RF Systems on Antenna (SoA): a Novel Integration Approach Enabled by Additive Manufacturing

This paper introduces for the first time, the novel concept of the system-on-antenna (SoA) which incorporates the ideas behind system-on-chip (SoC), system-on-package (SoP) and on-chip/package antennas, to create a new generation of fully integrated RF modules. This concept is only achievable using additive manufacturing, which is a rapid, on-demand and low cost fabrication technology. Instead of wasting valuable wafer or packaging area to create antennas, a novel method using 3D and inkjet-printing was utilized to embed a Ku-band radar module into a 10dBi horn antenna. The uniqueness of this system, lies in the fact that SoA topologies can be easily fabricated using additive manufacuturing, but unfeasible utilizing traditional fabrication techniques. This design methodology allows antennas to be compactly integrated within RF modules and sets the foundation for on-demand customizable SoA modules for a multitude of applications ranging from 5G+ and IoT to implanted medical and wearable applications