Recent Submissions

  • Iron Oxide Nanoparticle-Based Magnetic Ink Development for Fully Printed Tunable Radio-Frequency Devices

    Vaseem, Mohammad; Ghaffar, Farhan A.; Farooqui, Muhammad Fahad; Shamim, Atif (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018-01-30)
    The field of printed electronics is still in its infancy and most of the reported work is based on commercially available nanoparticle-based metallic inks. Although fully printed devices that employ dielectric/semiconductor inks have recently been reported, there is a dearth of functional inks that can demonstrate controllable devices. The lack of availability of functional inks is a barrier to the widespread use of fully printed devices. For radio-frequency electronics, magnetic materials have many uses in reconfigurable components but rely on expensive and rigid ferrite materials. A suitable magnetic ink can facilitate the realization of fully printed, magnetically controlled, tunable devices. This report presents the development of an iron oxide nanoparticle-based magnetic ink. First, a tunable inductor is fully printed using iron oxide nanoparticle-based magnetic ink. Furthermore, iron oxide nanoparticles are functionalized with oleic acid to make them compatible with a UV-curable SU8 solution. Functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles are successfully embedded in the SU8 matrix to make a magnetic substrate. The as-fabricated substrate is characterized for its magnetostatic and microwave properties. A frequency tunable printed patch antenna is demonstrated using the magnetic and in-house silver-organo-complex inks. This is a step toward low-cost, fully printed, controllable electronic components.
  • Live demonstration: Screen printed, microwave based level sensor for automated drug delivery

    Karimi, Muhammad Akram; Arsalan, Muhammad; Shamim, Atif (IEEE, 2018-01-02)
    Level sensors find numerous applications in many industries to automate the processes involving chemicals. Recently, some commercial ultrasound based level sensors are also being used to automate the drug delivery process [1]. Some of the most desirable features of level sensors to be used for medical use are their non-intrusiveness, low cost and consistent performance. In this demo, we will present a completely new method of sensing the liquid level using microwaves. It is a common stereotype to consider microwaves sensing mechanism as being expensive. Unlike usual expensive, intrusive and bulky microwave methods of level sensing using guided radars, we will present an extremely low cost printed, non-intrusive microwave sensor to reliably sense the liquid level.
  • A wearable 3D motion sensing system integrated with a Bluetooth smart phone application: A system level overview

    Karimi, Muhammad Akram; Shamim, Atif (IEEE, 2018-01-02)
    An era of ubiquitous motion sensing has just begun. All electronic gadgets ranging from game consoles to mobile phones have some sort of motion sensors in them. In contrast to rigid motion sensing systems, this paper presents a system level description of a wearable 3D motion sensor. The sensing mechanism is based upon well-established magnetic and inertial measurement unit (MIMU), which integrates accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer data. Two sensor boards have been integrated within a wearable arm sleeve to capture 3D orientation of the human arm. The sensors have been interfaced with a Bluetooth transceiver chip, which transmits data to a mobile phone app using standard Bluetooth protocol. An android mobile phone app has been developed to display the human arm motion in real time.
  • 3D printed System-on-Package (SoP) for environmental sensing and localization applications

    Zhen, Su; Bilal, Rana Muhammad; Shamim, Atif (IEEE, 2017-12-22)
    This paper presents for the first time an innovative 3D printed SoP sensor node with temperature, pressure and humidity sensing capabilities. It has an integrated wireless readout through a near isotropic (900MHz) GSM antenna-on-package. This sensor node is connected to the internet for remote monitoring and has the capability of localization. The paper presents the design of antenna-on-package as well as details of the communication and localization system. Fabrication challenges unique to 3D printing and integration of electronics on 3D printed circuit board are also discussed. Finally, the paper presents measurement results of antenna radiation pattern, return loss, localization accuracy and accuracy of sensing parameters.
  • Physically Connected Stacked Patch Antenna Design with 100% Bandwidth

    Klionovski, Kirill; Shamim, Atif (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2017-11-01)
    Typically, stacked patch antennas are parasitically coupled and provide larger bandwidth than a single patch antenna. Here, we show a stacked patch antenna design where square patches with semi-circular cutouts are physically connected to each other. This arrangement provides 100% bandwidth from 23.9–72.2 GHz with consistent high gain (5 dBi or more) across the entire bandwidth. In another variation, a single patch loaded with a superstrate provides 83.5% bandwidth from 25.6–62.3 GHz. The mechanism of bandwidth enhancement is explained through electromagnetic simulations. Measured reflection coefficient, radiation patterns and gain results confirm the extremely wideband performance of the design.
  • Back radiation suppression through a semi-transparent round ground plane for a mm-Wave monopole antenna

