Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Thomas Weller, Ph.D.


Patch, Slot-coupled, Array, Beam steering, Folded flex


A novel approach to miniaturizing an 802.11b WLAN card using folded-flex ultra-thin substrates is presented. A 73 percent reduction in size was realized using hybrid circuits on FR4 and polyimide. There is even more potential for further reduction if more copper layers are used. The miniaturized 802.11b WLAN cards were used to design 802.11b wireless sensor nodes. A research test-bed was setup to study how 802.11b networked sensor nodes could operate in the field. There are many applications for such sensor networks like habitat monitoring, object tracking, seismic detection, military surveillance, or fire detection to name a few. This investigation focuses on the requirements, design, and performance of a miniaturized 802.11b wireless LAN sensor node that is reliable, can be deployed in large-scale, and has the endurance long-lived for surveillance applications. An aperture coupled microstrip antenna is investigated for 2.44 GHz wireless local area networks (WLAN) which has the advantages of being low-profile and compact. The most important parameters for antenna optimization have been determined through extensive simulation using Ansoft's HFSS and experimental verification. As a result, an omnidirectional antenna with a size of 36.2 mm x 32 mm x 4.75 mm has been realized using Rogers 5880 duroid (permittivity = 2.20 ; loss tangent = 0.0004) with 4.4 dBi of gain, > 80 MHz, and a return loss > -32 dB. These types of performance characteristics make the antenna highly desirable for both 802.11b and Bluetooth applications.