AMTA Paper Archive
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A Review of the CW-Ambient Technique for Measuring G/T in a Planar Near-Field Antenna Range
Techniques for measuring G/T have been previously presented at AMTA; however, there are very few papers that discuss how to measure G/T in a near-field antenna range. One recent paper discussed such a method and gave a brief description within the larger context of satellite payload testing . The paper's treatment of G/T was necessarily brief and gives rise to several questions in relation to the proposed method. Other papers that treated this topic required the antenna aperture to be separable from the back-end electronics, which may not be possible in all cases [2-3]. In this paper, we discuss in great detail a slightly modified version of the G/T measurement method presented in . A signal and noise power diagram is presented that can be useful for understanding how system signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) relates to G/T, and a few common misconceptions concerning the topic of G/T are addressed. The CW-Ambient technique for computing G/T of a Unit Under Test (UUT) from measurements in a planar near-field system is described in detail, and a list of assumptions inherent to the CW-Ambient technique is presented. Finally, the validity of the CW-Ambient technique is assessed by analyzing measured data collected from a separable UUT.
A Methodology for Instantaneous Polarization Measurements Using a Calibrated Dual-Polarized Probe
Accurately measuring the polarization of an antenna is a topic that has garnered much interest over many years. Methods abound including phase-referenced measurements using two orthogonal polarizations, phase-less measurements using two or three pairs of orthogonal polarizations, spinning linear probe measurements, and the rigorous three-antenna polarization method. In spite of the many publications on the topic, polarization measurements are very challenging and can easily lead to confusion, particularly in accurately determining the sense of polarization. In this paper, we describe a method of accurately and rapidly measuring the polarization of an antenna with the aid of a multi-channel measurement receiver and a dual-polarized probe. The method acquires phase-referenced measurements of two orthogonal polarizations. To enable such measurements, we describe a methodology for calibrating the probe. We also describe a tool for automating the polarization measurement and display of the polarization state. By automating the process, it is hoped that the common challenges and confusions associated with polarization measurements may be largely obviated.
Method-of-Moments Modeling of Conducting Objects within the Fast Irregular Antenna Field Transformation Algorithm
Reducing near-field measurement times is an important challenge for future antenna measurement systems. We propose to incorporate knowledge about material parameters of the antenna measurement environment within the simulation model. To do so, a method-of-moments code with surface discretization is implemented as a side constraint to the near-field far-field transformation problem performed with the fast irregular antenna field transformation algorithm. Transformation and source reconstruction results of synthetic measurement data demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Fast Spherical Near-Field Measurements on Arbitrary Surfaces by Application of Pointwise Probe Correction to Compressed Sampling Schemes
The major disadvantage of Spherical Near-Field (SNF) measurements is their long acquisition time. To calculate the Antenna Under Test's (AUT) far-field radiation characteristics , a sphere containing the AUT must be sampled. Classically, equiangular sampling is chosen, being the resulting sphere heavily oversampled. Since the Spherical Mode Coefficients (SMCs) are usually sparse, an approach to reduce the measurement time of SNF measurements is to undersample the sphere and to reconstruct the SMCs using compressed-sensing techniques. Using a sampling matrix with a minimum mutual coherence for the given bases of the SMCs increases the probability of recovery. The SMCs are defined in the basis of the spherical harmonics or Wigner D-functions, which limits the geometries in which this technique can be applied. In this work, the application of pointwise probe correction for the description of non-spherical surfaces in the Wigner-D basis expansion is suggested. The chosen sampling points are radially projected onto the measurement surface and the new distance to each point is calculated. New equivalent probe response coefficients are calculated per measurement point according to their distance to the AUT. To compensate for different orientations other than the probe pointing to the AUT's minimum sphere's center, the probe's SMCs are rotated to reflect the real orientation of the probe at each point prior to the calculation of the probe response coefficients. Although more computationally demanding than classical probe correction, this technique allows measurements with different, potentially faster geometries and enables the application of compressed sensing to other, non-spherical conventional scanning systems.
A Low-Cost Multicopter Based Near-Field Antenna Measurement System Employing Software Defined Radio and 6-D Laser Metrology
A near-field antenna measurement system is presented that consists of components that are rather unusual compared to conventional antenna measurement setups. Instead of a vector network analyzer (VNA), a dual-channel wideband software defined radio (SDR) is used to measure the signals at the ports of a dual-polarized probe antenna. Instead of an exact multi-axis positioner for the antenna under test (AUT) or the probe antenna, a multicopter moves the probe along a predefined trajectory on a surface around the AUT. Instead of using expensive laser interferometry equipment, the position and orientation of the probe antenna are determined by a 6-D tracking system that was originally developed for virtual reality (VR) applications. Still, the first measurement results show the usability of the low-cost system for antenna measurements in the frequency range of mobile communication services.
