies - including true collision warning for automobiles.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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