AMTA Paper Archive
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Synthesis of a Phased Array with Planar Near-Field Techniques Based on Far-Field Measurements of a Sub-Array in a CATR
Phased array antennas are often built from sub-arrays with identical or symmetrical layout. At an early project stage, performance verification measurements of the sub-array are valuable to proof the single module design. However, the characteristics of the final antenna are questionable without further processing. This work presents a concept that is based on far-field measurements of a sub-array in a Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) in conjunction with planar near-field (PNF) processing to synthesize the entire phased array antenna characteristics. The procedure is explained with an example of a dual linear polarized L-band planar phased array antenna for an airborne synthetic aperture radar application. It is shown that the measured sub-array can be complemented by the synthesized twin to evaluate the characteristics of a final antenna that is not yet available in this form. The resulting performance of the synthesized entire phased array is presented and compared with simulations. The presented post-processing method would be beneficial to characterizing radiation patterns of large phased arrays by measuring only sub-arrays in a limited test-zone with any measurement principle.
Radiation and Scattering Pattern Characteristics of Chamfered-Tip Open-Ended Rectangular Waveguide Probes for Planar Near-Field Antenna Measurement Applications
The radiation and scattering pattern characteristics of open-ended rectangular waveguide with a chamfered tip are examined. Despite common and widespread use as a probe antenna for planar near-field antenna measurements, a methodical investigation of the chamfered-tip design and resultant performance has not been published. A computational electromagnetics (CEM) model for an open-ended rectangular waveguide probe with a parameterized chamfered tip has been constructed and results for both radiation and scattering patterns are presented. A comparison of results includes a probe without a chamfer and a probe typical of that available from commercial suppliers. It is shown that, for a series of standard waveguide size probes sharing a common thickness for the waveguide wall and chamfered tip, the radiation pattern is relatively insensitive to the chamfer tip designs studied until frequency increases into W-band (WR-10). The scattering pattern characteristics for the same series of standard waveguide size probes show a reduction in on-axis (boresight) monostatic radar cross section (RCS) for chamfered tip waveguides compared to blunt-ended waveguides and that this reduction increases for increasing frequency.
Accurate Retrieval of Antenna Patterns in Reflective Environments Via the Test-Zone Field-Compensation Technique
Countless degrees of freedom in the design of antenna test ranges are enabled if the measurement errors caused by the environment can be precisely compensated. Measurements in highly reflective measurement chambers and with broadband feeds or probes are possible since the quality of the test zone is not essential anymore. To create a reflective environment, a metal plate is installed in an anechoic chamber and a base transceiver station antenna is characterized with and without the additional scattering source at a frequency of 2:11GHz. To compensate for the undesired signals, the field of the test zone is measured on a spherical surface using a scanning arm. Via a wave expansion of the field and the antenna under test into spherical mode coefficients, the undesired signals are compensated. It is shown that the error of the compensated pattern compared with the undistorted measurements is mainly below 30dB and that the directivity is retrieved with a difference of only 0:011dB>
A Near-Field to Far-Field Transformation with Noncanonical Plane-Rectangular Scan Using an Effective AUT Modeling
This communication provides the experimental validation of an effective probe-compensated near-field to far-field (NFFF) transformation with a nonconventional plane-rectangular scan suitable for flat antennas under test (AUTs). It is based on the nonredundant sampling representations of the electromagnetic fields, on the use of optimal sampling interpolation expansions, and assumes a flat AUT as enclosed in a dish having diameter equal to its maximum dimension. This source modeling results to be very effective from the NF data reduction viewpoint, since, by fitting very well the geometry of such a kind of AUT, it is able to reduce as much as possible the residual volumetric redundancy related to the use of the other modelings suitable for quasi-planar AUTs (an oblate spheroid or a double bowl). Experimental results, assessing the practical feasibility of the proposed NF-FF transformation technique, are shown.
Practical Considerations in Phaseless Spherical Near-Field Measurements
This paper investigates on the postprocessing of spherical near-field measurements in phaseless scenarios. Traditionally, iterative algorithms have been used to propagate between two measurement surfaces to retrieve the near-field phase. In the last years, advanced phase retrieval techniques have been developed formulating the phaseless problem in matrix form. Both approaches are introduced and investigated, comparing its performance with numerical and measurement data. Preliminary results indicate that iterative propagation techniques offer superior performance, yet with a more irregular and nonlinear behavior. The matrix approach, however, offers much more flexibility on its formulation leaving room for more potential improvements.
