STTR Phase I: Micromachined Varactor for Antenna Impedance Matching

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Laserlith Corporation
4775 Technology Circle, Suite 3, Grand Forks, ND, 58203-5635
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Chopin Hua
(701) 772-1513
Business Contact:
Chopin Hua
(701) 772-1513
Research Institution:
University of New Mexico
Christos Christodoulou
1 University Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM, 87131-
(505) 277-0111
Nonprofit college or university
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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