AMTA Paper Archive
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Nearfield Antenna Measurements over Seawater - Challenges and Prospects
The question of how to perform a nearfield antenna measurement in the presence of the air-sea interface is one that has been raised previously by the author. When discussing spherical near field measurements various approaches have been proposed for addressing this problem, that are also applicable to measurements taken over a conducting ground plane. In this paper we shall discuss some of the practical challenges involved in data collection and measurement methods when performing this type of measurement. Examples shall be taken from both spherical nearfield measurements of simple sources along with single-point at-horizon measurements to examine the challenges associated with these approaches. A notional approach for measuring realized power gain at the horizon will also be discussed.
Reducing phase-measurement errors due to RF-source band breaks
A signal source can introduce phase-measurement errors when its output crosses through internal frequency-band breaks. The source phaselock circuits in this band-break region sometimes report approximate phaselock before complete phaselock occurs. The result of this approximate phaselock is a minor error in the output frequency, which can lead to phase-measurement errors at the system level. The magnitude of the phase errors depends on the amount of frequency offset and the difference in electrical lengths between the measurement system's signal and phase-reference paths. If this behavior were deterministic, then the resulting phase errors might be tolerable. Unfortunately, it was found that the final settling time (measured in many hundreds of milliseconds) was not consistent, depended in part on the two specific frequencies surrounding the band break, became more confused if a second sweep encountered the band break before the first break had settled, and of course changed behavior if the frequencies were sequenced in reverse order or measured one at a time. The design approach described herein reduced to negligible the phase-measurement errors due to frequency errors in two large multioctave test systems. The approach relies on managing range transmission line lengths so that propagation time is sufficiently equal among the various signal and reference paths. Measured data are presented that show the advantage of the optimized system design.
Near-field testing with a 8.9x1.6 m2 planar scanner at Christiaan Huygens Laboratory (CHL)
A near-field scanner has been upgraded, maintaining mechanical hardware more than 65 years old and extending it with suitable computer control to enable an 8.9x1.6m^2 scanplane. Already in 1957 X-band phase accuracies within 3 degrees were reported (ref.1). The facility is computer controlled, with servo's to enable position and polarisation control and a Rohde and Schwartz network analyser in the loop. It is positioned in an area near the main workshop and runs proprietary software for control, acquisition and transformation. An old satellite antenna has been aligned as Antenna Under Test (AUT) and measured near 12 GHz. It was measured before as reported in (ref.2). The antenna is an engineering model of an antenna used on the OTS satellite in mid 80's. It has a few properties which are worthwhile to use for inspection, to enable to get insight into scanner properties and transformation results. Deviation between electrical and mechanical axis, low cross polarisation, orthogonal channels and specific input impedance can be mentioned as points to verify and to control with verification measurements exploiting symmetries and flip-tests, rather than ticking off in an 18-term error budget usually adopted. Direct gain measurements have been established. The probe can be selected, either an open-ended waveguide or a circular waveguide with annular corrugation as probe for instance. It involves related discussion of probe correction. The first results show acceptable information for the facility, with initial comparison to previous results for pattern and absolute gain. It has allowed to survey alignment, assess scanner control properties and assess microwave component properties - with interest into direct gain measurements. A short historical description for the facility (ref.1) and antenna precedes a main discussion of the followed procedures and obtained results for the AUT with related discussion.
Challenges for the Automotive Industry on MIMO OTA Testing
The evolution of cellular communication technologies has been replicated by the automotive industry with modern vehicles being almost universally fitted, as a bare minimum, with a radio system, a cellular communication system and Bluetooth capability. Higher end vehicles have additional capabilities such as WiFi, GNSS, TPMS, smart keyless entry and smart start/stop feature. All these systems are highly integrated as part of the vehicle's infotainment unit and they must operate satisfactorily in a co-existing manner. Automotive wireless testing is currently facing several challenging aspects with one such aspect being MIMO OTA (Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output Over-The-Air) testing of the terrestrial cellular communication system of the vehicle. In this paper, we will examine the current approach for MIMO OTA testing in the 4G and 5G cellular environments and discuss various scenarios on how existing techniques can be adapted to support MIMO OTA testing in the automotive industry. MIMO OTA testing is typically carried out either using conducted testing techniques or using a Multi Probe Anechoic Chamber (MPAC); both these methods have their advantages and limitations and, to a certain extent, a degree of applicability to a very large article under test. This paper covers these two established MIMO OTA testing techniques and considers their applicability to the automotive MIMO OTA testing scene. Following on from this analysis and the challenges exposed herein, additional MIMO OTA test methods are put forward along with an assessment of how well they perform in an automotive test environment.
