Acquisition, Reconstruction, and Transformation of a Spiral Near-Field Scan
The topic of non-redundant near-field sampling has received much attention in recent literature. However, a practical implementation has so far been elusive. This paper describes a first step toward such a practical implementation, where the practicality and generality are maximized at the expense of more acquired data points.
Building on the theoretical work of faculty at the University of Salerno and University of Naples, the authors have acquired a set of near-field data using a spiral locus of sample points and, from those data, obtained the far-field patterns. In this paper, we discuss the acquisition system, the calculation and practical implementation of the spiral, the phase transformations, interpolations, and far-field transforms. We also present the resultant far-field patterns and compare them to patterns of the same antenna using conventional near-field scanning. Qualitative results involving aperture back-projection are also given. We summarize our findings with a discussion of error, uncertainty, acquisition time, and processing time in this simplified approach to non-redundant sampling in a practical system.
A Novel and Innovative Near Field System for Testing Radomes of Commercial Aircrafts
The maintenance of aircraft radomes is of particular importance for the commercial aviation industry due to the necessity to ensure the correct functioning of the radar antenna, housed within such protective enclosures. Given that the radar component provides weather assessment, as well as guidance and navigation functions (turbulence avoidance, efficiency of route planning in case of storms, etc.), it is imperative that every repaired radome be tested with accuracy and reliability to ensure that the enclosed weather radar continues to operate in accordance with the after-repair test requirements of the RTCA/DO-213.
Recently, this quality standard was updated and published under the name RTCA/DO-213A, establishing more stringent measurement requirements and incorporating the possibility of measuring radomes using Near-Field systems. Consequently, a compliant multi-probe Near- Field system concept – AeroLab – has been specifically designed to measure commercial aircraft nose-radomes, in order to meet the new standard requirements. AeroLab performs Near-Field measurements. Near-Field to Far-Field transformations are then applied to the results. Such a Near-Field system allows the test range to be more compact than traditional Far-field test ranges, and thus be independent from the updated Far-Field distance which has progressed from D²/2l to 2D²/l in the new standard RTCA/DO-213A. AeroLab enables the evaluation of the transmission efficiency and beamwidth. It also allows for accurate evaluations of the side-lobe levels by providing improved visualization of principal cut views selected from 3D patterns. Moreover, depending upon the weather radar system inside the radome under test, 2 distinct scan sequences must now be taken into account: “elevation over azimuth” and “azimuth over elevation”. AeroLab emulates both of these motion sequences through a monolithic gimbal. Furthermore, thanks to its multi-probe array, such measurements are performed in a fraction of the time spent in current mono-probe test facilities (less than 4 hours, i.e. 1/3 less time than single probe scanners).
Keywords: RTCA/DO-213A, radome measurement system, after-repair tests, multi-probe measurement system, Near-Field system.
Multi-Band Compact MIMO Antenna System for LTE and WLAN Communications
In this paper, a novel compact 2-channel MIMO antenna design for all cellular and Wi-Fi communication needs from vehicular is discussed. The entire antenna system fits within the 13cm (diameter) by 9cm (height) volume. It consists of 2 vertical multi-band cellular antenna elements and two vertical multi-band Wi-Fi antenna elements. All four antennas share a 13cm diameter circular ground plane. Each antenna element design is a PCB based slot-loaded multi-band monopole. This particular element design as well as their mounting positions were chosen to minimize mutual coupling and blockage in order to maximize MIMO performance, i.e. diversity gain. In addition, the center region of the antenna volume also accommodates a raised L1-band GPS antenna.
A prototype antenna was subsequently fabricated. The measured antenna performance compared well with simulated results before and after being mounted on a 4 feet diameter ground plane. The effect of the radome was also assessed and was found to be insignificant. The cellular antenna produced realized gain of over 2 dBi in lower cellular band (0.7 GHz to 1 GHz), and over 5dBi in the higher cellular band (1.7-2.1GHz and 2.3GHz-2.5GHz). The Wi-Fi antenna produced realized gain of over 5dBi in both 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz bands. The far-field pattern correlation coefficient was also calculated to evaluate the diversity gain performance of antenna system. For the cellular band, the correlation number is lower than 0.55 for 0.7 to 1 GHz, and lower than 0.35 for all the other band. For the entire Wi-Fi band, the correlation number is lower than 0.4.
