Ultra-low-loss tunable piezoelectric-actuated metasurfaces achieving 360° or 180° dynamic phase shift at millimeter-waves

Evangelos Vassos, James Churm, Alexandros Feresidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Phase shifting metasurfaces typically consist of an ordered metallic geometry that is patterned onto a dielectric substrate and incorporate active devices or materials that enable dynamic tuning. Existing methods at mm-wave and submillimeter bands typically suffer from high losses, which are predominantly produced by the inherent limitations of the tuning elements or materials. This report presents a new, ultra-low-loss and phase-tunable, reflection type metasurface design, which outperforms previously reported technologies in terms of phase shifting and loss. The proposed technique utilizes a variable air cavity, formed between a periodic array and a ground plane, which is controlled by means of a piezoelectric actuator. Two metasurface designs are presented and experimentally tested. Firstly, a square patch element metasurface that is capable of achieving a continuous 180° phase shift across a wide bandwidth, between 35 and 65 GHz. Also presented is a double-cross element metasurface that provides full 360° phase control between 57 and 62 GHz. The variable air cavity is controlled by means of a piezoelectric actuator that supports and varies the height of a ground plane, providing highly accurate, millisecond, displacement. Unlike conventional tuning methods, the tuning mechanism, in this case the moving ground plane, introduces no additional sources of loss and enables an average loss performance of 1 dB. Full-wave simulations are presented and experimentally validated with measurements of both metasurface prototypes. The proposed approach is scalable from microwave up to THz frequencies, due to the electro-mechanical and low loss nature of the tuning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15679
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date24 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

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