Influence of the Phase Uncertainty in Spherical Wave Expansion in the Millimeter-Wave Range
Phase uncertainty in antenna measurements introduces significant errors to the amplitude of the transformed pattern in Spherical Wave Expansion (SWE). To get a better understanding of the impact of phase errors, the measured phase error of a Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) is synthesized as a random phase error and subsequently added to the measured antenna patterns of three different antennas during the SWE. The resulting erroneous patterns are compared with the measured reference patterns and the error magnitude and probability distribution are studied. It is proven that the introduced errors to the transformed far-field patterns can be substantial. Furthermore, the relation between the antenna type and the error level and distribution is elaborated. The error level is different for the three antennas and the error level distribution is dependent on the mode spectra of the antennas.
A Straightforward Dynamic Range Error Analysis
The significant measurement standards in the antenna measurement community all present suggested error analysis strategies and recommendations. However, many of the factors in these analyses are static in nature in that they do not vary with antenna pattern signal level or they deal with specific points in the pattern, such as realized gain, side lobe magnitude error or a derived metric such as on-axis cross polarization. In addition, many of the constituent factors of the error methods are the result of analyses or special purpose data collections that may not be available for periodic measurement. The objective of this paper is to use only a few significant factors to analyze the error bounds in both magnitude and phase for a given antenna pattern, for all levels of the pattern. Most of the standards metrics are errors of amplitude. However, interest is increasing in determining phase errors and, hence, this methodology includes phase error analysis for all factors.
Measurement of RF Absorber at Large Angles of Incidence using Spectral Domain Transformations
Pyramidal RF absorber, widely used in indoor antenna ranges, is designed to minimize reflectivity by creating an impedance transform from free space to the impedance of the absorber material. The pyramidal shape provides this transition quite well at normal incidence. It has been shown in  that pyramidal RF absorber performs very well up to angles of incidence of about 45 degrees off-normal, but at wider angles of incidence, the performance degrades significantly. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to perform RF absorber measurements at large oblique incidence angles. In such measurements, the reflected path and the direct path between the antennas are very close in length, making it difficult to use time-domain gating techniques to eliminate the direct coupling. In this paper, a novel approach for performing oblique RF absorber measurements is introduced based on spectral domain transformations. Preliminary measurements using this technique have been compared to RF simulations. Results appear to indicate that this approach is a valid way to perform RF absorber reflectivity measurements at highly oblique incidence angles.
Measurements of Non-Metallic Targets for the Austin RCS Benchmark Suite
A simulation-supported measurement campaign was conducted to collect monostatic radar cross section (RCS) data as part of a larger effort to establish the Austin RCS Benchmark Suite, a publicly available benchmark suite for quantifying the performance of RCS simulations. In order to demonstrate the impact of materials on RCS simulation and measurement, various mixed-material targets were built and measured. The results are reported for three targets: (i) Solid Resin Almond: an almond-shaped low-loss homogeneous target with the characteristic length of ~10-in. (ii) Open Tail-Coated Almond: the surface of the solid resin almond's tail portion was coated with a highly conductive silver, effectively forming a resin-filled open cavity with metallic walls. (iii) Closed Tail-Coated Almond: the resin almond was manufactured in two pieces, the tail piece was coated completely with silver coating (creating a closed metallic surface), and the two pieces were joined. The measured material properties of the resin are reported; the RCS measurement setup, data collection, and post processing are detailed; and the uncertainty in measured data is quantified with the help of simulations.
GSS (Gated-Short-Short) Calibration for Free-space Material Measurements in millimeter-Wave Frequency Band
Electrical properties of materials are requisite to design electromagnetic (EM) devices and systems. Free-space material measurement method, where the measurands are the free-space scattering parameters of MUT (Material Under Test) located at the middle of transmit (Tx)/receive (Rx) antennas, is suitable for non-destructively testing MUT without prior machining and physical contact in high frequencies. In this paper, GSS (Gated-Short-Short) calibration method using a planar offset short is proposed for calibrating a free-space material measurement system and the measurement result is shown in W-band (75-110 GHz).
Experimental Validation of a Non-Redundant NF-FF Transformation for Long AUTs Mounted in Offset Configuration in a Spherical NF Facility
The experimental validation of an accurate and fast near-field-far-field (NF-FF) transformation technique with spherical scan, suitable for long antennas under test (AUTs) mounted in offset configuration, is provided in this work. The main feature of such a NF-FF transformation is to require, unlike the traditional spherical (TS) one, an amount of NF samples, which is minimum and results to be practically the same in both cases of offset and onset mount-ings of the AUT. To this end, an optimal sampling interpolation formula , developed by properly exploiting the non-redundant sampling representations and modeling an offset mounted long AUT by a cylinder ended by two half-spheres, is employed to precisely recover the massive input NF data for the TS NF-FF transformation from the collected non-redundant samples. A considerable measurement time-saving can be so achieved. Experimental results assessing the validity and the practical feasibility of such a technique are shown.
