Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, US Department of Defence, and the Semiconductor Research Corporation, have developed a “shape-shifting” radio filter system based on the Miura-Ori origami pattern.
Designed, researcher Glaucio Paulino explains, to allow devices to quickly tune their radio frequency filters by adjusting their physical layout on the fly, the filter system is based on origami, the art of paper-folding. “The Miura-Ori pattern has an infinite number of possible positions along its range of extension from fully compressed to fully expanded,” says Paulino, the Raymond Allen Jones Chair of Engineering and a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “A spatial filter made in this fashion can achieve similar versatility, changing which frequency it blocks as the filter is compressed or expanded.”
The accordion-like Miura-Ori pattern was created by using a printer which scored a sheet of paper such that it could be folded accurately, while a second printer applied conductive silver ink to form dipole elements which can filter particular radio frequencies. “The dipoles were placed along the fold lines so that when the origami was compressed, the dipoles bend and become closer together, which causes their resonant frequency to shift higher along the spectrum,” explains Manos Tentzeris, the Ken Byers Professor in Flexible Electronics, of its tunable properties.
“A device based on Miura-Ori could both deploy and be re-tuned to a broad range of frequencies as compared to traditional frequency selective surfaces, which typically use electronic components to adjust the frequency rather than a physical change,” adds Abdullah Nauroze, graduate student, of the project’s potential. “Such devices could be good candidates to be used as reflectarrays for the next generation of cubesats or other space communications devices.”
The team’s work has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as “Continuous-range tunable multi-layer frequency selective surfaces using origami and inkjet-printing,” though is not yet publicly available. More information is available from the Georgia Institute of Technology website.