Dipole antennas 3D-printed from conductive thermoplastic filament
Khan, Zahangir; He, Han; Chen, Xiaochen; Virkki, Johanna (2020-09)
09 / 2020
2020 IEEE 8th Electronics System-Integration Technology Conference, ESTC 2020
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Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) of thermoplastics is a flexible and simple 3D printing method. FDM has a variety of adjustable fabrication parameters to modify both the mechanical and electrical properties of the printed structures. However, the use of 3D-printable conductive thermoplastic filaments for electronics manufacturing has so far been quite limited. This type of printing would allow 3D-printed antennas to be efficiently embedded inside 3D-printed structures during the manufacturing process. In this paper, we present prototypes of 3D-printed dipole antennas using a conductive copper-based filament. Despite some initial challenges in the printing process, three types of ultrahigh frequency (UHF) radiofrequency identification (RFID) tag antennas were successfully printed, one of which was a contour pattern and the other two were printed using 100 % antenna patterns. Based on the achieved results, the thickness or printing pattern of the 3D-printed dipole antenna had no major effect on the tag read range. All types of tags showed read ranges of around 0.7-1.1 meters. Further, they were functional throughout the global UHF RFID frequency band (860-960 MHz). These first results are promising, especially when considering the contour type of antenna, which saves a lot of printing material and time.
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