Liquid Metal Actuation-Based Reversible Frequency Tunable Monopole Antenna
Pierce, Richard G.
Doo, Seok Joo
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We report the fabrication and characterization of a reversible resonant frequency tunable antenna based on liquid metal actuation. The antenna is composed of a coplanar waveguide fed monopole stub printed on a copper-clad substrate, and a tunnel-shaped microfluidic channel linked to the printed metal. The gallium-based liquid metal can be injected and withdrawn from the channel in response to an applied air pressure. The gallium-based liquid metal is treated with hydrochloric acid to eliminate the oxide layer, and associated wetting/sticking problems, that arise from exposure to an ambient air environment. Elimination of the oxide layer allows for reliable actuation and repeatable and reversible tuning. By controlling the liquid metal slug on-demand with air pressure, the liquid metal can be readily controllable to connect/disconnect to the monopole antenna so that the physical length of the antenna reversibly tunes. The corresponding reversible resonant frequency changes from 4.9 GHz to 1.1 GHz. The antenna properties based on the liquid metal actuation were characterized by measuring the reflection coefficient and agreed well with simulation results. Additionally, the corresponding time-lapse images of controlling liquid metal in the channel were studied.