Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Micromachined Millimeter-Wave Frequency Scanning Array

Technology #4917

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Categories
Researchers
Kamal Sarabandi
Managed By
Joohee Kim
Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734.764.8202
Patent Protection
US Patent 9,287,614

Background

Millimeter wave (MMW) frequencies are becoming increasingly lucrative due to potential applications in areas such as remote sensing, wireless communication, imaging, atmospheric studies, autonomous vehicle control, and perimeter security. Whereas MMW wavelengths are short enough to allow the fabrication of compact, high-resolution radars compatible with monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) chips, their wavelengths are sufficiently large to allow signal penetration in environments where signal scattering may take place.

Technology

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed an ultra-lightweight, highly-integrated, electronically-scanning, traveling wave MMW antenna using planar micromachining. Novel microfabrication processes enable the monolithic integration of RF front-end components, and result in an antenna with dimensions of approximately 3.5cm x 4.5cm x 1.25mm, and a weight of under 5g. The antenna is capable of 20 and 300 beam widths in the azimuth and elevation directions respectively, and ± 250 beam scattering around the broadside angle.

Applications and Advantages

Applications

  • Remote sensing
  • Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST)
  • Wireless communication systems
  • Imaging systems
  • Atmospheric studies
  • Autonomous vehicle control
  • Perimeter security
  • Collision avoidance
  • Indoor mapping

Advantages

  • Portability: Small size, low weight
  • High performance
  • Monolithic integration of radar RF front-end components
  • Lower cost and complexity, and higher scanning speeds compared to mechanical radars

  • Lower cost, and higher energy efficiency compared to electronic beam steering radars