Nonredundant NF-FF Transformation with Planar Spiral Scan Optimized for Flat Antennas Under Test
A probe-compensated near-field-far-field (NF-FF) transformation with planar spiral scan, particularly suitable for flat antennas under test (AUTs), is proposed in this communication. It relies on the nonredundant sampling representations of electromagnetic fields and has been achieved by properly applying the unified theory of spiral scannings for nonvolumetric antennas, when such a kind of AUT is considered as enclosed in a dish with diameter equal to its maximum dimension, thus better shaping its geometry. An efficient two-dimensional optimal sampling interpolation (OSI) algorithm is then developed to recover the NF data required by the standard NF-FF transformation with plane-rectangular scan from those collected along the spiral. Since the number of NF data and spiral turns is related to the area of the modeling surface, the here proposed NF-FF transformation technique allows one to further reduce the measurement time with respect to those based on the modelings for quasi-planar AUTs, which instead involve, in such a case, a residual volumetric redundancy. Some numerical simulations, assessing the accuracy of the OSI algorithm and of the so developed NF-FF transformation, are shown.
Comparison of PNF, CNF and Far-Field Measurements of Metamaterial based Flat Panel Antenna
This paper presents comparison of planar near field (PNF), cylindrical near field (CNF) and compact antenna test range (CATR) measurements for Standard Gain Horn (SGH) at K (18-25 GHz) and Ku-band (10-15 GHz) and metamaterial based high gain flat panel antenna at Ku-band. The effect of azimuth step size, number of cylindrical modes and radial distance error on CNF measurement accuracy are presented. The advantage of CNF for wide/large scan angles is discussed and measured results for metamaterial antenna at high scan angles are compared with those of CATR. Measurement time comparison between PNF and CNF is presented. One of the limitations of CNF compared to PNF is angular coverage in the elevation plane and this aspect is tried to be addressed supported by measured results.
Analysis of Probe Compensation Techniques for Fast Multi-Probe Planar Near Field Measurements
In Multi-Probe (MP) based measurement systems, the standard procedure is to calibrate the probe array with a well-known reference antenna . This procedure equalizes amplitude, phase, and polarization characteristics of each probe array element. In Planar Near Field (PNF) systems, the probe pattern impact is usually more pronounced than in other near field scan geometries, such as spherical. Thus, the probe pattern must be compensated during post-processing for more accurate measurements at wider angles. While the probe array calibration ensures the on-axis equalization, the probe array elements still have individual pattern difference due to finite manufacturing accuracy and absorber interaction. Probe compensation using an equivalent probe pattern of the array has been shown to be very effective and accurate for MP PNF systems . In this paper we compare two methods to determine the equivalent probe pattern for a given MP PNF system. We also discuss the acceptable limits of pattern variation within the array versus measurement accuracy as a design parameter for MP PNF systems.
Near-Field Measurement Technique for Spacecraft Installed Low Frequency Antennas
The ESA HERA-JUVENTAS mission relies on 50-100 MHz dipole antennas mounted on a CubeSat. The mission requires an accurate verification of the 3D co-polar and cross-polar directivity, gain, and matching. The performance verification of low gain antennas installed on space platforms at frequencies below 400MHz is a challenging task. The use of spherical near-field measurement technique is the most suitable and accurate approach for low gain antennas. However, a well-designed conventional anechoic chamber, for indoor testing, equipped with suitable absorbers at the desired test frequencies would be large and thus expensive. In this paper, the so-called synthetic probe array technique to suitably shape the probe pattern for minimum illumination of the chamber walls will be presented. Its applicability to spherical near field measurements in the existing HERTZ testing facility at ESA/ESTEC will be discussed. A comprehensive theoretical study has been performed using full-wave simulation of the chamber and the spacecraft. Moreover, scaled measurements considering a 10:1 scaled model of the final scenario are currently under investigation to better verify the performance of the proposed measurement technique. Preliminary results obtained from the simulation analysis and the scaled tests are reported in this paper.
Phase Retrieval for Spherical Near-Field Measurements using Two Antenna Positions
The Two Scans phase retrieval technique is based on magnitude measurements of the antenna under test (AUT) in two different configurations and the analytical relation between these two measurements. For spherical near-field measurements this relation is given by the spherical transmission formula and the best-known implementation of this method makes use of nearfield measurements over two measurement spheres. In this paper we propose a novel method where the two sets of near-field measurements are measured over a single sphere, with the AUT in two different positions wrt. the origin of the measurement coordinate system. The two positions are known in the measurement coordination system, and the relationship between the AUT transmission coefficients for the two positions is given by the transmission formula, or by a far-field phase translation. The phase is then retrieved through an iterative process between the two measurements. The principles of this approach will be presented and the performance will be evaluated based on simulated data. Particularly, the impact of the extent of the translation on the accuracy of the phase retrieval will be studied, and the viability of the method for real applications will be discussed. Additionally, the possibilities of an error metric in the complex domain is explored by performing two simultaneous retrievals, starting from two different initial phase guesses, and tracking the complex difference between the two to determine whether the algorithm has converged correctly.
