Dynamically and Controllably Reconfigurable Antennas through Physical Deformation Processes

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Funding Opportunity ID: 310373
Opportunity Number: FA9550-19-S-0001
Opportunity Title: Dynamically and Controllably Reconfigurable Antennas through Physical Deformation Processes
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Category of Funding Activity: Science and Technology and other Research and Development
Category Explanation:
CFDA Number(s): 12.800
Eligible Applicants: Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Private institutions of higher education
Additional Information on Eligibility:
Agency Code: DOD-AFOSR
Agency Name: Department of Defense
Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Posted Date: Nov 15, 2018
Close Date: Jan 18, 2019
Last Updated Date: Nov 15, 2018
Award Ceiling: $4,800,000
Award Floor: $1
Estimated Total Program Funding:
Expected Number of Awards: 1
Description: The Air Force and the Department of Defense have need for deployable, reconfigurable, multifunctional antennas. They must be versatile, mechanically sound, and have predictable and reproducible properties. Physical reconfigurability is an especially effective means to enable such antennas. A goal is for these antennas to achieve in each configuration properties and performance over time equivalent to those of static, single-function antennas.Current approaches and capabilities do not allow for multiple-conformation, physically reconfigurable antennas to be realized fully. This research topic seeks novel approaches for physically reconfigurable hardware to complement software approaches to manipulating and adapting on-the-fly Radio Frequency (RF) properties through means of folding, deforming, and electromagnetic tuning. The end products of this approach are to be antennas and possibly other front-end RF components that provide significantly enhanced and adaptable electromagnetic capabilities compared to current devices. Mechanisms of physical reconfigurability can include, but are not limited to, approaches utilizing origami and kirigami designs. Potential applications for military use include expandable antennas for satellite communications, physically reconfigurable antennas for air platforms, and collapsible antennas that can benefit ground personnel by reducing weight and size.Reconfigurable antennas should be able to provide tunability in waveform, polarization, direction, and frequency.Proposals are sought from academic institutions capable of research that will lead to advances in science and technology that can yield potentially transformational impacts. This topic requires multidisciplinary research in design, stimuli-response reconfiguration, mechanical and structural characterization, and electromagnetic measurement and optimization. Various inputs to the antennas may be useful, including feedback loops for autonomous systems that self-regulate and fold intelligently based on external stimuli. Consideration should be given to properties over time, including effects of repeated actuation, and in various environments.In many cases, the material systems in these antennas and components may be new to the RF community. These materials systems must be characterized and understood well. The materials systems must be suitable for manufacturing deployable antennas and other components. Full characterization of antenna concepts is critical to showing deviation from theory and effectively moving towards viable solutions that go beyond simplistic predictions to real-world systems. Real-time measurement of antenna parameters and antenna-related structures during physical reconfiguration should be addressed and discussed. Of paramount importance is precise measurement of the electromagnetic properties of the antennas, in the various configurations into which they can be programmed. Advanced design and manufacturing techniques that are changing the landscape of the possible, including but not limited to surface topology optimization algorithms and additive manufacturing, are within the scope of this effort. Anticipated Resources: One award of approximately $4.8M to a university for a project of duration of up to five (5) years is anticipated, although additional funding and awards may be possible. Subawards to partner institutions are allowed.
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