Accurate Radiation Pattern Measurements in a Time-Reversal Electromagnetic Chamber
In a recent paper , we have introduced the concept of the time-reversal electromagnetic chamber (TREC), a new facility for creating coherent wave-fronts within a reverberation chamber. This facility, based on the use of time-reversal techniques in a reverberating environment, is here shown to be also a useful tool for the characterization of the field radiated by an antenna under test (AUT). The TREC is proven to be capable of providing real-time measurements, with an accuracy comparable to that of spherical near-field facilities, while using a very limited number of static probe antennas. This performance is made possible by taking advantage of the reflections over the chamber’s walls, in order to gain access to the field radiated along all the directions, with no need to mechanically displace the probes, or to have a full range of electronically switched ones. A 2D numerical validation supports this approach, proving that the proposed procedure allows the retrieval of the free-space radiation pattern of the AUT, with an accuracy below 1 dB over its main lobes.
A Novel Phaseless Spherical Near-Field Antenna Measurement Including the Issue of Robustness
The radiation characteristics of antennas can be deter-mined by measuring amplitude and phase data in the ra-diating near-field followed by a transformation to the far-field. Accurate phase measurements especially at high frequencies are very demanding in terms of the required measurement equipment and tolerances. Phaseless mea-surement techniques have been proposed, which often deal with a second set of amplitude only measurement data in order to compensate the lack of phase information. In this paper the concept of phaseless spherical near-field measurements will be addressed by presenting a phaseless near-field transformation algorithm for spherical antenna measurements, working with amplitude only data on two spheres. In particular the measurement of a patch antenna is considered to demonstrate the utility of the technique for low gain antennas. To address the issue of robustness, inaccurate measurement distances as well as spherical rotation angles are considered in order to evaluate the accuracy of the method against probe positioning errors. Furthermore noise contributions are introduced to emu-late measurement inaccuracies in general.
Single Antenna Method for Determining the Gain of Near-Field Waveguide Probes
Accurate calibration of near-field measurements requires the probe used for the measurement be well characterized. The determination of the absolute gain of rectangular open-ended waveguide probes is difficult due to the broad beamwidth in both the E-plane and H-plane which increase the likelihood of multi-path affecting the accuracy of the measurement. Multi-path may be minimized by reducing the separation distance, but at the price that far-field conditions may no longer apply. A variation of the two matched antenna method is to use a large reflecting plate to form an image of the probe. Use of the entire bandwidth of the probe, and time-gating the results to isolate the signal reflected from the plate allows the gain to be determined. The procedure also allows the determination of the aperture reflection coefficient used by theoretical probe models used for pattern compensation in the near-to-far-field transformation.
HIGH PERFORMANCE BROADBAND FEEDS FOR ECONOMICAL RF TESTING IN COMPACT RANGES
Compact test ranges are worldwide used for real-time measurements of antenna and payload systems. The Compensated Compact Range CCR 75/60 and 120/100 of Astrium represent a standard for measurement of satellite antenna pattern and gain as well as payload parameter due to its extremely outstanding cross-polar behavior and excellent plane wave field quality in the test zone. The plane wave performance in the test zone of a compact test range is mainly dependent on the facilities reflector system and applied edge treatment as well as on the RF performance of the range feed. To provide efficient and economic testing and maintaining the needed measurement accuracy the existing standard set of high performance single linear feeds covering the frequency range from 1 - 40 GHz had been extended to operate simultaneously in dual linear polarization. In addition several customer specific range feeds had been developed and manufactured and validated. More detailed information and achieved test results for the new high performance range feeds will be presented.
An accurate and efficient error predictor tool for CATR measurements
An accurate and efficient numerical model is developed to simulate the far field of an antenna under test (AUT) measured in a Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR), on the basis of the known quiet zone field and the theoretical aperture field distribution of the AUT. The comparison with the theoretical far-field pattern of the AUT shows the expected measurement accuracy. The numerical model takes into account the relative movement of the AUT within the quiet zone and is valid for any CATR and AUT of which the quiet zone and aperture field, respectively, are known. The antenna under test is the Validation Standard Antenna (VAST12), especially designed in the past for antenna test ranges validations. Simulated results as well as real measurements data are provided.
A NONREDUNDANT NFâ€“FF TRANSFORMATION WITH SPHERICAL SPIRAL SCANNING USING A FLEXIBLE AUT MODEL
ABSTRACT In this work, a probe compensated near-field – far-field transformation technique with spherical spiral scanning suitable to deal with elongated antennas is developed by properly applying the unified theory of spiral scans for nonspherical antennas. A very flexible source modelling, formed by a cylinder ended in two half-spheres, is considered as surface enclosing the antenna under test. It is so possible to obtain a remarkable reduction of the number of data to be acquired, thus significantly reducing the required measurement time. Some numerical tests, assessing the accuracy of the technique and its stability with respect to random errors affecting the data, are reported.
