Florida International University (FIU) is seeking a business partner to develop and commercialize reconfigurable origami-folded antennas.
Satellite communications typically use deployable antennas that can be compressed and expanded. In such applications, it is important for the antenna to be able to fit into a small space and then be able to expand to an operational size once the orbit is reached. While the sensors and operating electronics of satellites can be scaled to small volumes, the wavelengths of the signals used by miniaturized satellites to communicate do not scale accordingly. Given that the wavelength of a signal determines the size of an antenna needed to communicate that signal, antennas for miniaturized satellites still must have dimensions similar to those for larger satellites. Because of these size limitations for deployable antennas, some of the advantages of satellite miniaturization remain unrealized. Although origami-folded structures make it possible to design reconfigurable and expandable components for deployable antennas, there are still challenges in making deployable antennas that can balance stowability and reconfigurability with their operational requirements.
To address this limitation, FIU researchers have developed origami-folded antennas that are compressible for good stowability and expandable to an operational size while maintaining effective operating properties. These antennas are also tunable; the gain of the antennas can be tuned to specific frequencies by adjusting the amount of expansion of the antennas between a compressed state and an expanded state. The origami-folded antennas can be used for applications in the L band and S band, such as GPS, WiMAX, and satellite communications. These wide-band and frequency tunable antennas can cover different operating bands eliminating the need of multiple antennas.
- Airborne and spaceborne antennas
- Tactile, portable and field antennas
- The antenna can change its height and reconfigure its performance
- Can provide very large bandwidth for certain height
- Eliminates the need of multiple antennas