    Klionovski, Kirill; Farooqui, Muhammad Fahad; Shamim, Atif (IEEE, 2017-10-25)
    Omnidirectional radiation pattern with minimum backward radiation is highly desirable for millimeter-wave telecommunication antennas. In this work, we propose a round, semitransparent ground plane of radius 0.8λ with uniform impedance distribution that can reduce the back radiation of a monopole antenna by 8.8 dB as compared with a similar sized metallic ground plane. The value of uniform impedance is obtained through analytical optimization by using asymptotic expressions in the Kirchhoff approximation of the radiation pattern of a toroidal wave scattered by a round semitransparent ground plane. The semitransparent ground plane has been realized using a low-cost carbon paste on a Kapton film. Experimental results match closely with those of simulations and validate the overall concept.
  • 5G antenna array with wide-angle beam steering and dual linear polarizations

    Klionovski, Kirill; Shamim, Atif; Sharawi, Mohammad Said (IEEE, 2017-10-25)
    In this paper, we present the design of a switched-beam antenna array at millimeter-wave frequencies for future 5G applications. The proposed antenna array is based on wideband patch antenna elements and a Butler matrix feed network. The patch antenna has a broad radiation pattern for wide-angle beam steering and allows the simultaneous operation with two orthogonal linear polarizations. A combination of two separated Butler matrices provides independent beam steering for both polarizations in the wide operating band. The antenna array has a simple multilayer construction, and it is made on a low-cost Rogers laminate.
  • A 3D printed dual GSM band near isotropic on-package antenna

    Zhen, Su; Shamim, Atif (IEEE, 2017-10-25)
    In this paper, we propose an on-package dual band monopole antenna with near-isotropic radiation pattern for GSM mobile applications. The proposed antenna is well matched for both GSM 900 and 1800 bands and provides decent gain for both the bands (1.67 and 3.27 dBi at 900 MHz and 1800 MHz respectively). The antenna is printed with silver ink on a 3D printed polymer based package. The package houses the GSM electronics and the battery. By optimizing the antenna arms width and length, a near-isotropic radiation pattern is achieved. Unlike the published isotropic antennas which are either single band or large in size, the proposed antenna covers both GSM bands with required bandwidth and is only half wavelength long. The design is low cost and highly suitable for various GSM applications such as localization, in additional to conventional communication applications.
  • A low-cost, orientation-insensitive microwave water-cut sensor printed on a pipe surface

    Karimi, Muhammad Akram; Arsalan, Muhammad; Shamim, Atif (IEEE, 2017-10-24)
    This paper presents a novel and contactless water fraction (also known as water cut) measurement technique, which is independent of geometric distribution of oil and water inside the pipe. The sensor is based upon a modified dual helical stub resonators implemented directly on the pipe's outer surface and whose resonance frequency decreases by increasing the water content in oil. The E-fields have been made to rotate and distribute well inside the pipe, despite having narrow and curved ground plane. It makes the sensor's reading dependent only on the water fraction and not on the mixture distribution inside the pipe. That is why, the presented design does not require any flow conditioner to homogenize the oil/water mixture unlike many commercial WC sensors. The presented sensor has been realized by using extremely low cost methods of screen-printing and reusable 3D printed mask. Complete characterization of the proposed WC sensor, both in horizontal and vertical orientations, has been carried out in an industrial flow loop. Excellent repeatability of the sensor's response has been observed under different flow conditions. The measured performance results of the sensor show full range accuracy of ±2-3% while tested under random orientations and wide range of flow rates.
  • A low cost, printed microwave based level sensor with integrated oscillator readout circuitry

