Microfluidic channels filled with liquid metal are used to realize miniature and reconfigurable CPW folded slot antennas. The method is based on employing the reactive loading effect of fluid metal bridges on top of the CPW slot antenna. As a result of this reactive loading, the frequency of the antenna reduces and the antenna is miniaturized by a factor of 85%. Also, by changing the configuration of filled and empty channels, each channel can be used as a switch. By using two pairs of microfluidic channels, three different frequency bands of 2.4, 3.5, and 5.8 GHz can be achieved. This translates to a switching ratio (fTR=f2/f1) of more than 2.5. The antenna is realized using common PCB techniques for the antenna circuit board and three-dimensional (3-D) printing technology for PDMS-based microfluidics structure. The antenna circuit board and the PDMS structure are bonded to each other using a very thin spin-coated PDMS layer. Design methodology, simulation, and measurement results of both antenna prototypes are presented. Both the miniature and reconfigurable antennas have similar radiation patterns to a normal CPW folded slot antenna and show low cross-polarization levels at all operating frequencies.
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