Additive Manufacturing of Steerable Antenna Systems for 5G and Adaptive Cruise Control Applications

Additive Manufacturing of Steerable Antenna Systems for 5G and Adaptive Cruise Control Applications

Rupesh Kumar (XLIM, France) and Cyrille Menudier (XLIM, France)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7539-9.ch001

Abstract

This chapter gives an insight view of the evolving additive manufacturing technology and its application for designing steerable front-end (FE) array antenna architecture dedicated to mmWave for the 5G network and the adaptive cruise control (ACC) applications. The manufacturing of RF system is a challenging work because it comes with complex designs, a long realization time, and high cost as well as weight. Technically, all these challenges could be addressed up with the use of additive manufacturing technology. It allows an increased flexibility in the manufacturing of complex designs such as steerable beamforming and other advanced RF products. Traditional machining technologies used to manufacture RF products are limited in their ability to produce complex shape. The AM technology allows to realize the entire designs in one single time-phase which positively impacts mass, cost, realization time, assembly quality and RF performance.
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Introduction

In general, 5G new radio (NR) network based on the mmWave spectrum are bound to offer a much-enhanced wireless network connectivity and performance compared to the already existing 4G networks. The prospects of IoT (Internet of Thing), 5G (Peterson & Schnaufer, 2018), and radar applications (Kumar, Cousin & Huyart, 2014) such as the development of Autonomous Cruise Control (ACC discussed by Lacher, 2009 and Ramasubramanian & Ginsburg, 2009 in their works) system are pushing the real-world interface close to the digital world by exploring some completely new possibilities at millimeter wave spectrum due to the availability of large contiguous bandwidth. The Front-End (FE) antenna design and its production are going to be a key factor in the success of mmWave services. Moreover, the digitally steerable beamform front-end design is going to replicate the same theme as of a DAC/ADC (that is available in the electronics designs for digital-to-analog and vice-versa), in between the real world and the dedicated machines such as human interface with the 5G network in wireless communication and with the autonomous vehicle in ACC systems. Nevertheless, such developments are going to bring a better experience of the human-machine establishment by enabling an enhanced wireless connectivity for the deployment of various applications through the secure and the reliable data available for the end user, irrespective of their situation, position, and time in space.

However, the manufacturing of RF system, especially a steerable front-end antenna design at millimeter spectrum, is a challenging research-work because it comes with some complex designs, along realization time, and high cost as well as weight. Technically, all these challenges could be addressed up with the use of Additive Manufacturing (AM) which is also known as 3D Printing technology, as discussed by the authors Johan et al. (2016), Fezai et al. (2015), Li et al; (2013) and Kumar, Louzir and Naour (2017). It allows an increased flexibility in the manufacturing of complex product designs such as steerable beamforming and other qualified advanced RF products (waveguides, filters, antenna feed chains, feed for parabolic reflector), array antennas and integrated components. Traditional machining technologies used to manufacture RF products are limited in their ability to produce products with complex shapes. To circumvent this limitation, complex products are often assembled out of many simpler subcomponents. The AM technology will not have such constraints, allowing it to realize the entire designs in one single time-phase which positively impacts mass, cost, realization time, assembly quality and RF performance.

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