A novel metamaterial-based antenna
A few days ago, Nature published the article "A novel metamaterial-based antenna for on-chip applications for the 72.5-81 GHz frequency range", by Karen Olan Nuñez, M.Sc., a doctoral student at INAOE, and Roberto Murphy Arteaga, Ph.D., researcher and Head of the Electronics Department of this Institute.
The article presents a new antenna based on metamaterial properties. The design and parameters of the unit cell were extracted using an electromagnetic simulator.
The metamaterial is magnetically coupled to the CPW-type line, the current induced in the hexagonal ring gives rise to a field perpendicular to the incident one. The antenna can be modeled using an LC circuit, presented in the article. The compactness, design simplicity, good radiation performance and novel geometry of this antenna are the main contributions of the work. The antenna can be built on a silicon wafer for HR-SOI-CMOS technology. This design is suitable for the receiving stage of long-range automotive radar systems, due to its wide Half Power Beam Width, as well as for many other E-band applications.
Karen Olan was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. She studied Electronic Engineering at the Technological Institute of Minatitlán, Veracruz, and earned her master's degree in Electronics at INAOE. She is currently undertaking research for her Ph.D. dissertation under the guidance of Dr. Murphy.
Karen Olan explains that “a metamaterial is a material designed to obtain certain characteristics or electrical and magnetic behavior that cannot be obtained naturally with existing physical materials. These are materials designed to behave in a certain way or in a way that is different from what one always expects or what exists in nature.”
She adds that metamaterials are made of conventional materials: “they can be metal, some dielectric substrate, plastic, wood, ceramic, copper, and so on.”
Karen Olan says that the novelty of the research published in Nature is that the geometry proposed as a metamaterial is completely new, it does not exist in the literature: “that is the innovation, mainly the geometry of the metamaterial, the antenna uses a novel metamaterial”.
The doctoral student reports that during her master's degree she made a design for an antenna that has also been published: "This work was theoretical and experimental since, due to the frequency in which she worked, it was possible to easily measure it and also easily manufacture it at INAOE".
The recently reported antenna, she adds, works at a frequency above 75 GHz, and the INAOE has the equipment to measure this type of device: “However, it does not have the manufacturing process. What we intend to do is, based on this work already reported, modify certain materials used as substrates so that it can be manufactured at the INAOE. We have already acquired the silicon wafers; we only need to manufacture the antenna using a different material on the silicon wafer”.
Karen says that, due to the operating frequency of the antenna, which is in the range designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for long-range radar, the design is suitable for vehicular long-range radar systems.
To conclude, Karen Olan points out: “It is important to mention that the electromagnetic simulator used for the design of this device solves Maxwell's Equations, in order to provide an idea of the antenna’s response as close to the real one as possible. During the simulation, we also consider as many physical and electrical properties of the materials as possible, such as substrate losses, finite conductivity, roughness, etc. Hence, we believe the manufactured structure will behave very close to the simulated response. Thus far, it is a theoretical work that emulates reality as best as it can”.
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