Accurate radar distance measurements in dispersive circular waveguides considering multimode propagation effects
This contribution deals with guided radar distance measurements in the .eld of industrial tank level control. The aim is to achieve a submillimeter gauging accuracy even when conducting the measurement within thehighlydispersive environment of large and thus overmoded cylindrical waveguides. In this case normally multimode propagation causes a decrease in measurement precision. Therefore, the effects of intermodal dispersion are fundamentally reviewed and based on these results, two different approaches for overcoming the drawbacks of this measurement scenario are derived. On the one hand a prototype of a novel concept for compact mode-preserving waveguide transitions is presented, ef.ciently avoiding the excitation of higher order modes. By applying this concept, free-space optimized signalprocessing algorithms canbe used advantageously. On the other hand, an alternative correlation-based signal processing method is presented. The method is able to exploit the otherwise parasitic dispersion effects to enhance the measurement precision even in constellation with a simple waveguide transition. Finally, the trade-off between the signal processing’s and waveguide transition’s complexity is highlighted and discussed. Measurement results in a frequency range of 8.5 to 10.5 GHz are provided for different kinds of waveguide transitions proving the capability of both approaches.
Numerical Calibration of Standard Gain Horns
The gain-transfer technique is the most commonly used antenna gain measurement method and involves the comparison of the AUT gain to that of another antenna with known gain. At microwave frequencies and above, special pyramidal horn antennas known as standard-gain horns are universally accepted as the gain standard of choice. A design method and gain curves for these horns were developed by the US Naval Research Laboratory in 1954. This paper examines the ability of modern numerical electromagnetic modeling to predict the gain of these horns and possibly achieve greater accuracy than with the NRL approach. Similar computational electromagnetic modeling is applied to predict the gain and pattern of open-ended waveguide probes which are used in near-field antenna measurements. This approach provides data for probes that are not available in the literature.
Identifying Pointing Errors for the NIST 18 Term Error Technique
The NIST 18 Term Error Analysis Technique uses a combination of mathematical analysis, computer simulation and near-field measurements to estimate the uncertainty for near-field range results on a given antenna and frequency range. A subset of these error terms is considered for alignment accuracy of an antenna’s RF main beam. Of the 18 terms, several have no applicable influence on determining the beam pointing or the terms have a minor effect and when an RSS estimate is performed they are rendered inconsequential. The remainder become the dominant terms for identifying the alignment accuracy. There are six terms that can be evaluated to determine the main beam pointing uncertainty of an antenna with respect to dual band performance. Analysis of the near-field measurements is performed to identify the alignment uncertainty of the main beam with respect to a specified mechanical position as well as to the main beam of the second band.
ACCURATE INFINITE GROUNDPLANE ANTENNA MEASUREMENTS
The accurate measurement of the infinite ground plane antenna patterns are needed in different applications as discussed in [1–12]. The comprehensive performance of a general antenna in a complex environment including interaction can be evaluated fast and accurately using ray tracing techniques [1,2]. This approach requires a reliable representation of the local source behaviour either through measurements or simulation. A good source approximation for this method is the infinite ground plane pattern assuming a perfectly conducting plane. The infinite ground plane condition can be achieved easily in simulation using full-wave computational tools but is very difficult to measure on a general antenna due to the finite dimensions of the measurement systems. Different measurements and post processing approaches have been investigated in the past to determine the infinite ground plane pattern of a general antenna. Spherical mode truncation/filtering have been used as means to eliminate edge diffraction from finite ground plane measurements. This method suffers from the dependence on the selection of filtering parameters as discussed in . Time-gating can give some information about the isolated antenna pattern in most directions as discussed in [4-6] but is not completely general and require special equipment and setup for the measurement. Other approaches to eliminate the edge diffraction by special design of the ground plane shape have also been pursued as discussed in [7-10]. This paper introduces a simple formulation to accurately determine the infinite ground plane pattern of any antenna from measurements on a small finite ground plane. The theory of the method is presented and its accuracy and suitability demonstrated with measured examples.
