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Proximal-Field Radiation Sensors for Dynamically Controllable and Self-Correcting Integrated Radiators


Safaripour Tabbalvandani, Amirreza (2017) Proximal-Field Radiation Sensors for Dynamically Controllable and Self-Correcting Integrated Radiators. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9DR2SJZ.


One of the major challenges in the design of integrated radiators at mm-wave frequencies is the generation of surface waves in the dielectric substrate by the on-chip antennas. Since dielectric substrates are excellent surface waveguides with a fundamental mode with no cutoff frequency, there is always some energy trapped in them due to the surface waves and the excited substrate modes. This phenomenon is a significant cause of reduced radiation efficiency for mm-wave integrated radiators. However, in this thesis, we use this as an opportunity. We show that the excited substrate modes in the dielectric substrate of an integrated antenna contain valuable information regarding its far-field radiation properties. We introduce Proximal-Field Radiation Sensors (PFRS) as a number of small sensing antennas that are placed strategically on the same substrate as the integrated antenna and measure electromagnetic waves in its immediate proximity. These sensors extract the existing information in the substrate modes and use it to predict the far-field radiation properties of the integrated antenna in real-time based on in-situ measurements in the close proximity of the antennas, without any need to use additional test equipment and without removing the antenna from its operating environment or interfering with its operation in a wireless system. In other words, PFRS enables self-calibration, self-correction, and self-monitoring of the performance of the integrated antennas. Design intuition and a variety of data processing schemes for these sensors are discussed. Two proof-of-concept prototypes are fabricated on printed circuit board (PCB) and integrated circuit (IC) and both verify PFRS capabilities in prediction of radiation properties solely based on in-situ measurements.

Dynamically controllable integrated radiators would significantly benefit from PFRS, These radiators are capable of controlling their radiation parameters such as polarization and beam steering angle through their actuators and control units. In these cases, PFRS serves as a tool for real-time monitoring of their radiation parameters, so that without direct measurement of the far-field properties through bulky equipment the required information for the control units and the actuators are provided.

Dynamically controllable integrated radiators can be designed using the additional design space provided by Multi-Port Driven (MPD) radiator methodology. After a review of advantages of MPD design over the traditional single-port design, we show that a slot-based MPD radiator would have the additional advantage of reduced exclusive use area compared to the original wire-based MPD radiator, through demonstration of a 134.5-GHz integrated slot-based MPD radiator with a measured single-element EIRP of +6.0 dBm and a total radiated power of -1.3 dBm.

We discuss how MPD methodology enables the new concept of Dynamic Polarization Control, as a method to ensure polarization matching of the transmitter antenna to the receiver antenna, regardless of the polarization and orientation of the receiver antenna in space. A DPC antenna design using the MPD methodology is described and a 105.5-GHz 2x1 integrated DPC radiator array with a maximum EIRP of +7.8 dBm and a total radiated power of 0.9 mW is presented as the first demonstration of an integrated radiator with DPC capability. This prototype can control the polarization angle across the entire tuning range of 0 to 180 degrees while maintaining axial ratios above 10 dB, and control the axial ratio from 2.4 dB (near circular) to 14 dB (linear). We also demonstrate how simultaneous two-dimensional beam steering and DPC capabilities can even match the polarization to a mobile receiver antenna through a prototype 123-GHz 2x2 integrated DPC radiator array with a maximum EIRP of +12.3 dBm, polarization angle control across the full range of 0to 180 degrees as well as tunable axial ratio down to 1.2 dB and beam steering of up to 15 degrees in both dimensions. We also use slot-based DPC antennas to fabricate a 120-GHz integrated slot-based DPC radiator array, expected to have a maximum EIRP of +15.5 dBm.

We also introduce a new modulation scheme called Polarization Modulation (Pol-M) as a result of DPC capability, where the polarization itself is used for encoding the data. Pol-M is a spatial modulation method and is orthogonal to the existing phase and amplitude modulation schemes. Thus, it could be added on top of those schemes to enable creation of 4-D data constellations, or it can be used as the only basis for modulation to increase the stream security by misleading the undesired receivers. We discuss how DPC antenna enables Pol-M and also present PCB prototypes for Pol-M transmitter and receiver units operating at 2.4 GHz.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Proximal-Field Sensor, Radiation Sensor, Integrated Radiator, On-chip Antenna, Dynamic Polarization Control, Integrated Circuits, mm-Wave Radiation.
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hajimiri, Ali
Thesis Committee:
  • Hajimiri, Ali (chair)
  • Emami, Azita
  • Weinreb, Sander
  • Choo, Hyuck
  • Yang, Changhuei
Defense Date:5 April 2017
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05162017-205230203
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted from Chapter 5 adapted from Chapter 5 adapted from Chapter 5 adapted form Chapter 4 adapted from Chapter 5 adapted from Chapter 4 ItemOther works ItemOther works ItemOther works
Safaripour Tabbalvandani, Amirreza0000-0001-9758-6156
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10178
Deposited By: Amirreza Safaripour Tabbalvandani
Deposited On:05 Jun 2017 22:52
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:16

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