The currently observed dynamic progress in the development of wireless communication systems requires more efficient utilization of the available resources to satisfy the demand for systems` throughput and range. To meet these demands, it is necessary in many cases to increase the number of transceivers and to introduce appropriate multiplexing circuits and/or to increase the transmitting power while reducing the power loss within the transmitter, and keeping the same or comparable physical volume of the devices. Therefore, extensive research efforts are directed towards the development of novel solutions and technologies allowing for the realization of compact and lightweight systems with a high level of components’ integration and increased power efficiency. The goal of the project is to investigate and develop new design methodologies, circuits’ topologies and manufacturing techniques and schemes of mm-wave components and sub-systems realized with the use or support of additive manufacturing technologies to feature minimized total power losses, high electrical performance, lightweight as well as low-cost realization, dedicated for the automotive sensors and next generation of radio communication systems. Within the project two different approaches for realization of low-loss and high-performance mm-wave front-end components will be investigated, namely the realization of quasi-planar structures, where high-resolution manufacturing technique and dielectric materials properties are the main concerns; and the realization of light-weight 3-D waveguide structures where surface finish and metallization quality are of major concern. The intended final results of the project include novel techniques of realization of high-performance wave-guiding structures as well as filters, power-dividers, antenna feeding networks and antenna arrays operating at mm-wave frequency range. The project realization will accelerate the miniaturization of mobile electronic wireless and sensing devices, and currently developed communication standard. To achieve the goal of the project it is required to bring together the profound knowledge not only in the field of microwave circuits and antenna arrays, but also from the development of new materials and manufacturing technologies.
Research Project Objectives
The main objective of this project is the novel approach for design and fabrication of low-loss and high-performance mm-wave front-end components for next-generation communication and sensing systems, with the use of additive approach of printed electronics and 3D printing. The following research hypotheses can be formulated: exploitation of additive manufacturing processes for the realisation of mm-wave front-end components enables obtaining high-electrical performance similar to or comparable with the all-metal air-filled waveguide technology, light-weight and high level of component integration required for the next-generation of communication and sensing systems.
The currently observed dynamic progress in the development of wireless communication systems requires more efficient utilization of the available resources to satisfy the demand for systems` throughput and range . To meet these demands, it is necessary in many cases to increase the number of transceivers and to introduce appropriate multiplexing circuits and/or to increase the transmitting power while reducing the power loss within the transmitter and keeping the same or comparable physical volume of the devices. Therefore, extensive research efforts are directed towards the development of novel solutions and technologies allowing for the realization of compact and lightweight systems with a high level of components’ integration and increased power efficiency. One of the directions to follow is the application of a strip transmission line technique. Circuits realized in such a technique are quasi-planar structures supporting Transverse Electromagnetic (TEM) wave propagation what allows for easy modelling using classic transmission line theory and relatively fast design. The another direction to follow is the utilization of substrate-integrated waveguide technique (SIW) for realization of passive microwave circuits. However, despite many advantages, the circuits designed using microstrip as well as SIW techniques suffer from relatively high power loss being a result of an electromagnetic wave propagating fully or partially within the lossy dielectric with/or low effective conductivity metallisation. An industry standard technology which could be used to counteract those limitations is realisation of mm-wave front-ends in all-metal waveguide (WG) technique . As such, waveguide circuits feature very low power loss since TE or TM wave modes can propagate in lossless air filling. However, the physical realization requires precise machining while the resulting components are usually bulky, heavy, and hard to integrate with other non-WG subsystems making the technology, for many cases, unacceptably expensive and non-applicable. Therefore, it is necessary to pursue and develop novel low-loss passive and active components in strip transmission line technique and/or waveguide technique exploiting the advantages of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies that are suitable for the realisation of front-ends operating in mm-wave frequency yielding high electrical and mechanical performance and enabling high degree of integration with other components and subsystems.
In order to challenge the aforementioned issues related to low-loss passive circuits realization and capable of carrying relatively high power signals, AM technologies are proposed to be investigated. The proposed passive mm-wave circuits realized with the use of AM technology would enable the realization of uniform transceiver systems being the leading-edge solutions for the near future capability requirements. As a result of this research novel mm-wave circuits realisation schemes and topologies will be developed which take advantage of flexibility and three dimensional potential of AM based and hybrid AM-laminate technologies. To achieve that the well-established design techniques and transmission-line theory need to be adopted into the enhanced wave-guiding structures what would result in an improved performance in terms of insertion losses, weight, and compactness. All the proposed solutions will be confirmed by the measurement of the manufactured networks operating in the mm-wave frequency range including and not only restricted to bands assigned by the Electronic Communications Committee for automotive radar application and 5G networks.