Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Thomas M. Weller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kenneth Church, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Crane, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gokhan Mumcu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jing Wang, Ph.D.


3D-printing, Dipole, Picosecond laser machining, Quality factor, Array, Non-planar, Capacitively-loaded cavity, Evanescent-mode, Stacked structure, Vertically Coupled


The need for miniaturized, and high performance microwave devices has focused significant attention onto new fabrication technologies that can simultaneously achieve high performance and low manufacturing complexity. Additive manufacturing (AM) has proven its capability in fabricating high performance, compact and light weight microwave circuits and antennas, as well as the ability to achieve designs that are complicated to fabricate using other manufacturing approaches. Direct print additive manufacturing (DPAM) is an emerging AM process that combines the fused deposition modeling (FDM) of thermoplastics with micro-dispensing of conductive and insulating pastes. DPAM has the potential to jointly combine high performance and low manufacturing complexity, along with the possibility of real-time tuning.

This dissertation aims to leverage the powerful capabilities of DPAM to come-up with new designs and solutions that meet the requirements of rapidly evolving wireless systems and applications. Furthermore, the work in this dissertation provides new techniques and approaches to alleviate the drawbacks and limitations of DPAM fabrication technology. Firstly, the development of 3D packaged antenna, and antenna array are presented along with an analysis of the inherent roughness of 3D printed structures to provide a deeper understanding of the antenna RF performance. The single element presents a new volumetric approach to realizing a 3D half-wave dipole in a packaged format, where it provides the ability to keep a signal distribution network in close proximity to the ground plane, facilitating the implementation of ground connections (e.g. for an active device), mitigating potential surface wave losses, as well as achieving a modest (10.6%) length reduction. In addition, a new approach of implementing conformal antennas using DPAM is presented by printing thin and flexible substrate that can be adhered to 3D structures to facilitate the fabrication and reduce the surface roughness. The array design leverages direct digital manufacturing (DDM) technology to realize a shaped substrate structure that is used to control the array beamwidth. The non-planar substrate allows the element spacing to be changed without affecting the length of the feed network or the distance to the underlying ground plane.

The second part describes the first high-Q capacitively-loaded cavity resonator and filter that is compatible with direct print additive manufacturing. The presented design is a compromise between quality factor, cost and manufacturing complexity and to the best of our knowledge is the highest Q-factor resonator demonstrated to date using DPAM compatible materials and processes. The final version of the single resonator achieves a measured unloaded quality factor of 200-325 over the frequency range from 2.0 to 6.5 GHz. The two pole filter is designed using a coupled-resonator approach to operate at 2.44 GHz with 1.9% fractional bandwidth. The presented design approach simplifies evanescent-mode filter fabrication, eliminating the need for micromachining and vias, and achieving a total weight of 1.97 g. The design is fabricated to provide a proof-of-principle for the high-Q resonator and filter that compromises between performance, cost, size, and complexity. A stacked version of the two-pole filter is presented to provide a novel design for multi-layer embedded applications.

The fabrication is performed using an nScrypt Tabletop 3Dn printer. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) (relative permittivity of 2.7 and loss tangent of 0.008) is deposited using fused deposition modeling to form the antenna, array, resonator, and filter structures, and Dupont CB028 silver paste is used to form the conductive traces conductive regions (the paste is dried at 90 °C for 60 minutes, achieving a bulk DC conductivity of 1.5×106 S/m.). A 1064 nm pulsed picosecond Nd:YAG laser is used to laser machine the resonator and filter input and output feedlines.