Wireless data traffic has grown exponentially in recent years due to a change in the way today's society creates, shares and consumes information. This growth can be sustained only by pushing the boundaries of today’s components limitations.
Radio frequency filters and antennas are passive components which are essential for any wireless systems. In this context, our research addresses:
Higher frequency bands will be exploited in new generation wireless systems, which results in moving transmissions to the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum termed “mm-wave”. In any wireless systems, passive components (such as filters) are fundamental to guarantee high performances, interoperability and reliability. Filters can be implemented in various technologies such as lumped elements, waveguides and printed circuit boards (PCB) depending on the desired performances, size and weight. At lower microwave frequencies planar technology offers a good compromise between low electrical losses, low size and low weight, however, at mm-wave it is not trivial to achieve good performing filters with classically manufactured PCBs.
The project VORTEIL is funded by FFG-Austria under the framework BRIDGE which promoted the collaboration of TU Graz and the industrial partner AT&S (Austria). The focus of this three-year project, which began in September 2015, is to investigate improved manufacturing techniques which aim to reduce electrical losses of filters on PCB at mm-wave. Such techniques will be tested on advanced components such as filters with tunable response which are essential to combine different functionalities in one single device and therefore reduce the size of next generation front ends.
It is predicted that over 50 billion intelligent objects - smart things - will communicate with each other in the Internet of Things by 2020, allowing for numerous everyday applications. For example, cars will be able to communicate with each other on the streets to prevent accidents, and tailor-made furniture will be able to tell industrial production machines what exactly needs to be done to them. One day, the Internet of Things will be as important as the power grid is today. There is, however, still much research to be done, especially regarding the reliability of the Internet of Things. In particular, critical applications in health, traffic and production need to function perfectly at all times. Dependable things gathers ten of the best researchers from the departments of Computer Science & Biomedical Engineering and Electrical & Information Engineering at TU Graz which are working on fundamental aspects that will enable computers embedded into everyday objects to work reliably, even under the most difficult conditions.
Not only classical manufacturing of MW components introduces non-ideal results but it also limits the design flexibility and freedom of their structures. Additive manufacturing is a growing technology which is very advantageous for microwave components where the manufacturing is a critical issue. The three-year project STAR financed by the ASAP program of FFG-Austria was kicked-off in June 2016 and it is carried out in collaboration with the industrial partner Lithoz GmbH (Austria). The activity aims to push the boundaries of current manufacturing techniques in order to achieve non-planar filters with improved characteristics through additive manufacturing. Innovative designs are being explored within the project in order to overcome hot issues in the field of microwave filters for space applications (e.g. wide-band spurious rejection, miniaturization, easy assembly and mass production).