Combination of Spherical and Planar Scanning for Phaseless Near-Field Antenna Measurements
The two scans phaseless technique is a well-known procedure for the characterization of antennas on near-field ranges without need of measuring the phase. Amplitude information over two surfaces compensates for the lack of phase reference. In this paper we propose the combination of spherical and planar surfaces for the application of the two scans technique, together with the application of Wirtinger Flow, a state-of-the art phase retrieval algorithm with high convergence guarantees. The use of different types of surface adds additional information about the field's degrees of freedom, allowing for smaller separation between acquisition surfaces as compared with the 2-sphere techniques. In addition, an initial estimation for the phase is not required. The phase retrieval process is formulated in terms of the Spherical Wave Expansion (SWE) of the antenna under test. The SWE-to-PWE (Plane Wave Expansion) is utilized in order to process the amplitude field on the planar surface. Results for simulated and measured near-field data are shown to demonstrate the potential capabilities of the proposed technique.
Indoor 3D Spherical Near Field RCS Measurement Facility: A new high resolution method for 3D RCS Imaging
Indoor RCS measurement facilities are usually dedicated to the characterization of only one azimuth cut and one elevation cut of the full spherical RCS target pattern. In order to perform more complete characterizations, a spherical experimental layout has been developed at CEA for indoor Near Field monostatic RCS assessment . This experimental layout is composed of a 4 meters radius motorized rotating arch (horizontal axis) holding the measurement antennas while the target is located on a polystyrene mast mounted on a rotating positioning system (vertical axis). The combination of the two rotation capabilities allows full 3D near field monostatic RCS characterization. 3D imaging is a suitable tool to accurately locate and characterize in 3D the main contributors to the RCS. However, this is a non-invertible Fourier synthesis problem because the number of unknowns is larger than the number of data. Conventional methods such as the Polar Format Algorithm (PFA), which consists of data reformatting including zero-padding followed by an inverse fast Fourier transform, provide results of limited quality. We propose a new high resolution method, named SPRITE (for SParse Radar Imaging TEchnique), which considerably increases the quality of the estimated RCS maps. This specific 3D radar imaging method was developed and applied to the fast 3D spherical near field scans. In this paper, this algorithm is tested on measured data from a metallic target, called Mx-14. It is a fully metallic shape of a 2m long missile-like target. This object, composed of several elements is completely versatile, allowing any change in its size, the presence or not of the front and / or rear fins, and the presence or not of mechanical defects, … Results are analyzed and compared in order to study the 3D radar imaging technique performances.
Reduced Aperture Flanged Rectangular Waveguide Probe for Measurement of Conductor Backed Uniaxial Materials
An algorithm is developed for the non-destructive extraction of constitutive parameters from uniaxial anisotropic materials backed by a conductive layer. A method of moments-based approach is used in conjunction with a previously-determined Green function. A dominant-mode analysis is done for rapid comparison of the derived forward model with that of commercially-available software. Finally, laboratory measurements are taken to compare this approach to that of a destructive, high-precision method.
Recent Developments in International Facility Comparison Campaigns
The EurAAP (the European Association on Antennas and Propagation)  Measurements working group (WG5), constitutes a framework for cooperation to advance research and development of antenna measurements. An important ongoing task of this group is to sustain the Antenna Measurement Intercomparisons. The comparison of each facility measurement of the same reference antenna in a standard configuration results in important documentation and validation of laboratory expertise and competence, allowing to validate and document the achieved measurement accuracy and to obtain and maintain accreditations like ISO 17025. An additional outcome is the improvement in antenna measurement procedures and protocols in facilities and contributions to standards, which is one of the long-term objectives of the EurAAP WG5. Several participants among Europe but also USA and ASIA have joined the activity. These campaigns will also serve for a new task, recently approved within the WG5, of self-evaluation from comparison of the measurement results. An important ongoing campaign involves a X/Ku/Ka-band high gain reflector antenna MVI-SR40 fed by SH4000 Dual Ridge Horn. In this paper we report the results here for the first time. The medium gain ridge horn, MVI-SH800, equipped with an absorber plate to enhance the correlation in different facilities has been the reference antenna of another campaign. In  the preliminary results were shown. In this paper we present the final validation. The comparison is reported plotting the gain/directivity patterns and computing the equivalent noise level and the Birge ratio with respect to the reference pattern obtained taking into account the uncertainty declared by each facility.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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