Polymer Resonator Antennas
The invention describes a radically different approach to fabrication of compact radio frequency (RF) antennas and devices using non-traditional polymer-based materials, enabling improved performance and increased functionality for various emerging wireless communication and sensor devices. The relentless pursuit of device miniaturization for such systems often comes at the price of compromised performance. One of the biggest obstacles to further miniaturization of RF wireless devices is the antenna structure, which accounts for a large portion of the total size. Recently, ceramic-based dielectric resonator antennas (DRAs) have attracted increased attention for miniaturized wireless and sensor applications at microwave and millimeter-wave frequencies. DRAs are three dimensional structures with lateral dimensions that can be several times smaller than traditional antennas, and offer superior performance. Despite the superior properties of DRAs, they have not been widely adopted for commercial wireless applications due to complex and costly fabrication processes related to their three dimensional structure and difficulties in shaping the hard ceramic material. The new approach described in this invention to facilitate the adoption of DRAs for commercial applications is to use polymer-based materials (so-called polymer resonator antennas - PRAs). The premise of the approach was two-fold: 1) the natural softness of polymers could dramatically simplify fabrication of dielectric elements, enabling for instance the use of lithographic batch fabrication or other 3D printing or micromachining processes; 2) the elements must be effectively excited to resonate and radiate at microwave and millimeter-wave frequencies.