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Integrated microplasmas for rapidly-tunable microwave switches and antennas
Phone: (978) 738-8138
Phone: (978) 689-0003
Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) proposes the design and development of plasma-tunable switches and antennas, all fabricated directly on conventional microwave substrates. The switch will be operable over the full S band. The antenna center frequency will be tunable over the same frequency range, and both devices will support operation at up to 100 W of power. The plasma tuning elements are based on the novel application of highly-conductive, rapidly-switchable microwave-driven plasma discharges. These plasmas act as adjustable capacitors, enabling tuning across broad frequency ranges. Expected switching / tuning speeds will exceed electromechanical devices by approximately three orders of magnitude, while expected power handling capabilities will exceed that of typical semiconductor-based components by two orders of magnitude. The combination of the best characteristics of electro-mechanical and semiconductor switching and tuning approaches will allow these devices to occupy a unique and critical space in the microwave communications market. During the Phase I effort, PSI will perform careful measurements of plasma impedance under various operating conditions, which will in turn inform detailed switch and antenna circuit designs. These designs will be fabricated and evaluated during the Phase I base program. The Phase I Option and Phase II efforts will advance the designs to the full operating power and tailor them to specific Navy system requirements.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *