AMTA Paper Archive
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Measurements of a Deployable Tightly Coupled Dipole Array for Small Satellites
An origami-based Tightly Coupled Dipole Array (TCDA) is proposed for small satellite applications. The array is formed by a two-layered structure using rigid and flexible substrates to enable accordion-like folding. The proposed TCDA operates across 0.4-2.4 GHz with VSWR < 3 at broadside and across 0.6-2.4 GHz with VSWR < 3 when scanning down to 45 in the E-, D-, and H-plane. An 8 8 prototype was fabricated using Kapton Polyimide and FR4 and tested to verify the bandwidth and gain of the origami array. The fabricated prototype was demonstrated to be packable, low-profile, and lightweight (only 1.1kg). Notably, when packed, the array has a one-dimensional size reduction of 75%. As will be discussed, the packing compression is made possible by eliminating vertical PCB boards and incorporating the balun feeds within the dipole layer. To our knowledge, this is one of the first foldable, low profile, and low-scanning ultra-wideband arrays in the literature.
Effect of a Wet Spherical Radome on the Reflected Power for an S-band Planar Phased Array Radar Antenna
An active S-band dual-polarized multifunction phased array radar (MPAR), the Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD), has recently been developed for weather sensing and aircraft surveillance. The ATD is an active electronically scanned array (AESA) with 4864 transmit/receive (T/R) modules and was installed in a spherical radome. Simulations and a novel phased array measurement technique have been explored to assess the impact of high reflectivity from a wet radome during rain that can potentially induce voltages exceeding the transmit amplifier breakdown voltage. The measurement technique uses array elements radiating one at a time to illuminate the radome, and uses superposition to quantify the received signal power in a reference antenna on the face of the array. It is shown that when the radome surface is wet and highly reflective, certain electronic steering angles sum to a large reflected signal focused on the array face. This measurement technique can be used prior to high-power phased array radar operation to monitor the magnitude of reflections and help avoid element transmit amplifier failures.
Advanced Diagnostics on a Large Array by the Equivalent Current Technique
Diagnostic techniques are crucial in antenna development and testing to enhance the Device Under Test (DUT) performances and identify the cause of possible failures in the qualification process. Among different approaches -, it has been demonstrated that the equivalent currents method (EQC) -, implemented in , is one of the most efficient for investigations in various application areas -. Indeed, the generality of the 3D reconstruction surface enclosing the DUT is a key feature, it ensures that this technique is unique and highly suitable for diagnostics, respect to traditional methods based on plane wave expansion. To handle electrically large problems, the EQC method has been initially based on a Fast Multipole Method (FMM) . The recent advent of 5G technologies has led to an increasing need in terms of antenna electrical dimensions. Therefore, a novel technique based on a Nested Skeletonization Scheme (NSS) has been implemented to guarantee a further reduction of memory requirements and computational time. The new capability has been demonstrated in the past for a patch array antenna . In this paper, the diagnostic capabilities of the EQC approach are applied to an early prototype of an electrically large array antenna for 5G antenna measurements applications .
SICL-based Antenna Array for 5G Massive MIMO Applications in mm-waves
This work presents the concept and design of an antenna element, aimed at 5G time division duplex (TDD)-based digital massive MIMO applications, operating in millimeter waves (mm-waves). The proposed radiating structure is based on printed slot antennas, fed by a substrate integrated coaxial line (SICL) for significantly reducing mutual coupling among the array elements. Furthermore, the slot has its own cavity for creating a broadsidedirection beam, without increasing mutual coupling. Numerical results demonstrate 1.31 GHz bandwidth at 26 GHz, 6.4 dBi gain and beamwidth of 70° and 80° in the main orthogonal planes. A two-element array is reported as a proof-of-concept and the mutual coupling between its elements has been kept lower than 32 dB from 25 to 27 GHz, illustrating its potential for scalability to high-order massive antenna TDD arrays.
UWB Antenna Design for Lunar Radiometry
A compact ultra-wideband (UWB) antenna operating from 300 MHz to 6 GHz was developed for operating with a Lunar Heat Flow Radiometer (LHR) system is presented. The antenna was required to fit within 36 cm x 36 cm x 10 cm volume with an emphasis of small antenna height so that it can be mounted under rovers. This paper presents an innovated design which combine a dielectric-loaded TEM horn mode from 2 GHz to 6 GHz and bowtie dipole mode 300 MHz to 2 GHz. The simulation results show a minimum realized gain of 2.2 dBi at 300 MHz and the gain monotonically increases to approximately 15 dBi at 6 GHz and maintains approximately constant gain and patterns from 2 to 6 GHz
Validation of Millimeter-Wave Plane Wave Generator for 5G Measurements
The Plane Wave Generator (PWG) concept has recently been presented for millimeter wave applications [1-2]. The PWG has attracted interest, also because of its unique application in direct testing of 5G/6G enabled devices while in use by life people or mounted on suitable phantoms. This test feature is important to evaluate the shadowing effect by the user and the effectiveness of distributed array system on devices to overcome the shadowing. In this paper, we investigate the feasibility and achievable measurement accuracy in such scenarios. Using the measured performance of the PWG reported in [1-2], the measurement scenario is emulated accurately and compared to the reference case.
Solving the Gain/Coverage Problem to enable 5G-Powered IoT
Mm-wave 5G base-stations are capable of emitting unprecedented EIRPs, necessary to achieve its high data rates. This capability introduces the opportunity to also use this wireless resource to wirelessly power IoT devices. However, the passive recipients of such power densities would need large enough apertures to harvest appropriate power levels to operate, which would naturally limit their angular coverage. In this work, we present an unconventional solution to this problem through the implementation of a passive beamforming network—the Rotman lens—in the receiving mode, as an intermediate element between antenna arrays and rectifiers to enable the surprising combination of high gain and wide angular coverage. The fullyprinted, flexible Rotman lens, operating in the mm-wave regime, is equipped with eight antenna ports and six beam ports, selected based on a scalability study. Tested in both planar and bent configurations, the Rotman lens demonstrates a robust, ultrabroadband behavior, with minimum variations in its gain and angular coverage over more than 20 GHz of bandwidth. These structures promise to power the next generation of passive IoT devices at distances exceeding 100 m using 5G base-stations, with the transmission of the full 75 dBm EIRP allowable by the FCC in the 5G/mm-wave bands, thereby enabling the emergence of ultra-low-cost mmIDs for ubiquitous sensing for smart-city and smart-infrastructure applications.
Regarding Network Characteristics of Flared Notch Arrays
Flared notch (“Vivaldi”) arrays have been a subject of great interest since the mid 1990s for use in broadband phased-array systems. These arrays are popular in large part due to their ultra-wide bandwidths, which can span multiple octaves, exceeding the bandwidths of the individual flared notch elements themselves. This effect is achieved via strong inter-element coupling, a departure from the conventional wisdom of minimizing mutual coupling between elements in a phased array. The benefits of this design choice have been widely reported on in the literature - however, this dependence on element coupling also places serious constraints on array performance, especially with regards to scan angle, active impedance, and array efficiency, which often go unreported. In addition, reliance on inter-element coupling necessitates an array that can be safely approximated as “infinitely” planar. If an array does not strictly meet this condition, significant VSWR issues can result, especially for elements near the edges of the array. This paper discusses the common pitfalls inherent in practical flared-notch array design that are often overlooked in the literature. To aid in this analysis, a network-centric approach to array modeling is demonstrated that allows for an examination of both element- and array-level performance metrics in a way that minimizes computation time and resources. Special attention is paid to parameters such as active impedance as a function of scan angle, which, though vital to array performance, are often mischaracterized by “infinite array” approximations commonly used by engineers in the design phase. The effects of mutual coupling on different array performance metrics, both beneficial and detrimental, are examined in detail so that an informed decision can be made on the suitability of the flared-notch topology for a given application.
Channel De-embedding and Measurement System Characterization for MIMO at 75 GHz
As modern antenna array systems for MIMO and 5G applications are deployed, there is increased demand for measurement techniques for timely calibration, at both research and commercial sites. The desired measurement method must allow for the de-embedding of information about the closed digital signal chain and element alignment, and must be performed in the near-field. Current means of measuring large arrays cover a variety of methods. Single-element gain and pattern calibration must cover the parameter space of element weightings and is extremely time-consuming, to the point where the measurement may take longer than the duration over which the array response is stable. Two other popular methods are the transmission of orthogonal codes and the use of holography to reconstruct a full-array pattern. The first of these methods again requires extremely long measurement time. For an array of N elements and weightings per element W_n, the matrix of orthogonal codes must be of an order greater than NW_n.. This number varies with the form of W_n depending on whether the array is analog or digital, but in both cases for every desired beam configuration, an order-N encoding matrix must be used. The second method relies on illuminating subsets of elements within an array and reconstructing the full pattern. Each illuminated subset, however, neglects some amount of coupling information inherent to the complete system, making this an imperfect method. In this work we explore the development of a sparse set of measurements for array calibration, relying on coherent multi-channel data acquisition of wideband signals at 75 GHz, and the hardware characterization and post-processing necessary to perform channel de-embedding at an elemental level for a 4x1 system. By characterizing the complete RF chain of our array and the differential skew and phase response of our measurement hardware, we identify crucial quantities for measuring closed commercial systems. Additionally, by combining these responses with precise elemental location information, we consider means of de-embedding elemental response and coupling effects that may be compared to conventional single-element calibration information and full-pattern array measurements.  C. Fulton, M. Yeary, D. Thompson, L. Lake, and A. Mitchell. Digital phased arrays Challenges and opportunities. Proceedings of the IEEE, 104(3):487–503, 2016.  E. N. Grossman, A. Luukanen, and A. J. Miller. Holographic microantenna array metrology. Proceedings of SPIE, Passive Millimeter-Wave Imaging Technology VIII, 5789(44), 2005.  E. Lier and M. Zemlyansky. Phased array calibration and characterization based on orthogonal coding Theory and experimental validation. 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Phased Array Systems and Technology (ARRAY), pages 271–278, 2010.  S. D. Silverstein. Application of orthogonal codes to the calibration of active phased array antennas for communication satellites. IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, 45(1):206–218, 1997.
Gain antenna measurement using single cut near field measurements
There are some antennas where rapid validation is required, maintaining a reduced measurement space and sufficient accuracy in the calculation of some antenna parameters as gain. In particular, for cellular base station antennas in production phase the measurement time is a limitation, and a rapid check of the radiation performance becomes very useful. Also, active phased arrays require a high measurement time for characterizing all the possible measurement conditions, and special antenna measurement systems are required for their characterization. This paper presents a single or dual cut near field antenna test procedure for the measurement of the gain of antennas, especially for separable array antennas. The test set-up is based on an azimuth positioner and a near to far field transformation software based on the expansion of the measurements in cylindrical modes. The paper shows results for gain measurements: first near to far field transformation is performed using the cylindrical modes expansion assuming a zero-height cylinder. This allows the use of a FFT in the calculation of the far field pattern including probe correction. In the case of gain, a near to far field transformation factor is calculated for theta = 0 degrees, using the properties of separable arrays. This factor is used in the gain calculation by comparison technique. Depending on the antenna shape one or two main cuts are required for the calculation of the antenna gain: for linear arrays it is enough to use the vertical cut (larger dimension of the antenna), for planar array antenna 2 cuts are necessary, unless the array was squared assuming equal performance in both planes. Also, this method can be extrapolated to other kind of antennas: the paper will check the capabilities and limitations of the proposed method. The paper is structured in this way: section 1 presents the measurement system. Section 2 presents the algorithms for near to far field transformation and gain calculation. Section 3 presents the validation of the algorithm. Section 4 presents the results of the measurement of different antennas (horns, base station arrays, reflectors) to analyze the limitations of the algorithm. Section 5 includes the conclusions.
Characterizing Multiple Coherent Signals Near 60 GHz Using Standard RF Hardware for MIMO and 5G Applications
In wireless communication technology, the growth of 5G and MIMO (multiple- input and multiple-output) systems has revealed a gap in the methods to characterize and calibrate hardware for high frequency and coherent MIMO applications. For coherent array configurations and ad hoc systems we need to measure transmission loss and phase/delay over every element. We demonstrate the use of standard RF hardware to generate and receive multiple signals in a system that is a tabletop analogy for an ad hoc system. The initial test system consists of using a single WR-15 VNA extender to detect two separate modulated signals. As our sources, we individually modulate WR-15 VNA extenders to generate continuous waveform, modulated signals around 60 GHz. On the receive side, our IF signal is first measured with a high-dynamic- range spectrum analyzer and then later collected in a digital oscilloscope. All the signal generators for the receiver LO and transmitter(s) RF IN are tied together with a common 10 MHz reference. Characterizing this initial 2x1 system is then extensible to multiple-receiver applications. We will use these coherent sources to get full complex waveform characterization element-by-element in a receiving array. We report on measurement and calibration methods to characterize the response of these systems for continuous waveforms, modulated signals, and multi-frequency applications needed for next generation coherent MIMO systems.
A Reconfigurable Antenna Construction Toolkit with Modular Slotted Waveguide Elements for Arbitrary Pattern Designs
This contribution presents a universal antenna construction toolkit with slotted waveguide elements that can flexibly combined to form a reconfigurable antenna array capable of providing arbitrary symmetric radiation patterns. The design and the arrangement of radiating elements allow adjusting arbitrary real amplitudes of single radiating elements in a solely mechanical way without any electrical feeding network. Additional modular connecting elements even allow two dimensional and conformal antenna designs with circular and multiple polarizations. With a single toolkit in the Ku-band several design and measurement examples are presented, such as a linear array forming a desired main lobe down to -20dB, and a universal two dimensional antenna array that can switch between vertical, horizontal, LHC and RHC polarization. Given a desired antenna pattern the design procedure allows an automated generation of the physical antenna layout that can mechanically be combined without the need of additional full wave simulations. The waveguide toolkit is easily scalable to any other frequency band just being limited in the upper frequency by manufacturing issues. Another major benefit is that the modular concept of connecting and radiating elements eases the manufacturing where otherwise integral waveguide antennas require much more demanding processes. Different physical realizations of the modular waveguide concept are presented and discussed in the paper and related to the antenna performance. Beside several applications for the universal antenna toolkit, such as investigating illumination issues in scattering theory, educational aspects of teaching group antenna theory are also discussed in this contribution.
Characterization Of Dual-Band Circularly Polarized Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESA) Using Electro-Optic Field Probes
Electro-optic (EO) probes provide an ultra-wideband, high-resolution, non-invasive technique for polarimetric near-field scanning of antennas and phased arrays. Unlike conventional near field scanning systems which typically involve metallic components, the small footprint all-dielectric EO probes can get extremely close to an RF device under test (DUT) without perturbing its fields. In this paper, we discuss and present measurement results for EO field mapping of a dual-band circularly polarized active phased array that operates at two different S and C bands: 2.1GHz and 4.8GHz. The array uses probe-fed, cross-shaped, patch antenna elements at the S-band and dual-slot-fed rectangular patch elements at the C-band. At each frequency band, the array works both as transmitting and receiving antennas. The antenna elements have been configured as scalable array tiles that are arranged together to create larger apertures. Near-field scan maps and far-field radiation patterns of the dual-band active phased array will be presented at the bore sight and at different scan angles and the results will be validated with simulation data and measurement results from an anechoic chamber.
Advances in Near-Field Test Practices to Characterize Phased Array Antennas
Current and future beam-steerable phased array antennas require broadband frequency range, multiple-beam operation and fast switching speeds. Near-field antenna testing is an efficient tool to rapidly and securely test antenna array performance, but many of the features of current and next-generation electronically steerable antennas require advances in near-field techniques so as to fully characterize and optimize advanced antenna arrays. For example, system requirements often dictate broadband frequency operation, which presents challenges in terms of probe antenna choices and probe-to-test antenna distances to properly characterize and optimize test antennas with a minimal number of scans and thus satisfy stringent customer requirements in a cost- and time-effective manner. Raytheon is developing near-field antenna test measurement techniques tailored to measure the radiation patterns of multiple beams over wide frequency ranges, to expand the range of test data collected for antenna optimization and customer review. Key test design considerations faced in developing advanced near field characterization techniques will be presented. Custom software to integrate antenna control with the near field measurement system is necessary to provide enhanced capability of characterizing multiple beams. Specialized data processing and analysis tools are needed to process thousands of datasets collected from a single scan, in a timely manner.
Experimental Validation of Improved Fragmented Aperture Antennas Using Focused Beam Measurement Techniques
In the late 1990’s, Maloney et al. began investigating the design of highly pixelated apertures whose physical shape and size are optimized using genetic algorithms (GA) and full-wave computational electromagnetic simulation tools (i.e. FDTD) to best meet the required antenna performance specification; i.e. gain, bandwidth, polarization, pattern, etc. [1-3]. Visual inspection of the optimal designs showed that the metallic pixels formed many connected and disconnected fragments. Hence, they coined the term Fragmented Aperture Antennas for this new class of antennas. A detailed description of the Georgia Tech design approach is disclosed in . Since then, other research groups have been successfully designing fragmented aperture antennas for other applications, see [5-6] for two examples. However, the original fragmented design approach suffers from two major deficiencies. First, the placement of pixels on a generalized, rectilinear grid leads to the problem of diagonal touching. That is, pixels that touch diagonally lead to poor measurement/model agreement. Other research groups are also grappling with this diagonal touching issue . Second, the convergence in the GA stage of the design process is poor for high pixel count apertures (>>100). This paper will present solutions to both of these shortcomings. First, alternate approaches to the discretization of the aperture area that inherently avoid diagonal touching will be presented. Second, an improvement to the usual GA mutation step that improves convergence for large pixel count fragmented aperture designs will be presented. Over the last few years, the authors have been involved with developing the use of the focused beam measurement system to measure antenna properties such as gain and pattern . A series of improved, fragmented aperture antenna designs will be measured with the Compass Tech Focused Beam System and compared with the design predictions to validate the designs. References:  J. G. Maloney, M. P. Kesler, P. H. Harms, T. L. Fountain and G. S. Smith, “The fragmented aperture antenna: FDTD analysis and measurement”, Proc. ICAP/JINA Conf. Antennas and Propagation, 2000, pg. 93.  J. G. Maloney, M. P. Kesler, L. M. Lust, L. N. Pringle, T. L. Fountain, and P. H. Harms, “Switched Fragmented Aperture Antennas”, in Proc. 2000 IEEE Antennas and Propagations Symposium, Salt Lake City, 2000, pp. 310-313.  P. Friederich, L. Pringle, L. Fountain, P. Harms, D. Denison, E. Kuster, S. Blalock, G. Smith, J. Maloney and M. Kesler, “A new class of broadband planar apertures,” Proc. 2001 Antenna Applications Symp, Sep 19, 2001, pp. 561-587.  J. G. Maloney, M. P. Kesler, P. H. Harms and G. S. Smith, “Fragmented aperture antennas and broadband antenna ground planes,” U. S. Patent # 6323809, Nov 27, 2001.  N. Herscovici, J. Ginn, T. Donisi, B. Tomasic, “A fragmented aperture-coupled microstrip antenna,” Proc. 2008 Antennas and Propagation Symp, July 2008, pp. 1-4.  B. Thors, H. Steyskal, H. Holter, “Broad-band fragmented aperture phased array element design using genetic algorithms,” IEEE Trans. Antennas Propagation, Vol. 53.10, 2005, pp. 3280-3287.  A. Ellgardt, P. Persson, “Characteristics of a broad-band wide-scan fragmented aperture phased array antenna”, EuCAP 2006, Nov 2006, pp. 1-5.  J. Maloney, J. Fraley, M. Habib, J. Schultz, K. C. Maloney, “Focused Beam Measurement of Antenna Gain Patterns”, AMTA, 2012
Smart Plasma Antenna as an RFID Reader with Built-in Protection against EMI
The smart plasma antenna based on opening and closing antenna windows to create antenna beam steering. It can steer 360 degrees in the azimuthal direction and 180 degrees in the z direction. The smart plasma antenna RFID reader can scan and read both passive and active RFID tags. Furthermore the smart plasma antenna is very compact compared to a phased array because plasma physics is used to steer and shape the antenna beam. The smart plasma antenna can easily fit in a small room where tags are to be read. It meets most SWaP criteria. The smart plasma antenna can have an omnidirectional metal antenna along the central axis such as a dipole or biconical antenna and is surrounded by a cylindrical ring of plasma tubes to shape and steer the antenna beam. The diameter of the smart plasma antenna is approximately one wavelength. When one of the plasma tubes has the plasma extinguished, it creates an aperture for the antenna beam. This is an open plasma window. The other plasma tubes are on with the plasma not extinguished. These plasma tubes with closed plasma windows protect the inside antenna from EMI. EMI is reflected from the closed plasma windows of the smart plasma antenna if the plasma density is high enough so that the plasma frequency is greater than the frequencies of the external EMI. The plasma frequency is proportional to the square root of the unbound electrons and is a measure of the amount of ionization of the plasma. If the inside antenna is a plasma antenna then not only is the beamwidth reconfigurable but the bandwidth is reconfigurable with a reconfigurable center line frequency. The reconfigurable bandwidth is equal to the difference in plasma frequencies from the inside plasma antenna and the plasma frequency of the outside cylindrical ring of plasma tubes. Thus by reconfiguring the relative plasma densities of the inside plasma antenna and the outside ring of plasma tubes, the bandwidth and centerline frequencies get reconfigured. This is useful in an RFID reading when some tags need to be read and others ignored through reconfigurable frequency filtering.
