Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Gokhan Mumcu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Weller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jing Wang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Crane, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Herzig, B.S.E.E.


Tunable, Resonator, X-band, Microstrip, High-power


Radio Frequency (RF) filters are among the key components of today’s multifunctional devices and test equipment. However, the multifuctionality need significantly drives the required filter number and causes large areas to be allocated for filters. To alleviate this issue, over the recent years, reconfigurable filters have been proposed as an attractive alternative. Nevertheless, existing reconfigurable filter technologies demonstrate degraded performances in terms of loss, frequency tunability bandwidth, and power handling capability. This work investigates, for the first time, microfluidic based reconfiguration techniques for implementation of RF bandpass filters. Specifically, microfluidics is shown to provide mechanisms for achieving compact RF bandpass filters that can exhibit low loss, high power handling, and high frequency tunability. First, we present the utilization of liquid metals for realization of a frequency-agile microstrip bandpass filters consisting of broadside coupled split ring resonator (BC-SRR). In this design approach, one of the loops of the BC-SRR is realized from liquid metal to be able to microfluidically change the resonator shape and associated resonance frequency. The filter exhibits a 29% frequency tunable range from 870 MHz to 650 MHz, with insertion loss <3 >dB, over the entire frequency tuning range, for a fractional bandwidth (FBW) of 5%. To the best of our knowledge, this filter design is the first in available literature that shows a continuously frequency reconfigurable microfluidic RF band-pass filter. To overcome the oxidization and lower conductivity issues associated with liquid metals and enhance the frequency tuning range further, subsequently, we introduce a filter design technique in which microfluidically repositionable metallized plates are utilized within microfluidic channels with ultra-thin insulator walls. Specifically, this technique is employed to design a two pole microstrip bandpass filter where microfluidically repositionable metalized plates are used to capacitively load printed open loop resonators. To operate the filter (and control movement of multiple metalized plates) with a single bi-directional micropump unit, a strategically designed meandered microfluidic channel is implemented. The filter exhibits a 50% tuning range (from 1.5 GHz to 0.9 GHz), with an insertion loss15 W input power without the need of thick ground planes and/or heat sinks.