EMC Measurement System Based on Software Defined Radio and Diagnostic Techniques
In a previous paper a new referenceless measurement setup based on a reference antenna was used for characterizing the radiation of antennas in the planar scanner . The method is based on using a low-cost receiver to retrieve the amplitude and phase of the signal. This paper explores the limitations of the method for different geometries and implements a multiprobe electromagnetic compatibility measurement system. Once the amplitude and phase are recovered, diagnostic techniques can be applied and also near-field to near or far-field transformations to calculate the field at distances defined by standards. The results demonstrate the good accuracy of the method in comparison with traditional electromagnetic compatibility laboratories.
Element Failure Detection of Array Antenna using Near-field Measurement with Shallow Neural Network
In this report, the element failure detection of array antenna is performed with a minimum number of measurement points while maintaining sufficient accuracy by learning the relationship between excitation coefficients of array antenna and the electric near-field distribution by a shallow neural network. When training the neural network, the massive number of training data are generally required. For increasing the training data, we use each element-fed near-field distribution multiplied by a number of random excitation coefficients. In the case of dipole array antennas, the estimation error of excitation coefficients of array antenna less than 1% are achieved by our trained neural network with a minimum number of near-field measurements.
Near-Field Techniques for Millimeter-Wave Antenna Array Calibration
A reliable technique for antenna array characterization and calibration is demonstrated for two state-of-the-art antenna measurement systems, a near-field system and a compact antenna test range system. Both systems are known to reduce the measurement distance between device under test and the probe antenna in comparison to classical far-field systems, which need to provide at least the Fraunhofer distance as minimum range length. Equivalent magnetic surface currents are derived from measurements, which represent the electric field on the applied Huygens surface. The calculated equivalent magnetic currents are utilized for characterizing two completely different antenna arrays in the millimeter-wave region. Magnitude and phase calibration opportunities of antenna arrays are discussed, as well as the accuracy provided by the proposed calibration technique.
Feasibility of Coaxial Resonators for Permittivity Measurements of Pressurized Gases
This paper investigates numerically the feasibility of using quarter wavelength coaxial resonators for permittivity measurements of pressurized gases, as found in the subsurface. The non-short-circuited end of the resonator is facing the inside of a pressure cell and is filled with pressure resistant, low-loss dielectric material. Results show that as pressure increases, the corresponding increase in dielectric constant can be detected through a shift in the resonant frequency of |S11| and confirmed by a change in the phase of S11.
Measuring and Processing Near-Field Data on Non-Standard Grids at NIST
This paper demonstrates the capability of the NIST CROMMA antenna measurement facility to perform near-field measurements by collecting data at "arbitrary" positions near the test antenna. We have devised several measurement campaigns involving non-standard near-field measurement grids, including (1) a regular (equispaced in and ) spherical grid with random probe-position displacements and (2) a spiral grid on the surface of a sphere. Simulations have been used to demonstrate the robustness and accuracy of NIST processing software. Near-field measurements have been performed at 72 GHz on a horn antenna. We compare radiation patterns obtained using the standard regular spherical grid with those obtained with the nonstandard grids (1) and (2).
Extraction of Magneto-Dielectric Properties from Metal-Backed Free-Space Reflectivity
Intrinsic magnetic and dielectric properties of magneto-dielectric composites are typically determined at microwave frequencies with both transmission and reflection data. An iterative method, such as root-finding, is often used to extract the properties in a frequency-by-frequency basis. In some situations, materials may be manufactured on a metal substrate that prevents transmission data from being obtained. This happens when the materials are too fragile or too strongly bonded to the substrate for removal and must be characterized with the metal substrate in place. This paper compares two different free-space extraction algorithms, developed for the simultaneous extraction of complex permittivity and permeability from metal-backed reflection. One of the algorithms relies on reflection measurements of the same material with two known thicknesses. The second method takes advantage of wide bandwidth measurements to fit the reflection to analytical models (e.g. Debye). The accuracy of these methods are evaluated and the stability criteria for the techniques will be discussed, as well as the tolerance of the techniques to various measurement errors.
