Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Civil/Mechanical/Manufacturing Engineering
Daniel Yeboah - Southern University and A&M College
Antennas are found in most devices ranging from vehicles, mobile phones, televisions, computers and the like. Antennas transmit and receive electromagnetic wave radiations, making communication possible. Conventionally made of metals, these devices are able to radiate at various frequencies. Current methods for making patch antennas can be costly and may require adept skill. On the other hand, Additive Manufacturing (AM) or Three-Dimensional (3D) Printing methods which have evolved in recent years, provide rapid engineering solutions for several industrial applications. AM methods have revolutionized product development and manufacturing as a low cost, high throughput technology with lower resource requirements for mass production and customization. 3D printing is significantly growing because it overcomes the challenges associated with traditional manufacturing in terms of ease of production, part complexity, and material wastage. Due to that, 3D printing is being utilized as an alternative approach to fabricate radio frequency, microwave and millimeter wave components like patch antennas, waveguides, baluns and resonators. The diversity in printing techniques and material availability allow a higher degree of freedom in substrate properties for modern planar and non-planar antennas. In this research, 3D printed template structures for planar, low-profile, compact, advanced patch antennas using digital light projection (DLP) AM technology based on extracted standard tessellation language (STL) files from computer aided designs (CAD) are presented. The material for printed templates is nylon photo-polymeric resin. Radiator and ground plane of the antenna, made of nickel (Ni), will be achieved via subsequent electroforming through the templates. By optimizing print parameters such as bottom layer exposure time (BET) and STL dimensions, it was found that 6s and 15.2×15.12×7.18 mm3 respectively, produced templates with good resolution and required open cavity print from the bottom layer. Results for nickel deposition onto gold-sputtered silicon wafers show that V = 1.4V and I = 0.01A, offer more uniform and well-adhered layers of nickel onto gold-sputtered substrates and this is confirmed via optical micrographs. Adhesion test reveals acceptable peel strength for gold layer sputtered onto silicon wafer prior to electrodeposition. Optical microscopic images proved the presence of gold on silicon substrates after sputtering was performed. XRD analysis also confirmed the presence of Ni at 2θ: 45°. In the subsequent phase of the work, characteristic parameters of the antennas will be simulated via COMSOL Multiphysics prior to fabrication. Final devices will be tested using a Vector Network Analyzer to ascertain radiation properties, gain, efficiency and reflection coefficient which will be compared with simulated results. The quality of electroformed Ni layers acting as radiator and ground plane components will further be characterized to assess their thickness, as well as electrical conductivity and resistance. Additional micrographs via scanning electron microscope (SEM), will be taken in order to gain an understanding into the surface and near surface features of electrodeposited Ni layer and correlate the information with antenna performance. The antennas to be studied will have prospective use in fifth generation (5G) networks and internet of things (IoT) applications as they will be designed to operate within the millimeter wave spectrum.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation (NSF)
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Fareed Dawan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: The following parts of the work were performed by me:Methodology: electroplating set-up, plating process, template printing.Characterization: optical microscopy, XRD analysis, adhesion testing.