Experimental Validation of Full Probe Correction Technique using Wideband and Dual-Polarized Probes in Spherical NF Antenna Measurements
Full Probe Compensation (PC) techniques for Spherical Near Field (SNF) antenna measurements have recently been proposed and validated with success -. Such techniques allow the use of antennas with more than a decade of bandwidth as near field probes in most systems. The clear advantage is that multi-service/frequency measurements campaigns can be performed dramatically reducing the number of probes hence decreasing the downtime between two measurements. This is a highly desirable feature for modern antenna measurement applications such as automotive. The use of a dual-polarized probes further improves the measurement efficiency as two orthogonal field components are measured at the same time. The possible differences between the pattern radiated by the two ports of the probe should sometimes be considered to keep the overall measurement accuracy. The full PC technique objective of this paper accounts for generic dual-polarized probes and is validated for the first time. For this purpose, measurements of three monocone antennas from 450 to 6000 MHz performed with only one wideband (15:1) dual-polarized probe will be considered.
Simulating θ-zero and Axes Intersection Errors in Spherical Near-Field Antenna Measurements
Producing uncertainty estimates is an integral part of every measurement procedure. This is a time consuming process in spherical near-field antenna measurements, because for a few factors in the uncertainty list it is necessary to perform additional full-sphere measurements. In this paper we propose an original method to simulate in a computer the effect of two important items in the uncertainty list, namely θ-zero and axes intersection errors, by taking advantage of the fact that after a measurement the antenna under test is completely characterized. These sources of errors are associated with the rotating positioner of the anechoic chamber and, therefore, are more prone to change between campaigns. Consequently, they need to be checked and assessed for every antenna under test, which can be inefficient if the measurement time is excessive due to the test antenna’s size. With the techniques presented in this work, the time spent estimating the impact of these errors in the measurands is greatly reduced, since additional full-sphere measurements are not needed. Furthermore, the errors can be isolated from each other and the degree of linearity between measurand and error source can be assessed. Finally, it is no longer necessary to occupy the antenna under test in order to perform the uncertainty estimation.
Holographic PNF Filtering Based On Known Volumetric AUT Bounds
There has been much discussion in the last few decades regarding redundancy in conventional near-field sampling, and that redundancy is most pronounced in the planar geometry. There has also been much discussion regarding modal filtering of near-field data to attenuate the effects of stray signals. Both discussions revolve around the limited local spatial bandwidth that can be produced at each probe location when the antenna under test’s (AUT’s) radiating sources are all contained within a known geometric boundary. This paper discusses a novel filtering technique that exploits the inherent sampling redundancy in conventional planar near-field acquisitions. The filtering is based solely on the known location and shape in the scanner’s coordinate system of a closed 3D boundary around the radiators of interest. The paper describes the algorithm and presents results from both measured and synthesized input. The new filter is also compared to other available filters in terms of speed, attenuation of stray signals, and preservation of AUT signals.
Implementation and Validation of a Satellite Payload Test Suite for Planar Near Field Test Ranges
Performing End-to-End testing of satellite payloads on planar near-field test ranges can greatly reduce the cost and real estate required compared to conventional far-field systems. Previous work has shown that this is theoretically possible, with limited test data showing viability. This paper provides additional validation of the technique’s ability to characterize various system-level parameters, including the equivalent isotropically radiated power , group delay, saturating flux density, system noise temperature and the gain vs. frequency response. Details of a new software satellite payload test suite is presented, along with the accompanying simulated payload that was developed for system verification and facility-to-facility comparison.
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.
Polyhedral Sampling Structures for Phaseless Spherical Near-Field Antenna Measurements
In conventional Spherical Near-Field (SNF) antenna measurements, both amplitude and phase are necessary to obtain the Far Field (FF) of the Antenna Under Test (AUT) from the Near-Field (NF) measurements. However, phase measurements imply the use of expensive equipment, e.g., network analyzer, and rely on the assumption of having access to the reference phase, which is, for example, not the case in Over The Air (OTA) measurement scenarios. For these reasons, phaseless approaches gain attention and different methods have been investigated such as two-sphere techniques, indirect holography, or the use of different probes. Recent research on two-sphere techniques introduces algorithms originally developed for solving the so-called phase retrieval problem like PhaseLift or Wirtinger-Flow. Applied to SNF, the phase retrieval problem corresponds to obtaining the phase of the Spherical Mode Coefficients (SMCs) from amplitude NF measurements only. It has been shown that Wirtinger-Flow benefits from taking measurements over different structures, decreasing the redundancy. First investigations examined the combination of two spheres resp. a sphere and a plane and showed better reconstruction of the FF with the second combination. Furthermore, it has been shown that increasing the distance between both structures improves the reconstruction of the FF. Note that so far investigations have been based on the plane wave expansion. We currently deepen the knowledge presented above in a framework solely based on the spherical wave expansion. From a mathematical point of view, planes can be seen as spheres of infinite radius, i.e., a plane combined with a sphere may be interpreted as a special case of combining two spheres. This interpretation goes hand in hand with the observation that an increased radius difference between both spheres leads to better reconstruction performance. Consequently, we analyze different polyhedral sampling structures composed of planes (such as tetrahedrons or cubes), mimicking several spheres of infinite radius in different spatial directions. For the mathematical analysis of non-spherical structures in the basis of spherical waves, pointwise probe correction is used. First experiments show a better reconstruction of the FF compared to the standard two-spheres/sphere-plane sampling.
