3D Printed Lens Antennas for a 3D Terahertz Imaging Platform

Project: Research

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In 2017, worldwide revenues of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, went up to US$7.3 billion, 25 times more than that in 1995. It is projected that the market will continue to burgeon, with a compound annual growth rate of 25.76% from 2017 to 2023, reaching US$32.78 billion by 2023. This disruptive technology is set to transform industries in construction, tissue engineering, aerospace and many others. For example, entire houses have been built by 3D printing in Dubai, Shanghai and Amsterdam. Other examples are that cultivated skin cells can be directly printed onto a burn wound and astronauts can print replacement parts on board the International Space Station.Due to the proliferation of 3D printing technologies, there has been a surge of research on antenna designs based on additive manufacturing in the past few years. A special cluster (32 papers) on “3D Printed Antennas and Electromagnetics Structures”, with the PI as one of the Guest Editors, has been published by the IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters in November 2018. The goal of using 3D printing for antenna fabrication is not only for performance enhancement but also for effecting the paradigm shift of antenna designs through exploitation of the superior geometrical flexibility it provides.At the dawn of the 5G wireless communications era, the ever increasing demand for higher data-rate radio continues to drive up the carrier frequencies into the terahertz (THz) band for more channel capacities. Our goal in this project is to push the performance envelops of current printers, e.g., Form2 with a printing resolution of 25m thickness and laser spot size of 140m, for the realization of novel lens antennas operating at THz including circularly-polarized (CP) lens, dual CP lens, CP focusing lens, 2D linearly-polarized (LP) focus beam steering lens and axial focus LP lens, all fed by a commercially available LP THz horn. Using a combination of rotation and linear translation mechanism, the last two lenses will be integrated to form the hardware platform of a 3D THz imaging system. The acquired knowledge together with the continued advancements in printing resolution and materials would well position us for antenna designs for future several-hundred-Gbps wireless communications as well as 3D THz imaging.Given the complex shapes of the proposed THz lens antennas for the 3D THz imaging system, their successful realization will substantially elevate the manufacturing capability of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region. 


Project number9042826
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/09/19 → …