MEMS based Antenna array

Evolution of communication technology is pushing the limits beyond those of conventional radio frequency and millimeter-wave devices. A key trend in this evolution is miniaturization and ultrahigh density integration of radio/microwave frequency devices. Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology provides the opportunity to develop micro-scale RF devices and satisfy the market demand. This technology has made it possible to realize miniaturized components and systems such as switches, tunable capacitors (varactors), variable inductors, phase shifters, and reconfigurable antenna arrays not only in small size but also with superior performance and new functionality.

An application that has been recently targeted by one of the start ups in the field, is matching network for tuning input impedance of multi-band cellular phones. According to their news from January 09, they have begun shipping products to a Tier 1 mobile handset manufacturer. For this type of applications that battery life is an important issue, near DC power consumption of MEMS plays a key role in attracting cell phone customers.

MEMS capacitors and switches will be integrated with high gain planar antennas. In this type of antenna, a resonant cavity is formed by placing a partially reflective surface such as a frequency selective surface (FSS) over a single radiating element such as a microstrip patch. The array of MEMS capacitors are integrated into the FSS to achieve phase tunability. This antenna is able to scan the space by directing its beam to the desired angle.  

The student will review liteature on: MEMS capacitors and switches,  Switch lifetime and capacitor tuning range  Process flow and fabrication of MEMS capacitors and switches. The student will participate in:  Mechanical simulation of MEMS capacitors and switches using ANSYS, Training in Nanofab facility, Fabrication and study of capacitors and switches, Measurement of electrical and mechanical properties of the fabricated samples

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Mojgan Daneshmand


Abhishek Jain



Engineering - computer / electrical


Information and communications technologies


University of Alberta


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