Microwave bending and prohibiting frequencies with simulated metamaterials

Matthew Palivoda works in his laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Courtesy: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The use of plasma to control microwaves to direct direct energy to a specific point is investigated for their durability in high energy electric fields and their reconfigurable structure. High-power microwave rays, like lasers, can transmit energy at high speeds over long distances, not affected by wind, gravity or other forces. Aerospace engineers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign simulated metamaterial formed from plasma structures to demonstrate its potential for tuning microwave frequencies.

“In the simulation, we focused on atmospheric plasma photonic crystals-a structure formed by plasma columns with diameters from 0.1 to 0.8 mm, arranged in columns and rows, imagine a neatly ordered tiny plasma forest. Ultimately, we try to find which knobs to rotate — plasma density, column spacing, column radius — to better control microwave The frequency passing through the structure, "said Matt Palivoda, a doctoral student working with associate professor Joshua Rovi at the Department of Aerospace Engineering in U of I.

Palivoda modeling focused on predicting frequency forbidden zones that prevent certain frequencies from entering the material by changing the structure of the material.

“It just blocks it completely. When you send a microwave to a material, it can easily pass through it, but it can also be reflected. In these forbidden zones, this reflects by prohibiting the frequency, ”he said.

“When you tear off a guitar string, it vibrates at a certain frequency, which depends on the length of the string,” Palivoda said. “To change the frequency, you can place the clip on one end of the string to shorten the vibrating length and prevent it from vibrating at other frequencies. In the case of plasma, the distance between the columns is our string, where the microwave energy may oscillate, while plasma columns are fixed ends of the string. Thus, the plasma structure allows microwave energy to oscillate at specific wavelengths – specific frequencies – and blocks others. ”

The location or structure of the material can determine how microwave energy is refracted and directed to the target. He said that photonic crystals and metamaterials have electromagnetic properties that are not found in natural materials.

Directed energy can be used in military applications but Palivoda said that it can also be used to recharge satellites in space or to move satellites into a higher orbit.

Palivoda received a bachelor of science from the University of Washington and a master's degree from the University of Science and Technology of Missouri when Rovi was there at the faculty.

“I was interested in using plasma drives over the wing, but when I got to Illinois, I really went down the rabbit hole and started to dive into some of the electromagnetic metamaterials. I took a series of microwave courses, as well as a course of plasma waves, so I plan to continue to work in this area of ​​directed energy, if not specifically with plasma photonic crystals, "he said.

The study "Multiparametric spatially forbidden control of a reconfigurable atmosphere." plasma photonic crystal, "written by Matthew C. Palivoda and Joshua L. Rowie, appears in Plasma physics,

Communication device offers huge bandwidth potential

Additional Information:
Matthew C. Paliwoda et al. Multiparameter spatially forbidden control of a reconfigurable atmospheric plasma photonic crystal, Plasma physics (2020). DOI: 10.1063 / 1.5127172

Microwave bending and prohibiting frequencies using simulated metamaterials (2020, April 7)
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