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Processing of Membrane Materials for Integrated Elements
Title: Principal Investigator
Phone: (256) 971-7804
Title: Corp. V.P. & Gen. Mgr.
Phone: (256) 971-7000
"Space-based antenna systems require large amounts of power and aperture area to achieve desired coverage and resolution. This Phase I effort will demonstrate a method of printing electronics to interconnect a series of PV cells on a polyimide backplane.This same technology will be applied to print electrical feed lines and radiating elements of a radiofrequency antenna. This technology will replace chemical etching lithography techniques currently used to manufacture RF elements. The printing techniqueuses the parent polyimide material coupled with metal-ion containing materials. Once cured, the bond between the substrate and metal interface becomes extremely strong improving the reliability and operation of the elements. The use of this technologywill enable expanded processes that accommodate production of large continuous film rolls - necessary to fulfill eventual flight requirements. The development of increased efficiency flexible membrane cells will lead to the replacement of traditional rigidpanel photo-voltaic arrays. This work will demonstrate the integration of a cell series into a complete integrated one-piece structure that will eliminate many of the concerns of current arrays. The combination of the cells with printed RF elements willsupport large area and high power antenna systems. The technology is applicable to high power commercial satellites, as well as small micro-sats. The technology has value in the development
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