On-Chip Tunable Artificial Dielectrics

Tech ID: 27287 / UC Case 2005-367-0


UCLA Researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed and reduced-to-practice an innovative method for making chips with tunable dielectrics so the wavelength of RF signals can be modified to achieve frequency tuning effects without effecting noise interference.


The ability to tune wavelength or frequency is fundamentally important to radio frequency (RF), microwave, and millimeter wave systems. Given the high market demand for new wireless technology, the improved capacity to tune the frequency of components is highly desirable.Current techniques for tuning frequencies involving conventional tunable resonant tanks, such as LC tanks often introduce undesirable noise during the tuning process.An improved process for tuning the wavelength and frequency of components, while also reducing the noise is very desirable for next-generation wireless technology.


Researchers at UCLA have developed a new method for tuning the wavelength and frequency of components by modifying the dielectric constant via on-chip tunable artificial dielectrics. When embedding an artificial dielectric into an electromagnetic field the dielectric constant can be modified and tuned appropriately, thereby permitting wavelength and frequency tuning of components.This process accomplishes the frequency tuning effects with much less noise than conventional tunable resonant tanks and maintains a high quality factor (Q-factor).Two key components of this invention are an isolating substrate and near lossless artificial dielectrics. The high artificial dielectrics also helps to shrink the chip size and reduce the metallic loss.


This invention can be used to tune working frequencies of components, such as transmission lines, resonant tanks, antennas, delay lines, filters, inductors, transforms, baluns, duplexers and circuits, such as amplifiers, mixers, filters, voltage control oscillators (VCOs), phase-locked loops (PLLs), and any other circuits that employ wavelength or frequency tuning or filtering.


  • Facilitates tunable dielectrics or wavelength with a large linear dynamic/tuning range.
  • Accomplishes frequency tuning effects with much less noise than conventional tunable resonant tanks, such as LC tanks.
  • Exhibits a high Q-factor due to isolating the signal from substrates.
  • High-effective, near lossless dielectric constants can be achieved, which is highly desirable in integrated circuits because of small size of passive components.
  • Compatible with mainstream multilayer metal IC processes.

State Of Development

Researchers have designed, simulated, and tested tunable artificial dielectrics in a standing wave silicon VCO.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 7,852,176 12/14/2010 2005-367


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  • Chang, Mau-Chung Frank

Other Information


On-chip, tunable, radio frequency, RF, millimeter wave integrated circuits, quality factor, Q factor, self-resonating frequency, amplifier, mixer, voltage controlled oscillator, VCO, phase-locked loop, PLL, synthesizer, frequency divider, MMICs

Categorized As