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The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has awarded Sciperio, a Florida-based research group, Phase II funding to develop 3D printed phased array antennas.
Established in 1996, Sciperio is an R&D company specializing in various fields such as bioengineering and wireless communication devices.
Project - Sciperio - Factory - Tool - FiT
For the latest project, Sciperio will use the Factory in a Tool (FiT) system to manufacture custom-shaped antennas for UAVs and aircraft. The FiT platform was developed by Sciperio for its Florida-based spin-off nScrypt.
A small size phased array antenna. Image via nScrypt.
Radars - Waves - Waves - Size - Pattern
Radars communicate with each other through electromagnetic waves. Such waves are uniform in size with a circular pattern and travel in all directions. As the pattern is wide and uncontrolled, it could easily lead to communication interference, as other devices in the vicinity may also be producing electromagnetic waves.
In contrast to the circular wave pattern is the phased array antenna. This sends signals using a narrow and focused beam of electromagnetic waves. For military and air force applications phased array antennas are more reliable for secure communication.
Case - Antenna - Beam - Antennas - Problems
However, generally, it is the case that the bigger the antenna the narrower the beam is. But large-sized antennas come with their own problems such as the increase in size and weight of a vehicle or aircraft they are mounted onto.
The FiT system
NScrypt - FiT - System - US - Army
nScrypt’s FiT system which the U.S. Army has utilized in the past, has shown the ability to counter the problem of large unwieldy radar antennas. The FiT system is a multiple tool head manufacturing machine which can extrude, dispense, and mill to manufacture electronics.
It is described as a machine that, “digitally fabricates anything from 2D and 3D printed circuit structures (PCS) to biological structures and can be used almost anywhere...
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