    Karimi, Muhammad Akram; Arsalan, Muhammad; Shamim, Atif (IEEE, 2017-10-24)
    This paper presents an extremely low cost, tube conformable, printed T-resonator based microwave level sensor, whose resonance frequency shifts by changing the level of fluids inside the tube. Printed T-resonator forms the frequency selective element of the tunable oscillator. Unlike typical band-pass resonators, T-resonator has a band-notch characteristics because of which it has been integrated with an unstable amplifying unit having negative resistance in the desired frequency range. Magnitude and phase of input reflection coefficient of the transistor has been optimized over the desired frequency range. Phase flattening technique has been introduced to maximize the frequency shift of the oscillator. With the help of this technique, we were able to enhance the percentage tuning of the oscillator manifolds which resulted into a level sensor with higher sensitivity. The interface level of fluids (oil and water in our case) causes a relative change in oscillation frequency by more than 50% compared to maximum frequency shift of 8% reported earlier with dielectric tunable oscillators.
  • Design and Dynamic Characterization of an Orientation Insensitive Microwave Water-Cut Sensor

    Karimi, Muhammad Akram; Arsalan, Muhammad; Shamim, Atif (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2017-06-12)
    Modern reservoir management in oil and gas industry relies on accurate water fraction measurement which is produced as a by-product with oil. This paper presents a novel and contactless water fraction (also known as water-cut) measurement technique which is independent of geometric distribution of oil and water inside the pipe. The sensor is based on a modified T-resonator implemented directly on the pipe's outer surface and whose resonance frequency decreases by increasing the water content in oil. The E-fields have been made to rotate and distribute well inside the pipe, despite having narrow and curved ground plane. It makes the sensor's reading dependent only on the water fraction and not on the mixture distribution inside the pipe. That is why, the presented design does not require any flow conditioner to homogenize the oil/water mixture unlike many commercial water-cut (WC) sensors. The presented sensor has been realized by using extremely low-cost methods of screen printing and reusable 3-D printed mask. Complete characterization of the proposed WC sensor, both in horizontal and vertical orientations, has been carried out in an industrial flow loop. Excellent repeatability of the sensor's response has been observed in 'dispersed bubble' as well as in 'stratified wavy' flow regimes. The performance test of the sensor confirms that the water fraction measurement is independent of the flow pattern, flow rate or orientation. The measured performance results of the sensor show full range accuracy of $± $2%-3% while tested under random orientations and wide range of flow rates.
  • Design methodology of single-feed compact near-isotropic antenna design

    Su, Zhen; Ghaffar, Farhan A.; Farooqui, Muhammad Fahad; Bilal, Rana Muhammad; Shamim, Atif (IEEE, 2017-06-07)
    The abundance of mobile wireless devices is giving rise to a new paradigm known as Internet of Things. In this paradigm, wireless devices will be everywhere and communicating with each other. Since they will be oriented randomly in the environment, they should be able to communicate equally in all directions in order to have stable communication link. Hence, compact near isotropic antennas are required, which can enable orientation insensitive communication. In this paper, we propose a simple design methodology to design a compact near-isotropic wire antenna based on equal vector potentials. As a proof of concept, a quarter wavelength monopole antennas has been designed that is wrapped on a 3D-printed box keeping the vector potentials in three orthogonal different directions equal. By optimizing the dimension of the antenna arms, a nearly isotropic radiation pattern is thus achieved. The results show that the antenna has a maximum gain of 2.2dBi at 900 MHz with gain derivation of 9.4dB.
  • A wearable tracking device inkjet-printed on textile

    Krykpayev, Bauyrzhan; Farooqui, Muhammad Fahad; Bilal, Rana Muhammad; Vaseem, Mohammad; Shamim, Atif (Elsevier BV, 2017-05-20)
    Despite the abundance of localization applications, the tracking devices have never been truly realized in E-textiles. Standard printed circuit board (PCB)-based devices are obtrusive and rigid and hence not suitable for textile based implementations. An attractive option would be direct printing of circuit layout on the textile itself, negating the use of rigid PCB materials. However, high surface roughness and porosity of textiles prevents efficient and reliable printing of electronics on textile. In this work, by printing an interface layer on the textile first, a complete localization circuit integrated with an antenna has been inkjet-printed on the textile for the first time. Printed conductive traces were optimized in terms of conductivity and resolution by controlling the number of over-printed layers. The tracking device determines the wearer's position using WiFi and this information can be displayed on any internet-enabled device, such as smart phone. The device is compact (55mm×45mm) and lightweight (22g with 500mAh battery) for people to comfortably wear it and can be easily concealed in case discretion is required. The device operates at 2.4GHz communicated up to a distance of 55m, with localization accuracy of up to 8m.
  • Inkjet-printed thin film radio-frequency capacitors based on sol-gel derived alumina dielectric ink

