UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a device that combines the performance of a bandpass filter and gas-discharge switch into a single device.
Modern technology has led to great signal interference between devices. To navigate through congested signaling networks, devices must filter these signals. Many devices use a bandpass filter which acts to pass a certain range of frequencies while attenuating all others. The tuning of this range of passed frequencies requires the use of a variable reactive element; this additional equipment leads to an overall bulky device. Many modern communication devices require a great density of bandpass filters in a singular location, requiring that these devices to be compact: a currently unmet need. Additional circuitry is also required to protect the system and its sensitive electronics.
UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a novel bandpass filter coupled to a plasma switch, minimizing the size and improving the robustness and protection of potential communication devices. The device exhibits the functionalities and advantages of both plasma switching and a bandpass filtering in a single device. The tuning of the bandpass filter is directly controlled by the integrated switch device which relies on plasma discharge, lowering the complexity of previous user intervention in the bandpass filter tuning systems. Such a plasma switch architecture also provides robust circuit protection through active switching over a relatively large gap and through energy dissipation in the plasma.
A working prototype has been demonstrated using multiple plasma sources, including an unmagnetized bulb discharge, a magnetized filament discharges, and a magnetized hollow cathode discharges.