Nav: Home

Shape-shifting origami could help antenna systems adapt on the fly

December 10, 2018

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have devised a method for using an origami-based structure to create radio frequency filters that have adjustable dimensions, enabling the devices to change which signals they block throughout a large range of frequencies.

The new approach to creating these tunable filters could have a variety of uses, from antenna systems capable of adapting in real-time to ambient conditions to the next generation of electromagnetic cloaking systems that could be reconfigured on the fly to reflect or absorb different frequencies.

The team focused on one particular pattern of origami, called Miura-Ori, which has the ability to expand and contract like an accordion.

"The Miura-Ori pattern has an infinite number of possible positions along its range of extension from fully compressed to fully expanded," said Glaucio Paulino, the Raymond Allen Jones Chair of Engineering and a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "A spatial filter made in this fashion can achieve similar versatility, changing which frequency it blocks as the filter is compressed or expanded."

Results from the study, which was supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Semiconductor Research Corporation, were reported December 10th in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers used a special printer that scored paper to allow a sheet to be folded in the origami pattern. An inkjet-type printer was then used to apply lines of silver ink across those perforations, forming the dipole elements that gave the object its radio frequency filtering ability.

"The dipoles were placed along the fold lines so that when the origami was compressed, the dipoles bend and become closer together, which causes their resonant frequency to shift higher along the spectrum," said Manos Tentzeris, the Ken Byers Professor in Flexible Electronics in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

To prevent the dipoles from breaking along the fold line, the perforations were suspended at the location of each silver element and then continued on the other side. Additionally, along each of the dipoles, a separate cut was made to form a "bridge" that allowed the silver to bend more gradually. For testing various positions of the filter, the team used 3D-printed frames to hold it in place.

The researchers found that a single-layer Miura-Ori-shaped filter blocked a narrow band of frequencies while multiple layers of the filters stacked could achieve a wider band of blocked frequencies.

Because the Miura-Ori formation is flat when fully extended and quite compact when fully compressed, the structures could be used by antenna systems that need to stay in compact spaces until deployed, such as those used in space applications. Additionally, the single plane along which the objects expand could provide advantages, such as using less energy, over antenna systems that require multiple physical steps to deploy.

"A device based on Miura-Ori could both deploy and be re-tuned to a broad range of frequencies as compared to traditional frequency selective surfaces, which typically use electronic components to adjust the frequency rather than a physical change," said Abdullah Nauroze, a Georgia Tech graduate student who worked on the project. "Such devices could be good candidates to be used as reflectarrays for the next generation of cubesats or other space communications devices."

There were also physical advantages to using origami.

"The Miura-Ori pattern exhibits remarkable mechanical properties, despite being assembled from sheets barely thicker than a tenth of a millimeter," said Larissa Novelino, a Georgia Tech graduate student who worked on the project. "Those properties could make light-weight yet strong structures that could be easily transported."
-end-
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant Nos. CMMI 1538830 and RD928, the U.S. Department of Defense Threat Reduction Agency under grant No. RE202, the Semiconductor Research Corporation under grant No. RG460, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under grant No. RK049. The work was also supported by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, under project 235104/2014-0. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of these agencies.

CITATION: Syed Abdullah Nauroze, Larissa S. Novelino, Manos M. Tentzeris, and Glaucio H. Paulino, "Continuous-range tunable multi-layer frequency selective surfaces using origami and inkjet-printing," (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 10, 2018). http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1812486115

Georgia Institute of Technology

Related Engineering Articles:

Re-engineering antibodies for COVID-19
Catholic University of America researcher uses 'in silico' analysis to fast-track passive immunity
Next frontier in bacterial engineering
A new technique overcomes a serious hurdle in the field of bacterial design and engineering.
COVID-19 and the role of tissue engineering
Tissue engineering has a unique set of tools and technologies for developing preventive strategies, diagnostics, and treatments that can play an important role during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.
Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.
Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.
New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.
Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.
Breakthrough in blood vessel engineering
Growing functional blood vessel networks is no easy task. Previously, other groups have made networks that span millimeters in size.
Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.
More Engineering News and Engineering Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.