Near-Field Far-Field Transformation for Circular Aperture Antennas using Circular Prolate Wave Functions
In the last years different advances in Near-Field (NF) measurements have been proposed. Among the others, the ones of interest here are: the determination of the number and spatial distribution of sampling points, the introduction of scanning strategies aimed to reduce the measurement time, the adoption of a proper representation, for the unknowns of interest, able to improve the reliability of the characterization .
In particular, the use of Prolate Spheroidal Wave Functions (PSWFs) for the expansion of the aperture field has proven effective to take into account for the quasi-band-limitedness of both the aperture field and the Plane Wave Spectrum. Furthermore, using a proper expansion is an important step of the Singular Value Optimization (SVO) approach, wherein the number of the spatial distribution of the NF samples are determined as the ones reducing the ill-conditioning of the problem .
Up to now, rectangular PSWFs has been successfully exploited to perform optimized NF characterizations of rectangular aperture antennas. Recently, we tackled the extension to the case of circular apertures. The difficulties related to the stability and accuracy of the numerical evaluation of the Circular PSWFs have been assessed in , showing the benefits due to the use of a proper expansion, with respect to standard backpropagation. Furthermore, the circular PSWFs expansion correctly takes into account for the spectral radiating support, with respect suboptimal representation of the rectangular case.
The aim of the paper is to show how the circular PSWFs expansion can be fruitfully exploited in the NF characterization of circular aperture antennas. Experimental results will be presented to support the performance of the method.
 A. Capozzoli, C. Curcio, G. D’Elia, A. Liseno, “Singular value optimization in plane-polar near-field antenna characterization”, IEEE Antennas Prop. Mag., vol. 52, n. 2, 103-112, Apr. 2010.
 A. Capozzoli, C. Curcio, G. D’Elia, A. Liseno, “Prolate Function Expansion of Circularly Supported Aperture Fields in Near-Field Antenna Characterization”, European Conference on Antennas and Propagation 2017, Paris 19-24 March 2017.
Broadband Additive Spiral Antenna
As part of the Lockheed Martin (LM) Additive Manufacturing (AM) Initiative, the Rotary Mission System antenna group has been developing a new and improved Additive Spiral Antenna (ASA) for both transmit and receive applications. This is a collaboration effort between LM engineering and LM manufacturing for a low cost and high performance antenna for manyultra-wide band(UWB) applications in both military and commercial market sectors. Unlike other conventional spiral designs, thisrecently emerging Additive Manufacturing capabilities allow extra spiral antenna miniaturizations without additional gain bandwidth performance penalties. This is achieved by leveraging unique low cost AM abilities to form complex and thus much more efficient 3D shapes to increase spiral antenna radiation efficiency, approaching the Chu’s gain bandwidth limitation. An initial prototype ASA was designed and tested in 2016 and showed very encouraging results. The measured ASA performance indicated nearly the same antenna performance as our current conventional production spiral antenna having multi-decade frequency band performance. More importantly, the ASA aperture size was significantly reduced by more than 50% with excellent transmit and receive gain efficiency and power handling capabilities. This paper will describe this ASA prototype design approaches and antenna near field and far field compact range measurement results along with material characterizations to demonstrate Additive Manufacturing technology can enhance antenna performance that otherwise not realizable with conventional fabrications. In addition, an integrated optimum balun length electromagnetic band gap (EBG) cavity design further reduces the antenna depth by over 70% will be presented. This is realized by use of high power and high temperature honeycomb absorbers in conjunction to electromagnetic band gap (EBG) cavity design for achieving high efficiency and low cavity profile, with total antenna volume reduction by nearly 3x. Some discussions will be provided for solving high thermal issues associated with ASA’s transmit capabilities.