An Innovative Alignment System in Near-Field Measurements
The paper presents a new system, to be used in near-field antenna characterization, which (in its simplest implementation) automatically assists the alignment of the Antenna Under Test (AUT) and the definition of the uniform/non-uniform sampling and filtering procedures. The system, based on a very cheap hardware (3D, coded structured-light, digitalization device), is able to provide a complete description of the geometry of the measurement set-up and of the movements of its parts, probe included. In this paper the simplest case, the alignment of the AUT, is considered. In this case, the system determines the coordinates of the surface points of the AUT in the Laboratory Reference System (LRS), providing the position and the orientation of the AUT in the LRS. The acquisition of the geometrical data on the AUT requires only few seconds, with a negligible human intervention. The acquired data are then processed to provide the desired setting of the AUT either manually or by means of computer controlled actuators, ensuring the accuracy suited to millimetre-wave band. The geometrical information can be exploited also to make possible the correction via software, when movements of the AUT should be avoided. The accurate information on the AUT geometry can be fruitfully exploited in advanced, high-performance filtering and sampling approaches, again drastically reducing any human interaction with the system. The performance of the system is discussed by referring to a prototype working in the millimetre-wave band.
Rapid Continuous Linear Spiral Planar Measurements for Millimeter-Wages
Bipolar planar antenna measurements have been used as an alternative to other planar scanning techniques such as plane-rectangular or plane-polar scanning. Bipolar scanning features important advantages such as the elimination of linear motion in measurement, increased stability, compact footprint, and a variety of data acquisition modes. The most rapid data acquisition mode for planar measurements overall, depending on range implementation, is the linear spiral sampling mode. This technique involves simultaneous incrementation of both the radial and azimuthal positioners to create a data grid in a spiral configuration. Data sampling and interpolation for linear spiral sampling has been obtained previously through rigorous development and modification of bipolar sampling requirements and interpolation techniques . Implementation of the continuous linear spiral technique is not a trivial task. Positional program requirements require non-uniform acceleration and velocity for each axis. Data acquisition requires precise synchronization of both positional and RF equipment. Finally, post-processing is complicated by the inherent nature of a linear spiral data grid. This paper will describe, in detail, the implementation of the linear spiral technique with our portable millimeter-wave bipolar planar measurement system with emphasis on the issues mention here. In addition, measurements of a 31GHz rectangular patch array using both the conventional bipolar and linear spiral techniques are compared for both measurement time requirements and pattern accuracy. The continuous linear spiral technique has shown a significant measurement time reduction and has shown excellent agreement with results obtained in comparison to previously implemented stepped spiral measurements.
Microwave Imaging System Incorporating an Array of Optically Modulated Probes for Rapid and Low-Perturbation Near-Field Measurements
This communication addresses the design and implementation of a low-perturbation and high dynamic range near-field (NF) imager with increased measurement speed. The imager is equipped with an array of optically modulated scatterer (OMS) probes, each incorporating a commercial-off-the-shelf photodiode chip and a minimum scattering antenna, i.e. short dipole. In the OMS probes, transmission of modulating optical signals is performed using an optical fiber coupled to the photodiode, which is invisible to microwave signals. The imager measurement speed is also improved as the OMS array eliminates the delays associated with probes translations, in addition to fast switching of modulating light between the probes. Fast switching is accomplished by an array of fiber-pigtailed laser diodes. Improved dynamic range and linearity in the NF imager are achieved by adding a carrier canceller within the imager receiver front-end, eliminating the carrier signal and leaving the sidebands intact. This canceller also improves the isolation between input/output ports of the imager providing a potential for higher signal amplification. The performance assessment of the NF imager, including its linearity and result accuracy is made by comparisons with a known field distribution.
Measurement of Complex Permittivity Using Artificial Neural Networks
In this paper, a Neural Network based methodology is presented to measure the complex permittivity of materials using monopole probes. A multilayered Arti.cial Neural Network, using the Levenberg Marquardt back propagation algorithm is used to back solve the complex permittivity of the medium. The proposed network can be trained using an analytical model, numerical model, or measurement data spread over the complete range of parameters of interest. The input training data for the non linear inverse problem of reconstructing the complex permittivity comprises the complex re.ection coef.cient of the monopole probe. For the results presented in this paper, the network is trained using the analytical model for impedances of monopole antennas in a half space by Gooch et al. . In addition to computational ef.ciency, the proposed approach gives 99% accurate results in the frequency range of 2.55 GHz, with the values of permittivity varying across a range of 3-10 for the real part, and 0 -0.5 for the imaginary part. The accuracy and the effective range of real and imaginary components of the complex permittivity that can be reconstructed using this approach, depends upon the accuracy and robustness of the model / system used to generate the training data. The analytical model used in this paper has a limited range for the values of loss tangent that it can model accurately. However, the performance of the back solving algorithm remains independent from any speci.c model, and the scheme can be successfully applied using any reliable analytical or numerical model, or re.ection coef.cient training data generated through a series of measurements. The methodology is likely to be employed for experimental measurements of complex permittivity of dissipative media.
