Polydimethylsiloxane-Embedded Conductive Fabric: Characterization and Application for Realization of Robust Passive and Active Flexible Wearable Antennas

Publication Type:
Journal Article
IEEE Access, 2018, 6 pp. 48102 - 48112
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© 2013 IEEE. We present our study on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-embedded conductive fabric, which we propose as a simple yet effective solution to the challenging issue of poor PDMS-metal adhesion, allowing for a relatively easy realization of robust flexible antennas for wearable applications. The method combines the use of conductive fabric as a radiator with PDMS, which acts as the substrate and a protective encapsulation simultaneously. For the first time, a holistic study on the mechanical and electrical properties of the proposed combination of materials is presented thoroughly using a number of fabricated samples. As concept demonstrations, a microstrip patch and a reconfigurable patch antenna are fabricated using the proposed technique to validate the idea. The inclusion of a PDMS-ceramic composite as part of the antenna's substrate, which leads to over 50% reduction in the size compared with a pure PDMS, is also demonstrated to showcase further the versatility of the proposed technique. The fabricated antennas are tested in several wearable scenarios and consistent performance including reconfigurability is obtained even after the antennas are exposed to harsh environments, i.e., extreme bending and machine-washing.
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