Electrically Tunable Microwave Absorber Based on Discrete Plasma-Shells

Komlan Payne, Kevin Xu, Jun H. Choi, Jay Kyoon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This paper presents the feasibility of deploying a large-scale tunable absorber based on discrete plasma-shells. The proposed conductor-baced absorber is realized by integrating ceramic gas-encapsulating chambers (plasma-shells) and a closely coupled lossy resonant layer that also serves as a biasing electrode to sustain the plasma. Two topologies comprising lossy inductive or capacitive layers are investigated to realize tunable microwave absorbers. The plasma is sustained by a sinusoidal radio frequency (RF) voltage source coupled directly through the walls of the plasma-shells. These active frequency-selective absorbers are analyzed using a transmission line approach to provide the working principle and its frequency tuning capability. By varying the voltage of the sustainer, the plasma can be modeled as a lossy, variable, frequency-dependent inductor, providing a dynamic tuning response of the absorption spectral band. A prototype plasma-tuned absorber is fabricated and measured in a free space environment to validate the concept. A good agreement between the equivalent circuit model, full-wave electromagnetic simulation, and the measurement results is obtained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8753721
Pages (from-to)6523-6531
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Active high impedance surface
  • circuit analog absorber (CAA)
  • lossy frequency selective surfaces (FSSs)
  • radar cross section (RCS)
  • radio frequency (RF) plasma discharge
  • tunable absorber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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