Accurate Calibration of Truncated Spherical Near Field Systems with Different Ground Floors using the Substitution Technique
The calibration of the antenna measurements system is a fundamental step which directly influences the accuracy of any power-related quantity of the device under test. In some types of systems, the calibration can be more challenging than in others, and the selection of a proper calibration method is critical. In this paper, the calibration of the truncated spherical near-field ranges typically used for automotive tests is investigated, considering both absorbing and conductive floors. The analyses are carried out in a 12:1 scaled multi-probe system, allowing access to the "true", full-sphere calibration which is used as reference. It will be demonstrated that the substitution (or transfer) method is an excellent calibration technique for these types of systems, if applied considering the efficiency of the reference antenna.
Small Antenna Testing in a Compact Antenna Test Range
The Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) was initially conceived as an efficient way of testing electrically large antennas at very much reduced, fixed, range lengths than would otherwise be the case. However, when testing lower gain, physically smaller antennas, the measurements can become susceptible to inhomogeneities within the CATR QZ including phenomena associated with edge diffraction effects, feed spill-over, chamber multipath etc. Whilst it has been demonstrated experimentally that many of these measurement artefacts may be effectively mitigated using standard and modern more sophisticated post-processing techniques. This paper supports those findings through simulation of the direct and indirect far field ranges and by careful examination of the data processing chain. Results are presented, the relative success of the various techniques examined and the utility of this is set, and expounded, in the context of modern, i.e. 5G, communications systems.
Comparative Investigation of Spatial Filtering Techniques for Ground Plane Removal in PEC-Based Automotive Measurements
Radiating performances of vehicle-installed antennas are typically performed in large spherical near-field systems able to accommodate the entire car. Due to the size and weight of the vehicle to be tested, such spherical systems are often nearly hemispherical, and the floor is conductive or covered with absorbers. The main advantage of the first is the ease of the accommodation of the vehicle under test. Conversely, the latter is more time consuming in the setup of the measurements because the absorbers need to be moved in order to be placed around the vehicle. On the other hand, the absorber-covered floors emulate a free-space environment which is a key enabling factor in performing accurate measurements at low frequencies (down to 70 MHz). Moreover, the availability of the free-space response allows easy emulation of the cars' behaviors over realistic automotive environments (e.g. roads, urban areas etc.) with commercially available tools. Such emulations are instead much more challenging when a conductive floor is considered. Furthermore, the raw measurements over conductive floors are a good approximation of realistic grounds (such as asphalts) only in a limited number of situations. For these reasons, when PEC-based automotive measurements are performed, it is often required to retrieve the free-space response, or equivalently, to remove the effect of the conductive ground. In this paper two spatial-filtering techniques (the spherical modal filtering and the equivalent currents) will be experimentally analyzed and compared to verify their effectiveness in removing the effect of the conductive floor. For this purpose, a scaled automotive PEC-based measurement setup has been implemented considering a small spherical multi-probe system and a 1:12 scaled car model. The two techniques will be analyzed considering two different heights of the scaled car model with respect to the conductive floor.
Impact of Sparse Measurements in Freehand Setup for Antenna Characterization
The aim of the paper is to assess the quality of the obtained results using a portable system to perform antenna diagnostics versus acquisition time. The system comprises a handheld probe antenna, a motion capture system to track its position and a laptop to process the acquired data. The probe antenna is arbitrarily moved in front of the antenna under test (AUT) aperture, acquiring its near-field (NF) while its position is measured. The obtained data is processed in real-time using the Sources Reconstruction Method (SRM) to compute an equivalent currents distribution on the aperture of the AUT. Furthermore, a near-field to far-field (NF-FF) transformation is performed to retrieve the far-field radiation pattern of the AUT from the computed equivalent currents distribution. Specifically, the system was evaluated at 32 GHz using a vector network analyzer to measure the NF radiated by the AUT. The obtained results show that a scan of only a few seconds can provide a fast diagnostic of the AUT.
Spherical Near-Field Measurements of Satellite Antennas at Extreme Temperatures
Antenna systems commonly used in space applications, are often exposed to extreme environmental conditions and to significant temperature variation. Thermal stress may induce structural deformations of the radiators or affect the RF performance of the active front-ends. These are some of the reasons that pushed the testing technology to characterize the radiating proprieties of Antennas Under Test (AUT) in realistic thermal conditions. Testing facilities available for these purposes are nowadays typically limited in terms of temperature range, measurable radiation pattern and size of the AUT. This paper describes the multi-physics design considerations (i.e. thermal, structural and RF) for the development of a novel facility to evaluate AUT radiation pattern characteristics in thermal conditions, from L to Q band, as an add-on feature to the ESA-ESTEC Hybrid European RF and Antenna Test Zone (HERTZ), located in Noordwijk (The Netherlands). The goal is to extend such a testing to AUTs up to 2.4m diameter in envelope over an extreme temperature range (+/-120°C), allowing a free movement of the AUT and taking advantage of Spherical Near-Field (SNF) measurement techniques.
