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Three-Dimensional Printed Dielectric Substrates for Radio Frequency Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Vana Snigdha Tummala

Department of Mechanical and Materials
Engineering,
Wright State University,
3640 Colonel Glenn Highway,
Dayton, OH 45435

Ahsan Mian

Mem. ASME
Department of Mechanical and
Materials Engineering,
Wright State University,
3640 Colonel Glenn Highway,
Dayton, OH 45435
e-mail: ahsan.mian@wright.edu

Nowrin H. Chamok, Dhruva Poduval, Mohammod Ali

Department of Electrical Engineering,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208

Jallisa Clifford, Prasun Majumdar

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC 29208

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ELECTRONIC PACKAGING. Manuscript received December 13, 2016; final manuscript received March 20, 2017; published online June 12, 2017. Assoc. Editor: S. Ravi Annapragada.

J. Electron. Packag 139(2), 020904 (Jun 12, 2017) (7 pages) Paper No: EP-16-1137; doi: 10.1115/1.4036384 History: Received December 13, 2016; Revised March 20, 2017

Engineered porous structures are being used in many applications including aerospace, electronics, biomedical, and others. The objective of this paper is to study the effect of three-dimensional (3D)-printed porous microstructure on the dielectric characteristics for radio frequency (RF) antenna applications. In this study, a sandwich construction made of a porous acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) thermoplastic core between two solid face sheets has been investigated. The porosity of the core structure has been varied by changing the fill densities or percent solid volume fractions in the 3D printer. Three separate sets of samples with dimensions of 50 mm × 50 mm × 5 mm are created at three different machine preset fill densities each using LulzBot and Stratasys dimension 3D printers. The printed samples are examined using a 3D X-ray microscope to understand pore distribution within the core region and uniformity of solid volumes. The nondestructively acquired 3D microscopy images are then postprocessed to measure actual solid volume fractions within the samples. This measurement is important specifically for dimension-printed samples as the printer cannot be set for any specific fill density. The experimentally measured solid volume fractions are found to be different from the factory preset values for samples prepared using LulzBot printer. It is also observed that the resonant frequency for samples created using both the printers decreases with an increase in solid volume fraction, which is intuitively correct. The results clearly demonstrate the ability to control the dielectric properties of 3D-printed structures based on prescribed fill density.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic sketch of porous sandwich structure with variable core porosity as achieved by selecting different fill densities in 3D printer

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Fig. 2

Patch antennas created on samples prepared using LulzBot printer: (a) front view of patch antenna with feed location and (b) back view of an antenna having a copper-tape ground plane

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Fig. 3

Patch antennas created on samples prepared using Dimension printer: (a) front view of patch antenna with feed location and (b) back view of an antenna having a copper-tape ground plane

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Fig. 4

Three-dimensional X-ray images of printed substrate. (a) Samples fabricated on LulzBot printer: (i) printer setting—25% fill density. Image volume—8.0 mm × 7.7 mm × 5.1 mm. (ii) Printer setting—50% fill density. Image volume—7.3 mm × 6.7 mm × 4.8 mm. (iii) Printer setting—75% fill density. Image volume—8.0 mm × 7.7 mm × 5.1 mm. (b) Samples fabricated on Dimension printer: (i) printer setting—low fill density. Image volume—7.9 mm × 7.8 mm × 5.2 mm. (ii) Printer setting—medium fill density. Image volume—8.1 mm × 7.8 mm × 5.2 mm. (iii) Printer setting—high fill density. Image volume—7.6 mm × 7.4 mm × 5.2 mm.

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Fig. 5

Computational image analysis to find actual volume fractions for the samples created using LulzBot printer: (a) printer setting 75%. RVE dimension: 6.7 mm × 1.4 mm × 2.1 mm. (b) Printer setting 50%. RVE dimension: 5.4 mm × 2.4 mm × 2.1 mm. (c) Printer setting 25%. RVE dimension 6.4 mm × 3.9 mm × 2.1 mm.

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Fig. 6

Computational image analysis to find volume fractions for the samples created using Dimension printer: (a) printer setting high. RVE dimension: 6.1 mm × 3.6 mm × 3.6 mm. (b) Printer setting medium. RVE dimension: 4.9 mm × 4.45 mm × 3.1 mm. (c) Printer setting low. RVE dimension 5.9 mm × 4.4 mm × 2.8 mm.

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Fig. 7

Representative measured S11 (decibels) versus frequency plots for LulzBot-printed samples

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Fig. 8

Representative measured S11 (decibels) versus frequency plots for Dimension-printed samples

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Fig. 9

Variation of resonant frequency with experimentally measured solid volume fraction of core

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