Measuring G/T with a Spherical Near-Field Antenna Measurement System via the CW-Ambient Technique
In modern systems where RF front ends are tightly integrated, the parameters of passive aperture gain and active electronics noise figure become difficult to obtain, and, in many cases, impossible to measure directly. Instead, the parameter referred to as Gain over Noise Temperature, or G/T, becomes the performance metric of interest. Recently, the antenna measurement community has seen an increased demand to use near-field measurement systems for determining G/T values. Papers presented at AMTA over the past few years have shown that it is possible to determine G/T values using measurements taken in planar near-field antenna ranges. The CW-Ambient technique was one of the techniques proposed for computing G/T values by utilizing planar near-field measurements [1,2]. In this paper, we show how the CW-Ambient technique can also be applied to calculate G/T values in spherical near-field antenna measurement systems. This paper provides a brief summary of the CW-Ambient technique, and then presents the procedure and equations required for computing G/T using a spherical near-field system. To validate the recommended procedure, we compare predicted and measured G/T values for a separable unit under test (UUT). Since the passive aperture for this UUT is separable from the back-end active electronics, we measure the aperture gain of the UUT and the noise figure of the back-end electronics individually, and then compute the composite G/T value for this assembly. We then compare these composite values against G/T measurements from a spherical near-field antenna measurement system. We summarize these comparisons and provide conclusions regarding the validity of using a spherical near-field system to measure G/T.
Reduced Azimuthal Sampling for Spherical Near-Field Measurements
This paper investigates on the use of under-sampling over the azimuthal dimension to reduce measurement time on spherical near-field scanning. This means that the number of angular phi samples is reduced, which allows to reduce the number of positioner steps, obtaining measurement time savings virtually proportional to the number of samples reduction. Of course this under-sampling introduces an error, which can be interpreted as an aliasing term over the retrieved Spherical Wave Expansion of the Antenna Under Test (AUT). The axial symmetry of the vast majority of antennas allows the application of significant under-sampling ratios with little aliasing errors. However, this information is not a priori known due to the lack of a reference AUT radiation pattern, or in the case of malfunctioning antennas with degraded symmetry. Here we proposed a measurement procedure for the exploitation of the AUT axial symmetry. The procedure consists on an iterative AUT measurement with increasing number of azimuthal cuts. As the number of cuts increases, the aliasing error decreases, thus obtaining the final radiation pattern with a lower uncertainty. We will introduce an aliasing error estimator, which estimates the error caused by the under-sampling without any a priori knowledge of the AUT. This estimator can be used as a stopping criterion of the iterative measurement procedure when the desired accuracy is achieved. The proposed technique will be demonstrated using different antennas, showing considerable reductions in measurement time with low errors in the transformed far-field pattern, and with the guarantee that the error is below a given threshold thanks to the derived estimator.
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.
Definition, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Novel Spiral-Sampling Technique
Building on the theory of spiral near-field acquisitions, the authors present a novel spiral acquisition implemented in a spherical near-field (SNF) chamber for a large automotive application. This new spiral permits the relaxation of certain restrictions associated with the standard spiral. Specifically, it allows us to eliminate extra or redundant rings beyond the poles, allows for greater control of the angular velocity ratio (i.e. gear ratio) between the theta and phi physical positioning axes, and does not require that the theta axis retrace between acquisitions. In this paper, we describe the new spiral?s motivations, implementation, advantages, and measurement results. We first discuss the new spiral sampling, its mathematical definition, and its comparison to a standard spiral. Next, we describe the practical considerations and implementation of the coordinated motion between theta and phi for spiral sampling over a spherical surface. Next, we present the results showing good pattern agreement between conventional SNF and the new spiral method. We also discuss the reductions in near-field acquisition time and total test time that were achieved using the new spiral.
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