Millimeter-Wave Antennas on Flexible Substrates: Roll-to-Roll Reverse-Offset Printing and Probe Station-Based Characterization

Jianfang Zheng

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Upcoming generations of millimeter-wave (mm-wave) communication systems present significant challenges on traditional fabrication paradigms, and the characterization of antennas in such systems. To meet the next generation mm-wave systems requirements, the antenna manufacturing must be low cost, high resolution, and suitable for mass production. Further, characterization method for these antennas must be developed that are compatible with a probe station environment. This dissertation studies roll-to-roll reverse-offset (R2R-RO) printing based fabrication of mm-wave antennas on flexible substrates and investigates the antenna radiation performance characterization methods for mm-wave probe-fed on-wafer antennas. The first part of the dissertation presents the R2R-RO printing technique and its application in the fabrication of mm-wave antennas. Printing technology offers a viable option for mass production. At mm-wave frequencies, the structure feature sizes are on the order of a few 10s of microns making fabrication with conventional printing methods unfeasible. R2R-RO printing enables the fabrication with the resolution of less than 10 µm making it sufficient for the future mm-wave electronics manufacturing. The principle of R2R-RO printing is presented, and a customized design structure is proposed to enable large-area printing. Coplanar waveguide (CPW) and microstrip patch antenna structures are designed and printed with the R2R-RO technique, and measured in a probe station environment. The results demonstrate print ink layer conductivity sufficient for mm-wave antennas. The second part of the dissertation is devoted to the systematic study of methods to quantify antenna radiation performance (gain and radiation pattern). Traditional antenna gain measurement methods require a second antenna to probe the antenna under test (AUT) which substantially increases measurement system complexity and can be impractical in a probe station measurement. The one-antenna gain measurement requires only the AUT and specular conductor plate (reflector). This reduced set of equipment enables characterization of probe-fed antennas in cluttered environments. The effect of reflector size on the measurement is studied with the physical optics (PO) method. A standard gain horn (SGH) and a microstrip patch antenna were measured by the one-antenna gain measurement method with the application of time-gating on frequency domain data. In addition, the antenna gain measurement method is extended to characterize the radiation pattern by adding a rotator to measure gain values at different angles. The radiation pattern and gain of several mm-wave antennas with different designed beam directions were measured by the proposed method in the probe station environment. Good agreement was observed between experiments and simulation.
Translated title of the contributionMillimeter-Wave Antennas on Flexible Substrates: Roll-to-Roll Reverse-Offset Printing and Probe Station-Based Characterization
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Räisänen, Antti, Supervising Professor
  • Taylor, Zachary, Supervising Professor
  • Ala-Laurinaho, Juha, Thesis Advisor
Award date13 Feb 2020
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8931-7
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8932-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • antenna
  • antenna measurement
  • gain
  • millimeter-wave
  • printed electronics
  • radiation pattern
  • roll-to-roll
  • reverse-offset


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