Active Metamaterial: Gain and Stability, and Microfluidic Chip for THz Cell Spectroscopy

by Qi Tang

Institution: University of Arizona
Year: 2017
Keywords: Metamaterial; Microfluidic device; Non-Foster circuit; Stability; THz; Cell Spectroscopy
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2179132
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10150/623025


Metamaterials are artificially designed composite materials which can exhibit unique and unusual properties such as the negative refractive index, negative phase velocity, etc. The concept of metamaterials becomes prevalent in the electromagnetic society since the first experimental implementation in the early 2000s. Many fascinated potential applications, e.g. super lens, invisibility cloaking, and novel antennas that are electrically small, have been proposed based on metamaterials. However, most of the applications still remain in theory and are not suitable for practical applications mainly due to the intrinsic loss and narrow bandwidth (large dispersion) determined by the fundamental physics of metamaterials .In this dissertation, we incorporate active gain devices into conventional passive metamaterials to overcome loss and even provide gain. Two types of active gain negative refractive index metamaterials are proposed, designed and experimentally demonstrated, including an active composite left-/right-handed transmission line and an active volumetric metamaterial. In addition, we investigate the non-Foster circuits for broadband matching of electrically small antennas. A rigorous way of analyzing the stability of non-Foster circuits by normalized determinant function is proposed. We study the practical factors that may affect the stability of non-Foster circuits, including the device parasitics, DC biasing, layouts and load impedance. A stable floating negative capacitor is designed, fabricated and tested. Moreover, it is important to resolve the sign of refractive index for active gain media which can be quite challenging. We investigate the analytical solution of a gain slab system, and apply the Nyquist criterion to analyze the stability of a causal gain medium. We then emphasize that the result of frequency domain simulation has to be treated with care. Lastly, this dissertation discusses another interesting topic about THz spectroscopy of live cells. THz spectroscopy becomes an emerging technique for studying the dynamics and interactions of cells and biomolecules, but many practical challenges still remain in experimental studies. We present a prototype of simple and inexpensive cell-trapping microfluidic chip for THz spectroscopic study of live cells. Cells are transported, trapped and concentrated into the THz exposure region by applying an AC bias signal while the chip maintains a steady temperature at 37C by resistive heating. We conduct some preliminary experiments on E. coli and T cell solution and compare the transmission spectra of empty channels, channels filled with aqueous media only, and channels filled with aqueous medium with un-concentrated and concentrated cells.Advisors/Committee Members: Xin, Hao (advisor), Xin, Hao (committeemember).