Reconfigurable and Conformal Antennas based on the Emerging Liquid Metal and Electro-Textile Materials
With the development of wireless communications and its growing importance in all aspects of everyday life, the demand for developing robust and versatile wireless devices that support higher data rates is increasing. Antennas play a central and critical role in this endeavor. For RF and antenna engineers, next-generation antenna designs involve new materials and fabrication processes for emerging wireless applications. In the first part of this work, reconfigurable antennas based on liquid metal and 3D printed microfluidics are proposed. With the development of a robust liquid handling process on printed circuit board (PCB), two reconfigurable patch antenna implementations are introduced and characterized for the use of wide-band frequency reconfigurable or polarization reconfigurable antennas. An organ-tuned monopole antenna for microwave induced thermal ablation is also proposed based on liquid metal reconfiguration. The studies aim to explore novel reconfiguration technique enabled by new materials and manufacturing technologies with the potential of providing more functionalities and reduced cost. In the second part of the work, conformal antennas based on electro-textile for wireless body-area network (WBANs) are investigated. Electro-textile is playing a key role in the current and future smart garments implementations. We start with the detailed design and modeling strategies for embroidery-based electro-textile antennas. The patch antenna bending effects are then carefully investigated both numerically and experimentally. Nature-inspired global optimizations (e.g. particle swarm optimization and brain-storm optimization) are implemented in these designs and analyses.