Open Source Antenna Pattern Measurement System
An open-source antenna pattern measurement system comprised of software-defined radios (SDRs), standard PVC tubing, and 3-D printer hardware will measure the radiation patterns of student-built prototype antennas. The antenna pattern measurement system developed at Weber State University (WSU) was inspired by the published work of Picco and Martin . Their low-cost and practical system utilized commercially-available 2.4 GHz wireless routers. Open-source firmware was loaded on the routers to access the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) data. The RSSI was recorded versus antenna-under-test orientation using National Instruments LabVIEW.
The WSU antenna pattern measurement prototype utilizes wideband software-defined-radios to generate, transmit, and receive the test signal. Synchronous belts, gears, and 3-D printer parts were chosen and designed to address mechanical problems described by Picco and Martin. Position control is achieved using an Arduino microcontroller with open-source software developed for 3-D printer systems.
Measured principal plane gain patterns for three antenna prototypes are compared to simulated results. Models were constructed using commercial Method-of-Moments (FEKO) for comparison. Measured Radiation pattern data was scaled to the simulated Gain values for a quarter-wave monopole over a finite ground plane, a Yagi-Uda directional antenna, and an air-backed circular microstrip patch antenna.
The low-cost, open-source nature of the measurement system is ideal for undergraduate-level investigation of antenna theory and measurement. It is anticipated the SDRs will permit future research of modulation methods and encoding to improve measurements in non-anechoic environments.
Aircraft Antenna Placement Investigation Utilizing Measuered Sources in Simulation Model
Antenna placement or antenna in-situ performance analysis on large and complex platforms such as ships, airplanes, satellites, space shuttles, or cars has become even more and more important over the years. We present a systematic investigation of different antenna types for space applications in G- and S-band on an experimental aircraft. In this process, the individual antennas are measured with the help of a dual reflector compact antenna test range (CATR) under far-field conditions in various configurations. These results are validated and compared utilizing a finite element method (FEM) based solver simulation model. At first, the antennas are simulated and measured alone without any supporting or mounting structure. Subsequently, the effect of mounting structures on the overall radiation performance is added by analyzing the antennas over a large conducting ground plane, on top and the side of winglets, and on top of a cylinder body with dimensions on the order of the actual aircraft. For the detailed in-situ investigations, a second method of moments (MoM) based simulation tool is employed which works on measured sources. These measured sources are obtained from the CATR measurements of the isolated antennas. By means of a spherical wave expansion (SWE), they are transformed into a near-field source for the simulation model. These measured data based results are again compared and validated with the full FEM simulation for the complete aircraft setup and the simplified cylinder body. By this means, the expensive design and measurement of a full-scale electromagnetically equivalent mock-up of the aircraft could be saved. Furthermore, the pure simulation of the installed antenna performance often suffers from the limited availability of exact antenna design parameters. In some cases, the antenna design data remains undisclosed deliberately due to IP reasons. The presented results reveal the influence of physical structure on the radiation characteristics and demonstrate the benefits of working with measured data in simulation tools.
Element Failure Detection of Antenna Array using Far-field Measurement with Shallow Neural Network
In the 5G communication, antenna array has been widely used for high-speed wireless communication. For reliable antenna array system, the failure diagnosis of antenna array is one of the most important problems that has been studied for a long time. The back-projection method using near-field measurements is a one of the failure diagnosis technique based on the plane-wave expansion. However, when antenna elements are densely placed, it is difficult to estimate the excitation coefficients of the antenna elements with the back-projection method, because the obtained images from the conventional back-projection method has only a resolution of one wavelength. In addition, since there is usually a trade-off between measurement accuracy and measurement time. Therefore, it is difficult to satisfy the both requirements of accuracy and short measurement time.
We have reported the element failure detection algorithm using a 2-layer shallow neural network with planar near-field measurement last year. In this report, the element failure detection of antenna array is performed with a minimum number of measurement points while maintaining enough accuracy by learning the relationship between excitation coefficients of antenna array and the electric far-field distribution by a shallow neural network. In the case of 64-elements short dipole antenna arrays, the estimation error of excitation coefficients of antenna array less than 1% are achieved by our trained neural network with a minimum number of far-field measurements with 50 dB SNR. The detailed algorithm and simulation results will be reported in the full-paper and the presentation.