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Textile-Based Stretchable Microstrip Antenna with Intrinsic Strain Sensing

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journal contribution
posted on 03.05.2021, 14:05 by Fatemeh Nikbakhtnasrabadi, Hatem El Matbouly, Markellos Ntagios, Ravinder Dahiya
This paper presents a textile-based stretchable microstrip patch antenna with intrinsic strain for e-textiles with seamlessly integrated multifunctional devices. Several microstrip antennas have been developed with the patch alone (stretchable up to 40%) or both the patch and the ground plane (stretchable up to 100%) meshed by using rectangular serpentine units. The changes in the resonant frequency of the meshed antennas, as a result of stretching, have been exploited to demonstrate the intrinsic uniaxial strain sensing. The obtained results indicate that resonant frequency decreases linearly with increasing applied strain, suggesting that the designed antennas can also be used as strain sensors with stretchability up to 100% and a sensitivity of 0.25. The results were validated through full-wave electromagnetic simulations and a two-dimensional digital image correlation (DIC) technique to model the antenna deformations during the tensile tests. In terms of stretchability, the meshed textile patch antenna on a solid ground plane showed more than a 2-fold improvement compared to a meshed gold patch antenna, showing a linear frequency shift. As potential applications, we demonstrate the use of a highly deformable fully meshed textile antenna as a strain sensor capable of measuring joint angles of a human limb. To do that, a microwave readout circuit based on RF to DC rectifier was realized. The rectifier obtained a peak conversion efficiency of 71% at 10 dBm input power overload resistor of 3 kΩ.