    McKerricher, Garret; Maller, Robert; Vaseem, Mohammad; McLachlan, Martyn A.; Shamim, Atif (Elsevier BV, 2017-05-03)
    There has been significant interest in printing radio frequency passives, however the dissipation factor of printed dielectric materials has limited the quality factor achievable. Al2O3 is one of the best and widely implemented dielectrics for RF passive electronics. The ability to spatially pattern high quality Al2O3 thin films using, for example, inkjet printing would tremendously simplify the incumbent fabrication processes – significantly reducing cost and allowing for the development of large area electronics. To-date, particle based Al2O3 inks have been explored as dielectrics, although several drawbacks including nozzle clogging and grain boundary formation in the films hinder progress. In this work, a particle free Al2O3 ink is developed and demonstrated in RF capacitors. Fluid and jetting properties are explored, along with control of ink spreading and coffee ring suppression. The liquid ink is heated to 400 °C decomposing to smooth Al2O3 films ~120 nm thick, with roughness of <2 nm. Metal-insulator-metal capacitors, show high capacitance density >450 pF/mm2, and quality factors of ~200. The devices have high break down voltages, >25 V, with extremely low leakage currents, <2×10−9 A/cm2 at 1 MV/cm. The capacitors compare well with similar Al2O3 devices fabricated by atomic layer deposition.
  • Dynamic Characterization of a Low Cost Microwave Water-Cut Sensor in a Flow Loop

    Karimi, Muhammad Akram; Arsalan, Muhammad; Shamim, Atif (Elsevier BV, 2017-03-31)
    Inline precise measurement of water fraction in oil (i.e. water-cut [WC]) finds numerous applications in oil and gas industry. This paper presents the characterization of an extremely low cost, completely non-intrusive and full range microwave water-cut sensor based upon pipe conformable microwave T-resonator. A 10″ microwave stub based T-resonator has been implemented directly on the pipe surface whose resonance frequency changes in the frequency band of 90MHz–190MHz (111%) with changing water fraction in oil. The designed sensor is capable of detecting even small changes in WC with a resolution of 0.07% at low WC and 0.5% WC at high WC. The performance of the microwave WC sensor has been tested in an in-house flow loop. The proposed WC sensor has been characterized over full water-cut range (0%–100%) not only in vertical but also in horizontal orientation. The sensor has shown predictable response in both orientations with huge frequency shift. Moreover, flow rate effect has also been investigated on the proposed WC sensor’s performance and it has been found that the sensor’s repeatability is within 2.5% WC for variable flow rates.
  • Fully inkjet-printed microwave passive electronics

    McKerricher, Garret; Vaseem, Mohammad; Shamim, Atif (Springer Nature, 2017-01-30)
    Fully inkjet-printed three-dimensional (3D) objects with integrated metal provide exciting possibilities for on-demand fabrication of radio frequency electronics such as inductors, capacitors, and filters. To date, there have been several reports of printed radio frequency components metallized via the use of plating solutions, sputtering, and low-conductivity pastes. These metallization techniques require rather complex fabrication, and do not provide an easily integrated or versatile process. This work utilizes a novel silver ink cured with a low-cost infrared lamp at only 80 °C, and achieves a high conductivity of 1×107 S m−1. By inkjet printing the infrared-cured silver together with a commercial 3D inkjet ultraviolet-cured acrylic dielectric, a multilayer process is demonstrated. By using a smoothing technique, both the conductive ink and dielectric provide surface roughness values of <500 nm. A radio frequency inductor and capacitor exhibit state-of-the-art quality factors of 8 and 20, respectively, and match well with electromagnetic simulations. These components are implemented in a lumped element radio frequency filter with an impressive insertion loss of 0.8 dB at 1 GHz, proving the utility of the process for sensitive radio frequency applications.
  • A ferrite nano-particles based fully printed process for tunable microwave components

