XJET 3D prints ceramic antennas to overcome 5G network hurdles

XJET recently announced an installation of their Carmel 1400 additive manufacturing system at the University of Delaware (UDEL), where it will be used to 3D print ceramic antenna technology – Passive Beam Steering – to unlock network applications and more for 5G networks.

While 5G networks are poised to take over existing 3G/4G networks, implementation of the faster network has been challenging because its signals are more sensitive to objects and interferences. This means more antennas have to be in place to maintain connectivity, while it is too expensive to scale up existing antennas. But the capabilities of 3D printing mean it could be a gamechanger to 3D printing high-performing antennas at a cheaper cost.

A research team led by Professor of Electrical Engineering, Mark Mirotznik, had actually developed special software for designing 5G antennas, but it was difficult to manufacture the lens because of its complexity and strict material properties. But XJET’s NanoParticle Jetting (NPJ) technology offered a viable solution, and in one stroke solved their frustrations.

“NPJ is the only process capable of producing the inner walls of each channel with the accuracy and smoothness required to retain wave direction—but in ceramic. XJet’s ceramic is an isotropic, 100 percent density ceramic with the right dielectric constant, which does not ‘absorb’ and weaken the signal. Quite literally, any tiny variation in tolerance could lead to a diversion of the signal to the wrong place, and that couldn’t be afforded,” explained Mirotznik.

Youngstown State University who also had a Carmel 1400 system installed, helped to further support the research by using the same method. The results were similar in terms of density, isotropic properties, and dielectric constants.

XJet's Carmel 1400 NanoParticle Jetting system.
XJet’s Carmel 1400 NanoParticle Jetting system.

“We carried out research to establish the nature and properties of XJet printed Zirconia. This suggested the crystal structure of the prints are nearly even; the dielectric constant is high while the loss tangent is low and are both similar to the value expected from a non-printed crystal,” said Professor Eric MacDonald, Friedman Chair for Manufacturing at YSU.

“This high dielectric constant with low loss opens the potential for 3D printing of a variety of microwave devices including antennas, lenses, and filters. Two simple dielectric resonator antennas were demonstrated with the material, showing that the measured material properties can be used for accurate design of such devices with electromagnetic simulation tools.”

With 5G network expected to bring about a true wireless revolution to support everything imaginable in the world, Hanan Gothait, CEO of XJET, believes that NPJ is well placed to deliver extraordinarily reliable results with their technology to deploy and support a successfully, fully functioning 5G global network.

Learn more about our XJET Carmel AM Systems. You can also contact us via our contact form, email us at info@creatz3d.com, or call +65 6631 8555 for any further inquiries.

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