Brennan, Nicholas W (2014-08). A Modular Networked System for Combined Fluidic, Electronic, and Thermal Control of a Multifunctional Reconfigurable Antenna Array. Master's Thesis.
Recent work in the field of reconfigurable antennas has presented a variety of novel approaches to functionalizing antenna structures. In particular, fluidic & microfluidic strategies show promise as next-generation reconfiguration mechanisms to build advanced, highly-reconfigurable antenna designs capable of integration into cognitive wireless systems. In this work, a networked control system is conceptualized and implemented in a modular fashion to provide centralized control of an antenna array composed of such reconfigurable elements. A fluidic-controlled tri-band polarization & frequency reconfigurable antenna (TBPFRA) design|utilizing multiple fluid reconfiguration systems-is explored as a target design for control. An electronically polarization-reconfigurable antenna (EPRA) design is implemented and multifunctionalized with a thermoregulation system. The array control system is implemented on a seven element testbed platform with the multifunctional EPRA design. The assembled testbed system is then used to demonstrate a variety of cognitive antenna techniques, including beam steering and direction-of-arrival estimation. Finally, a novel method of raster-based infrared signaling is explored, and a proof-of-concept is demonstrated with the multifunctional array testbed.