Extension Of The Mathematical Absorber Reflection Suppression Technique To The Planar Near-Field Geometry
Obtaining a quantitative accuracy qualification is one of the primary concerns for any measurement technique [1, 2]. This is especially true for the case of near-field antenna measurements as these techniques consist of a significant degree of mathematical analysis. When undertaking this sort of examination, room scattering is typically found to be one of the most significant contributors to the overall error budget . Previously, a technique named Mathematical Absorber Reflection Suppression (MARS) has been used with considerable success in quantifying and subsequently suppressing range multi-path effects in first spherical [3, 4] and then, cylindrical near-field antenna measurement systems [5, 6]. This paper details a recent advance that, for the first time, enables the MARS technique to be successfully deployed to correct data taken using planar near-field antenna measurement systems. This paper provides an overview of the measurement and novel data transformation and post-processing chain. Preliminary results of computational electromagnetic simulation and actual range measurements are presented and discussed that illustrate the success of the technique.
How large is your Quiet Zone?
Recently, the smaller of the ESTEC CATR’s has been moved to a new location in the ESTEC Test Centre. In the frame of the relocation, the original reflectors of the range were positioned and aligned in a brand new anechoic chamber. The commissioning phase of the new range included a quiet zone field probing in order to verify the range performance in the new situation and to identify direction of arrival of major reflections. During this exercise, it was realized that the criteria for Quiet Zone dimensions are rather arbitrary. The paper addresses a new figure of merit for range comparison in terms of accuracy. Peak to peak values and RMS have been recorded depending on the size of a hypothetic AUT. This analysis resulted in accuracy nomograms that allow ESA staff to easily assess measurement accuracy depending on antenna size and operational frequency. Similar nomograms elaborated for different CATR’s could allow unbiased inter-range comparison. Moreover, a GRASP model of the facility has been developed based on the metrology measurement of the reflectors surfaces, relative position of range feed and AUT positioner.
Investigation of SGH Performance and Repeatability
Standard Gain Horns (SGH) are utilized frequently either as measurements antenna or as reference antenna in antenna gain measurements by comparison or substitution method . They also find use as source antennas in anechoic test chambers and for many other purposes such as fixed site antennas. The most widespread SGH geometry has a rectangular cross-section and is pyramidal with optimized geometry to achieve maximum gain [2, 3, 4]. When used as a precision gain reference in antenna measurements the SGH is often calibrated by a reference facility or another third party. When external or internal calibration means are not available the SGH peak gain is often determined directly from the reference tables of the NRL report . The quality of the original work is such that even today the associated uncertainty on these peak gain values are generally accepted to be within +/-0.3dB . In this paper the accuracy of the NRL gain tables are investigated by comparison with a full wave numerical method based on FDTD  and measurements in different antenna test ranges. Performance variation of the SATIMO Standard Gain Horns due to the manufacturing and measurement accuracy has been also investigated with conducted and radiated experiments.
A Novel In-Water Current Probe Measurement Method for Linear Floating Antennas
This paper shall discuss a method for measuring the current distribution – in both magnitude and phase - along the length of a floating antenna operating on the surface of the ocean. The method makes use of a novel toroidal current sensing device and balun arrangement, with a vector network analyzer serving as the measurement instrument. The current data obtained using this method can then be used to compute the far-field pattern of the antenna, both at the horizon and overhead, in a manner similar to near-field scanning of aperture antennas. This new method has significant advantages over the conventional far-field method of measurement in terms of accuracy, time, and cost, and can also be used to determine the realized gain of the antenna. Measured and theoretical data shall be presented on example antennas to illustrate the process of measuring the current distribution as well as computation of the far-field pattern.
A Comparison of Methods for Measuring Dielectric Properties of Thin-Film Materials
RF measurement of the dielectric properties of very thin films (less than 1/100 wavelength thick) presents a challenge using traditional techniques. Many techniques, such as conventional transmission line-type measurements, are not sensitive enough to measure a single thin sheet of material. Moreover, in the case of waveguide, the method of mechanically fastening the material in place properly is challenging. In this paper, we explore several different strategies for measuring thin films and compare the merits of each. In particular, coaxial line measurements with stacked layers, waveguide measurements, and cavity measurements are discussed. The methods will be compared in terms of their accuracy and sensitivity. Measurements are carried out using the various methods on several low-loss thin-film materials. The measurements are then compared and validated using known reference materials.