The research detailed in the paper “Continuous-range tunable multi-layer frequency selective surfaces using origami and inkjet-printing” published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that forming dipole elements across a foldable origami pattern using a simple inkjet-type printer yielded radio frequency filters whose adjustable dimensions would continuously change their characteristics, blocking different signals throughout a large range of frequencies.
The researchers also found that while a single-layer Miura-Ori-shaped filter only blocked a narrow band of frequencies, multiple layers of the filters could be stacked to achieve a wider band of blocked frequencies.
“The dipoles were placed along the fold lines so that when the origami was compressed, the dipoles bend and become closer together, which causes their resonant frequency to shift higher along the spectrum,” explained Manos Tentzeris, the Ken Byers Professor in Flexible Electronics in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Such tunable filters could have a variety of uses, from antenna systems capable of adapting in real-time to ambient conditions to the next generation of electromagnetic cloaking systems that could be reconfigured on the fly to reflect or absorb different frequencies.
“The Miura-Ori pattern has an infinite number of possible positions along its range of extension from fully compressed to fully expanded,” noted Glaucio Paulino, the Raymond Allen Jones Chair of Engineering and a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “A spatial filter made in this fashion can achieve similar versatility, changing which frequency it blocks as the filter is compressed or expanded.”