The ARASCOM project – MEMS & Liquid Crystal based, Agile Reflect-Arrays Antennas for Security & COMmunication – was constituted by a consortium of industries, public laboratories and academies, which includes Thales Alenia Space France, SELEX Sistemi Integrati, EADS Innovation Works, CEA/LETI, Sistemas Radiantes F. Moyano, Foundation Bruno Kessler, Università di Perugia, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Technische Universität Darmstadt.

The project is focused on the development of a Low Cost, High Frequency (77 GHz), Agile Antenna for Imaging in Security application.

To achieve the above-mentioned agility, cost and frequency characteristics, beyond the current state-of-the-art, the following innovative choices were implemented:

  • use of low loss, low cost, advanced MEMS devices to enable agile scanning functionality;
  • use of advanced organic laminate materials with an optimized mix of electric performances, hermeticity, low cost characteristics;
  • use of an innovative 1-bit approach for the phase shifting implementation in the reflect array antenna, very effective on reducing the complexity of the antenna and its biasing network.

The final goal of this project was to develop and fabricate a prototype antenna to implement stand-off imaging using mm-wave for detection of concealed objects such as weapons under clothes, within baggage, etc. New types of products referring to the domains of Homeland Security and/or Turn-Key Airport can be envisaged for the output of this work:

  • inspection of baggage, mail envelopes and other transported objects;
  • monitoring of people by scanning through portals;
  • monitoring of large events, or crowded areas (restaurants, discos, supermarkets, large malls, etc.).

The electronic circuitry manufactured by SOMACIS has been designed for the biasing of the reflect-array. 1600 MEMS (40×40 array) were integrated in an electronic board made up of advanced organic laminate materials (MV1000, Rogers 4350 and Polyimide). In the bottom side of the electronic board there was the radome of antenna manufactured in LCP.