    Ghaffar, Farhan A.; Vaseem, Mohammad; Farooqui, Muhammad Fahad; Shamim, Atif (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2016-08-15)
    With the advent of nano-particles based metallic inks, inkjet printing emerged as an attractive medium for fast prototyping as well as for low cost and flexible electronics. However, at present, it is limited to printing of metallic inks on conventional microwave substrates. For fully printed designs, ideally, the substrate must also be printed. In this work, we demonstrate a fully printed process utilizing a custom Fe2O3 based magnetic ink for functional substrate printing and a custom silver-organo-complex (SOC) ink for metal traces printing. Due to the magnetic nature of the ink, this process is highly suitable for tunable microwave components. The printed magnetic substrate is characterized for the magnetostatic as well as microwave properties. The measured B(H) curve shows a saturation magnetization and remanence of 1560 and 350 Gauss respectively. As a proof of concept, a patch antenna is implemented in the proposed stack up which shows a tuning range of 4 % around the center frequency. © 2016 IEEE.
  • A low cost and pipe conformable microwave-based water-cut sensor

    Karimi, Muhammad Akram; Arsalan, Muhammad; Shamim, Atif (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2016-08-15)
    Efficient oil production and refining processes require the precise measurement of water content in oil (i.e., water-cut [WC]) which is extracted during oil production as a by-product. Traditional laboratory water fraction measurements are precise but incapable of providing real-time information, while recently reported inline WC measurements are either incapable of sensing the full WC range (0-100%), restricted to a limited selection of pipe sizes, bulky, intrusive or extremely expensive. This work presents a novel planar microwave sensor for entirely non-intrusive in situ WC sensing over the full range of operation. Its planar configuration has enabled the direct implementation of this sensor on the pipe surface using two low cost methods i.e. copper tape and 3D printed mask. The innovative ground plane design makes this WC sensor usable for the wide range of pipe sizes present in the oil industry. The viability of this sensor has been confirmed through EM simulations as well as through characterization of two types of prototype. The proposed design offers very fine resolution due to its wide sensing range (>110%) in the frequency band of 90-190MHz and repeatability of 0.1%.
  • Low Cost and Pipe Conformable Microwave-Based Water-Cut Sensor

    Karimi, Muhammad Akram; Arsalan, Muhammad; Shamim, Atif (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2016-08-11)
    Efficient oil production and refining processes require the precise measurement of water content in oil. This paper presents a novel planar microwave sensor for entirely non-intrusive in situ water cut (WC) sensing over the full range of operation, i.e., 0%-100%. A planar configuration has enabled the direct implementation of WC sensor on the pipe surface using low cost method, i.e., screen printing using 3D printed mask. Modified ground plane-based T-resonator design makes this WC sensor usable for the wide range of pipe sizes present in the oil industry. The viability of this sensor has been confirmed through electromagnetic simulations as well as through a prototype characterization. Two cases of oil and water mixtures, namely, separate phases and homogeneous mix, have been studied. Measurements performed over two independently built prototypes show the root mean square variation in results of only 0.1%.
  • Comparison of capacitive and radio frequency resonator sensors for monitoring parallelized droplet microfluidic production

    Conchouso Gonzalez, David; McKerricher, Garret; Carreno, Armando Arpys Arevalo; Castro, David; Shamim, Atif; Foulds, Ian G. (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2016-06-28)
    Scaled-up production of microfluidic droplets, through the parallelization of hundreds of droplet generators, has received a lot of attention to bring novel multiphase microfluidics research to industrial applications. However, apart from droplet generation, other significant challenges relevant to this goal have never been discussed. Examples include monitoring systems, high-throughput processing of droplets and quality control procedures among others. In this paper, we present and compare capacitive and radio frequency (RF) resonator sensors as two candidates that can measure the dielectric properties of emulsions in microfluidic channels. By placing several of these sensors in a parallelization device, the stability of the droplet generation at different locations can be compared, and potential malfunctions can be detected. This strategy enables for the first time the monitoring of scaled-up microfluidic droplet production. Both sensors were prototyped and characterized using emulsions with droplets of 100-150 μm in diameter, which were generated in parallelization devices at water-in-oil volume fractions (φ) between 11.1% and 33.3%.Using these sensors, we were able to measure accurately increments as small as 2.4% in the water volume fraction of the emulsions. Although both methods rely on the dielectric properties of the emulsions, the main advantage of the RF resonator sensors is the fact that they can be designed to resonate at multiple frequencies of the broadband transmission line. Consequently with careful design, two or more sensors can be parallelized and read out by a single signal. Finally, a comparison between these sensors based on their sensitivity, readout cost and simplicity, and design flexibility is also discussed. © 2016 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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