WIMS Seminar

Enabling Materials for Antenna Miniaturization

Professor Leo Kempel

Assistant Professor – ECE Dept.
Michigan State University
Abstract: One challenging aspect of the Wireless Integrated Microsystems program involves the design of efficient apertures for wireless connectivity. Traditional resonant antennas are typically half a wavelength in the critical dimensions and have relatively narrow bandwidth. For L-band (1-2 GHz) or S-band (2-4 GHz) communication, this corresponds to an antenna dimension in free-space of up to 15 cm, well over the dimensions that can be accommodated by a system that occupies only one cubic centimeter of space. Miniaturization can be accommodated by design (to some extent) and by material loading. Unfortunately, both approaches tend to lead to a reduction in both antenna efficiency (how well the wave is de-coupled from the antenna to a space wave) and bandwidth. Wide bandwidth apertures are desirable to increase the speed of communication.
It is necessary to look to new, revolutionary approaches to antenna miniaturization. Modern material science synthesis techniques as well as a better understanding of material/field interactions lead us to visit the problem of material design. In concert with colleagues in Material Science, Chemical Engineering, and Polymer Chemistry, Michigan State University has been investigating design methods, property characterization techniques, and applications of RF Polymers. Our collaborations are being conducted within academia, with industrial concerns, and with Government researchers. These engineered materials are polymer nanocomposites consisting of a polymer binder with one or more inclusion designed to tailor the bulk electric and magnetic properties of the material at RF frequencies (loosely defined as 30 MHz to 100 GHz).

This seminar will discuss the role of RF polymers in antenna design, the assessment efforts being conducted by MSU and others, projected performance, and outlook for the future including research challenges.

Bio: Leo C. Kempel (S/89-M’94-SM’99) was born in Akron, OH, in October 1965. He earned his B.S.E.E. at the University of Cincinnati in 1989 as well as the M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Michigan in 1990 and 1994, respectively.

After a brief Post-Doctoral appointment at the University of Michigan, Dr. Kempel joined Mission Research Corporation in 1994 as a Senior Research Engineer. He led several projects involving the design of conformal antennas, computational electromagnetics, scattering analysis, and high power/ultrawideband microwaves. He joined Michigan State University in 1998 where he is conducting research in computational electromagnetics and electromagnetic materials characterization, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in electromagnetics, and supervising the research of several M.S. and Ph.D. students. Prof. Kempel’s current research interests include computational electromagnetics, conformal antennas, microwave/millimeter wave materials, mixed-signal electromagnetic interference techniques, and measurement techniques. Prof. Kempel has been awarded a CAREER award by the National Science Foundation and the Teacher-Scholar award by Michigan State University in 2002. He also received the MSU College of Engineering’s Withrow Distinguished Scholar (Junior Faculty) Award in 2001. He is a Senior Scientist with Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Coatings and Laser Applications located at MSU.

Sponsored by

WIMS ERC Seminar Series