Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Reyhan Baktur

Abstract

Inkjet printing is an attractive patterning technology that has received tremendous interest as a mass fabrication method for a variety of electronic devices due to its manufacturing exibility and low-cost feature. However, the printing facilities that are being used, especially the inkjet printer, are very expensive. This thesis introduces an extremely cost-friendly inkjet printing method using a printer that costs less than $100. In order to verify its reliability, linearly and circularly polarized (CPd) planar and conformal microstrip antennas were fabricated using this printing method, and their measurement results were compared with copper microstrip antennas. The result shows that the printed microstrip antennas have similar performances to those of the copper antennas except for lower efficiency. The effects of the conductivity and thickness of the ink layer on the antenna properties were studied, and it is found that the conductivity is the main factor affecting the radiation efficiency, though thicker ink yields more effective antennas. This thesis also presents the detailed antenna design for a sub-payload. The sub-payload is a cylindrical structure with a diameter of six inches and a height of four inches. It has four booms coming out from the surface, which are used to measure the variations of the energy flow into the upper atmosphere in and around the aurora. The sub-payload has two types of antennas: linearly polarized (LPd) S-band antennas and right-hand circularly polarized (RHCPd) GPS antennas. Each type of antenna has various requirements to be fully functional for specific research tasks. The thesis includes the design methods of each type of antenna, challenges that were confronted, and the possible solutions that were proposed. As a practical application, the inkjet printing method was conveniently applied in validating some of the antenna designs.

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