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Shape Morphing Metamaterials for Reconfigurable Electromagnetic Surfaces

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Stretchable metamaterials for physically reconfigurable antennas

Many modern applications like satellite antennas and wearable electronics require antennas to be robust to mechanical stretching. Conductors integrated into elastomeric substrates are the most popular approach to the realization of stretchable conductors but severely limit the application to soft electronics due to the achievable mechanical properties. We investigate a novel approach using stretchable mechanical metamaterials to enable stretchable conductors. The material-independent nature of metamaterials, which keep material strains low, allows us to realize designs from soft TPU to stiff fiber reinforced composites. By embedding conductors into these structures, we explore the link between mechanical stretching and antenna performance (ex. operating frequency, radiation pattern). In particular, we investigate the effect of gaps in the conductive structure due to the metamaterial geometry on the coupling between mechanical and antenna performance and use this for control of the system. We are furthermore interested in the efficient manufacturing of these multi-material systems, designing metamaterial geometries for stiff base materials, and creating coupling to various antenna performance metrics.

Related Publications: 

  • M. Sakovsky, J. Negele, J. Costantine, Shape morphing metamaterials for universally reconfigurable electromagnetic surfaces, manuscript under review.

  • M. Sakovsky, P. Ermanni, Structurally reconfigurable metamaterial antennas for spacecraft, AIAA Scitech Forum 2021, AIAA-2021-1495, Jan. 2021. https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2021-1495

  • M. Sakovsky, P. Ermanni, A thin-shell shape adaptable composite metamaterial, Composite Structures 246, article no. 112390, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compstruct.2020.112390

Funding:

  • ETH Zürich Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, co-funded by the Marie Curie Actions for People COFUND Program