Craig Armiento1 2 Alkim Akyurtlu1 2

1, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, United States
2, Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute, Lowell, Massachusetts, United States

Applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT), flexible radars and 5G telecommunications will require new forms of electronics in the microwave and millimeter frequency domains. These applications may require form factors other than planar, rigid printed circuit boards, namely electronics that are flexible, conformable, wearable or embedded in 3D objects. Printed electronics is an additive manufacturing approach that uses electronic materials to fabricate circuits directly from CAD files. This emerging technology requires development of new electronic materials in the form of printable inks or filaments. This talk will describe research on application of conductive and dielectric inks to printed electronics, including the challenges of using these new electronic materials. These challenges include material characterizion at frequencies up to 30 GHz, printability, and thermal processing. In addition, a novel ferroelectric ink, developed to print varactors and phase shifters for steerable antenna arrays and frequency-agile systems, will be discussed. This ferroelectric ink can be tailored to have a relative permittivity (er) as high as 55 with a very low loss tangent (~10-3) and a capacitance tunability up to 10% at microwave frequencies. The use of this novel material to print varactors and phase shifters (required for flexible, conformable radar systems) will be described.