Design, Analysis, and Applications of Optically-Activated Antennas and Dielectric Lenses Using Photosensitive Semiconducting Materials
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The primary objective of the research is to investigate photosensitive semiconducting materials, mainly organic, and utilise them in antenna front-end systems and dynamic lenses for sub-THz applications. Mechanisms such as phase-shifting and photo-conductive switching are introduced in EM-devices to alter the antenna performance and behaviour. Using such mechanisms the devices are able to attain frequency, radiation pattern and polarisation reconfigurability. The common inorganic semiconductor, Si, and organic semiconductors such as poly 3-hexylthiophene (P3HT), [6,6]-Phenyl C61 butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) have been extensively studied and used in the exemplar EM-devices developed for this thesis. In this research, novelty is deployed with the use of photosensitive semiconductors as a means of ‘tuning’ dielectrics to control the propagation of the emerging beam-field of an antenna. Both organic and inorganic photosensitive semiconductors have been implemented in this work. The research begins by exploring the physical properties of such photosensitive semiconductors at microwave frequencies. Medium-resistivity Si was characterised using a conventional microstrip transmission line and the conductivity of the Si piece in dark and active states were estimated by matching its transmission characteristics with the modelled Si in CST Studio Suite. Thereafter the modelled Si was used in an antenna design to estimate the reconfigurability of the device. However, inorganic semiconductors are being replaced with organic semiconductors because of their inflexibility in device fabrication. Organic polymers, on the other hand, are light in weight, can be cast onto any surface, when blended with an organic solvent, and also photo-excited using white light. Organic polymer heterojunction 95% P3HT: 5% PCBM was characterised and changes in the real and imaginary parts of the complex dielectric constant of the organic blend are measured in the range of –0.05 to –0.55 and +0.01 to +0.52 respectively, over the sub-THz frequency-domain. In order to demonstrate EM-control of a wave using a photo-sensitive material, a two-element patch antenna array using organic polymer P3HT-PCBM is fabricated and the functionality for antenna beam steering examined. Non-optimum illumination of the organic layer on the antenna patches, led to an asymmetric and perturbed beam steer. Hence, a novel optically triggered antenna has been proposed at S-Band (2 – 4 GHz), where sodalime glass is being used as lower substrate, ITO (Indium Tin Oxide), transparent to white-light, as the ground plane and transmission lines along with patches are modelled onto the upper substrate layer (P3HT:PCBM). The estimates of the dielectric changes in the organic polymer blend due to optical excitation were used as inputs in the modelled device to show the proof-of-concept for beam steering with such a phase-shifting device. In addition, the antenna design also demonstrated that with a small change in the real part of the permittivity of the substrate it is possible to generate a maximum beam steer of 5°, using an effective phase-shifting design in CST Studio Suite. At millimetre-wave or sub-terahertz frequencies, small changes in the dielectric with excitation-region depth comparable to the wavelength are plenty to manipulate the emerging wave of an antenna or lens. Hence, an optically-activated dynamic lens is proposed and designed to dynamically control millimetre-wave transmission using optical illumination. The lens acts as a graduated gateway for phase transmission by adjusting the spatial permittivity across the lens. A nearfield measurement system is used to analyse the performance of the lens over the WR-10 (75 – 110 GHz) waveband. The phase distribution of the electric field across the face of the plane organic lens shows a similar pattern in the spatial phase-distribution of the lens plane in the active state as that projected by the illuminating source, allowing for projection-angle-induced cosine errors. Hence the dynamic operation of the lens can be beneficial for beam controlling applications in imaging, surveillance and remote sensing in the mm-wave frequency-domain.
AuthorsAndy, Andre Sarker
- Theses