Robotically Controlled Pattern Measurements of 60 GHz Phased Array Antenna
The characterization of antenna radiation patterns in the millimeter wave band are particularly challenging. This is due to the fact that a misalignment of just a few millimeters between the probe and the antenna can generate substantial measurement errors. This paper describes a strategy to reduce measurement errors by introducing a highly precise measurement system using a 6-axis small robotic arm to characterize the performance of a phased array antenna operating at 60 GHz. The position accuracy of the robotic arm itself is approximately 20 m and a maximum far field distance of approximately 380 mm can be achieved. The robot is programmed to perform a spherical trajectory around the array with stops every 0.5⁰ along the path to gather the measured gain. It operates continuously by communicating with a computer, which triggers the network analyzer at preprogrammed locations. The system is tested initially using two horn antennas as the antenna under test (AUT), and the results are presented.
Non-contact Characterization of Antenna Impedance, Gain and Pattern through Open-Fixture Network Calibration
We present a novel, non-contact characterization technique for simultaneous characterization of conventional antenna parameters, including the antenna port input impedance, antenna gain and its radiation pattern, without requiring a network analyzer connection to the antenna port. The test antenna and the network analyzer are considered as a 2-port open-air fixture whose network representation corresponds to the desired antenna parameters. The unknown network parameters of the 2-port open-air fixture are determined via a novel calibration process using 4 offset-short termination standards. The error parameters determined by the calibration are then related to the test antenna port impedance and its gain as a function of frequency. Furthermore, the radiation pattern of the test antenna can also be characterized using measured reflection coefficient at the network analyzer port for two offset-short terminations of the test antenna port, while rotating the test antenna over the desired angular range. This novel technique is particularly attractive for installed-antenna applications where an active connection to the test antenna port is either difficult or undesirable, such as on-chip antennas and implanted antennas, to name a few. To demonstrate the efficacy our new method, we present the measured impedance, gain and radiation pattern of a diagonal-horn antenna operating over 360-450 GHz, and a lens-integrated planar butterfly antenna for the 220-325GHz band.
On the Minimum Range Length for Performing Accurate Direct Far-Field Over-the-Air Measurements
Over-the-air (OTA) performance evaluation requires large investments in anechoic environments. The question of minimizing the test distance is hence critical, and even more in this time where millimeter-wave technologies are about to be largely deployed in 5G devices. A recent publication has identified that direct far-field measurements can be accurately carried out at a much shorter range length than the well-known Fraunhofer distance. This paper introduces a further validation of this reduced distance, by employing an innovative method to simulate spherical measurements with arbitrary DUT, test probes and range lengths. The studies carried out confirm the relevance of this shorter distance, not only for the evaluation of the peak equivalent istropic radiated power (EIRP) or sensitivity (EIS), but also for the total radiated power (TRP) or sensitivity (TIS). In addition, it is demonstrated that the usual assumption that the TRP or TIS measurement is almost independent from the range length is flawed. Two main reasons relating to the test antenna are established which create this dependence: (i) OTA test probes have a finite resolution, and (ii) the probe and instrumentation typically captures the magnitude of two components of the E-field, which are not straightforwardly related to the power density in the near-field.
Measurement-Error Controlled Iterative Least-Squares Solutions of Inverse Field Transformation Problems
The inverse equivalent source problem related to near-field antenna measurements is typically ill-posed, i.e., the forward operator suffers from non-trivial null spaces. This issue is commonly tackled by pursuing a least-squares solution of the reconstructed near fields. We propose to find a solution of the normal error system of equations which minimizes the 2-norm of the source-coefficients reconstruction deviation. In the scope of near-field to far-field transformations (NFFFTs), advantages are found in a slightly better iterative solver convergence, a reduced number of unknowns, and-most importantly-a more convenient control of the stopping criterion of the iterative solution process. Since the residual of the normal-error solution equals the reconstruction deviation, the proposed formulation includes a meaningful stopping criterion based on the measurement error. All these claims are corroborated by NFFFTs of synthetic and real-world measurement data.
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