Manufacturability Study for Flexible Printed RF Elements
Award last edited on: 9/8/22

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Richard L Fink

Company Information

Applied Nanotech Inc (AKA: Schmidt Instruments Inc~SI Diamond Technology Inc~Applied Nanotech Inc~NNPP~Nano~Applied Nanotech Inc~Applied Nanotech Holdings)

3006 Longhorn Boulevard Suite 107
Austin, TX 78758
   (512) 339-5020
Location: Single
Congr. District: 37
County: Travis

Phase I

Contract Number: HQ0860-21-C-7003
Start Date: 12/28/20    Completed: 6/30/21
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Printing flexible or conformal electronics is becoming mature. What has not been well explored, and is required before this technology is ready for full adoption into the Missile Defense Agency or other DoD customers is a precise understanding of the effect of additive manufacturing on antenna, waveguide, and ground plane elements for flexible and conformable applications. Specifically, defects introduced as a result of additive manufacturing, or as a result of flexing or conforming the shape to weapons systems are unknown. We will systematically study this for systems scalable between the L and Ku bands in a variety of ink and substrate combinations. Our team’s combination of expertise, facilities & equipment, and strong relationship with prim defense contractors strongly recommends funding this proposed effort. Approved for Public Release | 20-MDA-10643 (3 Dec 20

Phase II

Contract Number: HQ0860-22-C-7114
Start Date: 5/5/22    Completed: 5/4/24
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
Significant effort has been expended into the advancement of flexible, additively manufactured (AM) electronic systems. Less well studied are the effects of additively manufactured RF elements such as antennas, waveguides, and their required interconnects. Primarily, with respect to AM RF elements there is insufficient engineering data to rationally choose the ink materials and substrates and corresponding AM production process to predict the resulting RF and thermal system performance. There is an unmet need for the characterization of the RF performance of additively manufactured antennas and wave guides using additively produced conductors on various flexible substrate types and an unmet need for known-good antenna using only non-destructive characterization. In Phase II, utilizing the materials and techniques developed in Phase I, we will prototype and demonstrate its ability to meet the program requirements defined as (1) Produce test coupons in quantities established in Phase I. (2) Determine void sizes and densities in the material sets test coupons. (3) Conduct a characterization test plan on all test coupons at -40°C, 25°C, and 125°C with power levels of 1W, 25W, and 50W. Traditional evaluation methods such as destructive testing of samples at high power are not applicable due to small batch sizes and inconsistency of performance, so a new evaluation technique is needed. One aim of this project is to produce optimized ink/substrate pairing for optimal printed RF performances, including conformal printing. Another aim of this project is an improved predictive evaluation of AM printed electronic systems using Machine Learning (ML) image classification from optical profilometry output and other non-destructive test methods. Specifically, we focus on fundamental analysis of additive electronics for DC or RF applications. Another aim of this project is to develop temperature-compensating antennas that will lead to more reliable RF performance at higher temperatures encountered in MDA and DOD (e.g., hypersonic) applications. Approved for Public Release | 22-MDA-11102 (22 Mar 2