This talk explores the potential of 3-D printing technologies for the development of free space quasi-optical (Q-O) components operating at millimeter wave frequencies. This study includes the design process, simulation, fabrication and testing of various lens systems. The lens system is unique in that the lenses are pre-aligned using a printed support structure, and the entire system is printed as a single unit. 3-D printing has benefits that can reduce development time and cost while allowing the fabrication of complex systems that cannot be manufactured by traditional means. Important to consider when first beginning a design is the pertinent material parameters of the printed materials with respect to the lens system requirements. The governing parameters for a millimeter wave system’s performance are the dielectric constant and loss tangent of the materials. Dielectric constant guides the characteristic impedance of millimeter wave circuits such as transmission lines, dielectric antennas, and Q-O lenses. Loss tangent, as the name implies, determines the dielectric loss, sometimes referred to as the dissipation factor. While these parameters are of paramount importance to system performance, they must also be considered with respect to their associated printing technique. A technique capable of producing the fine, appropriately sized, and well-developed features of the designed lens system is required to guarantee reproducible and fully realized components for testing and characterization, and later for practical applications.
- Understand the design parameters of 3-D printing for RF systems.
- Understand the uses of 3-D printing for RF systems.
- Understand the material parameters and performance issues of 3-D printing for RF systems.