Feb 13, 2023

Mechanical engineering meets electromagnetics to enable future technology

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Reconfigurable antennas—those that can tune properties like frequency or radiation beams in real time, from afar—are integral to future communication network systems, like 6G. But many current reconfigurable antenna designs can fall short: they dysfunction in high or low temperatures, have power limitations or require regular servicing.

To address these limitations, in the Penn State College of Engineering combined electromagnets with a compliant mechanism, which is the same mechanical engineering concept behind binder clips or a bow and arrow. They published their proof-of-concept reconfigurable compliant mechanism-enabled patch antenna today (Feb. 13) in Nature Communications.

“Compliant mechanisms are engineering designs that incorporate elements of the materials themselves to create motion when force is applied, instead of traditional rigid body mechanisms that require hinges for motion,” said corresponding author Galestan Mackertich-Sengerdy, who is both a doctoral student and a full-time researcher in the college’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). “Compliant mechanism-enabled objects are engineered to bend repeatedly in a certain direction and to withstand .”

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