Characterization of Dual-Band Circularly Polarized Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESA) Using Electro-Optic Field Probes
The design of active electronically steered arrays (AESA) is a challenging, time-consuming and costly endeavor. The design process becomes much more sophisticated in the case of dual-band circularly polarized active phased arrays, in which CP radiating elements at two different frequency bands occupy a common shared aperture. A design process that takes into account various inter-element and intra-element coupling effects at different frequency bands currently relies solely on computer simulations. The conventional near-field scanning systems have serious limitations for quantifying these coupling effects mainly due to the invasive nature of their metallic probes, which indeed act as receiving antennas and have to be placed far enough from the antenna under test (AUT) to avoid perturbing the latter’s near fields. In recent years, a unique, versatile, near-field mapping/scanning technique has been introduced that circumvents most of such measurement limitations thanks to the non-invasive nature of the optical probes. This technique uses the linear Pockels effect in certain electro-optic crystals to modulate the polarization state of a propagating optical beam with the RF electric field penetrating and present inside the crystal. In this paper, we will present near-field and far-field measurement data for a dual-band circularly polarized active phased array that operates at two different S and C bands: 2.1GHz and 4.8GHz. The array uses probe-fed, cross-shaped, patch antenna elements at the S-band and dual-slot-fed rectangular patch elements at the C-band. At each frequency band, the array works both as transmitting and receiving antennas. The antenna elements have been configured as scalable array tiles that are patched together to create larger apertures.
Insertion Phase Calibration of Space-Fed Arrays
Calibrating a passive, space-fed, phased array antenna is more difficult and time consuming then calibrating corporate-fed arrays because individual elements cannot be activated or deactivated. We will present our method of determining element state-phase curves and insertion phase bias between elements. We will also explain this method’s theoretical basis and validate it by comparing data measured in an anechoic chamber with data measured in a planar near field range. The anechoic chamber data will be compared with the typical, proven, but more time-consuming planar near field calibration method.
Interrogation Signal Optimization for Improved Classifier Performance when using “RF-DNA” for Non-Destructive Antenna Acceptance Testing
The cost of quality is critical to all industrial processes including microwave device production. Microwave device production is often labor intensive and subject to many production defects. Early detection of these defects can markedly improve production quality and reduce cost. A novel approach to industrial defect detection has been demonstrated using a random noise radar (RNR), coupled with Radio Frequency Distinctive Native Attributes (RF-DNA) fingerprinting processing algorithms to non-destructively interrogate microwave devices. The RNR is uniquely suitable since it uses an Ultra Wideband (UWB) noise waveform as an active interrogation method that will not cause damage to sensitive microwave components and multiple RNRs can operate simultaneously in close proximity, allowing for significant parallelization of defect detection systems. The ability to classify defective microwave antennas and phased array elements (prior to RF system assembly) has been successfully demonstrated and presented at the 36th AMTA symposium. This paper expands on the prior research by focusing on the effects of altering interrogation signal characteristics to include operational bandwidth and signal frequency while actively interrogating similar antennas using an UWB noise signal. The focus of the experimental variation was to optimize classifier performance since unique device characteristics will be excited by various interrogation signal traits that can be exploited by the fingerprint generation and classifier algorithms. Experimentation with several typical UWB antennas and a phased array antenna is demonstrated. The effects of signal bandwidth on classifier performance on simulated fault conditions was performed using various antenna terminations and attenuators. Interrogation of the phased array was demonstrated using the array “backend” for signal down-conversion enabling a quick quality check control method with a simple back-end connection. The ability to wirelessly discriminate multiple fault conditions on individual phased array elements and discern phased array operational range of motion, both in pristine and heavy RFI environments is also shown. This method ensures that each produced phased array meets quality and operational requirements.
Experimental Results for a Fast Method of Active S-Parameter Characterization for Large Uniform Phased Array Antennas
Active S-parameters represent reflection coefficients of elements in an active phased array antenna under various element excitations. Active S-parameters can be calculated for any array excitation if the S-parameter matrix is fully characterized. In practice, the entries of this matrix can usually be gathered through measurements with a 2-port vector network analyzer (VNA). However, depending on the number of elements in the phased array, the number of measurements can be extremely large in order to obtain a full S-matrix. For a phased array consisting of N elements, N(N-1)/2 measurements with a 2-port VNA are required to obtain N-by-N S-matrix, assuming the antenna elements are reciprocal. In order to avoid large number of measurements, a scenario consisting of S-parameter measurements for the center element and also some elements located at the edges and corners of the array is proposed under a flexible predefined error criterion. Then, measured S-parameters are used to obtain N-by-N S-matrix via exploitation of the array symmetry and periodicity which is required to calculate the active S-parameters of the whole array. A fabricated uniform planar Vivaldi array with 112 elements is measured with the proposed scenario and calculated active S-parameters are compared with those obtained from full-wave analysis.
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