Inkjet-printed RF modules for sensing and communication applications
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The objective of the proposed research is to integrate nanotechnology, applied electromagnetics, and inkjet printing fabrication methods to develop a series of novel inkjet-printed RF modules for sensing and communication applications: wireless gas sensor, wearable RFID tag, and RF inductor. Passive, wireless sensors have various applications in a wide range of fields including military, industry, and medicine. However, there are issues such as cost, sensitivity of sensors, manufacturing complexities, and feasibility of further miniaturization of these RF modules. One aspect of this research investigates the feasibility of addressing these issues by integrating nanotechnology and applied electromagnetics. The underlying common theme for the three designs is inkjet-printing silver nanoparticles on organic paper substrate. The research will investigate the characterization of thin film carbon nanotubes and the optimization of inkjet-printing the CNT material on paper substrate followed by the design of a patch antenna based gas sensor. Measurement results from a closed measurement system will be shown. Secondly, an inkjet-printed, conformal, wearable RFID tag on an artificial magnetic conductor is designed and tested using an RFID Reader. Lastly an inkjet-printed high Q RF inductor is designed and integrated with magnetic nanomaterial to evaluate the feasibility of increasing inductance using high permeability nanomaterial. Through the design and testing of the aforementioned three designs, it will be shown that through a multidisciplinary design process, novel, low-cost RF modules can be designed for sensing and communication applications.