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Filtering Antenna-to-Antenna Reflections in Antenna Extrapolation Measurements
At NIST, we have developed a precision, wide-band, mmWave modulated-signal source with traceability to primary standards. We are now extending the traceability path for this modulated-signal source into free space to be used for verifying over-the-air measurements in 5G, wireless receivers. However, to obtain a traceable modulated signal in free space, the full scattering matrix of the radiating antenna must be measured. We have extended the extrapolation methods used at NIST, based on the work of Newell, et al. . The extrapolation measurement provides a very accurate, far-field, on-axis, scattering matrix between two antennas. When combined with scattering-matrix measurements made with permutations of pairs of three antennas, far-field scattering, and, thus, gain, is obtained for each antenna. This allows an accurate extrapolation of the antenna’s near-field pattern. We have incorporated the extrapolation fitting algorithms into a Monte Carlo uncertainty engine called the NIST Microwave Uncertainty Framework (MUF) . The MUF provides a framework to cascade scattering matrices from various elements, while propagating uncertainties and maintaining any associated correlations. By incorporating the extrapolation measurements, and the three-antenna method into the MUF, we may provide traceability of all measurement associated with the gain, including the scattering parameters. In this process, we studied several aspects of the gain determination. In this work, we show simulations determining the efficacy of filtering to reduce the effect of multiple reflection on the extrapolation fits. We also show comparisons of using only amplitude (as is traditionally done) to using the full complex data to determine gain. Finally, we compare uncertainties associated with choices in the number of expansion terms, systematic alignment errors, uncertainties in vector network analyzer calibrations and measurements, and phase error introduced by cable movement. With these error mechanisms and their respective correlations, we illustrate the NIST MUF analysis of the antenna scattering-matrix with data at 118 GHz.  A. C. Newell, R. C. Baird, and P. Wacker “Accurate Measurement of Antenna Gain and Polarization at reduced distances by an extrapolation technique” IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. Vol. 21, No 4, July 1973 pp. 418-431.  D. F. Williams, NIST Microwave Uncertainty Framework, Beta Version. NIST, Boulder, CO, USA, Jun. 2014. [Online]. Available: http://www.nist.gov/pml/electromagnetics/related-software.cfm
A Broadband Patch Antenna with an Anisotropic Superstrate - Design and Measurement Challenges
Microstrip patch antennas are well known in the field of communications and other areas where antennas are used. They consist of a metallic conducting surface deposited onto a grounded dielectric substrate and are widely used in situations where a conformal antenna is desired. They are also popular antennas for array applications. But most patch antennas are typically resonant structures owing to the standing wave of current that forms on them. This resonant behavior limits the impedance bandwidth of the antenna to a few percent. In this paper we shall present an approach for improving the bandwidth of a resonant patch antenna which employs an engineered anisotropic superstrate. By proper design of this superstrate and its tensor, and proper alignment of it with the axis of the patch, an antenna with improved impedance bandwidth results. Some of the challenges associated with the measurement of the anisotropic superstrate will be discussed, ranging from 3D simulations to physical models tested in the laboratory. A final working model of the antenna will be discussed; this model consists of a stacked patch arrangement and was designed to operate at the GPS L1 and L2 frequencies. Data collected from 3D simulations using CST Microwave Studio along with laboratory and anechoic chamber measurements will be presented, showing how the bandwidth at both of these frequencies can be increased while maintaining circular polarization in both passbands. Tolerance to errors in alignment and fabrication will also be presented. Additionally, some lessons learned on anechoic chamber measurements of the antenna’s gain and axial ratio will be discussed.
A 60 GHz Dual-Polarized Probe for Spherical Near-Field Measurements
In millimeter wave near-field measurements dual polarized probe system can be used with some of the advantages: the two electric field components are simultaneously measured within a single scan, amplitude and phase drift affects the two polarization components in the same way and there is no need of mechanical rotation of the probe. Today at DTU-ESA Facility we have dual-polarized probes in range 400MHz-40GHz and this study is part of extending the operational frequency range of the DTU-ESA Facility up to 60GHz. First order µ = ± 1 rotationally symmetric probes are desired because they employ an efficient data-processing and measurement scheme. In this work we design and test at DTU-ESA Facility a dual polarized first order probe system at 60GHz - a conical horn, including the elements: a pin diode SPDT (single pole double throw) switch up to 67GHz from Ducommun an OMT (ortho-mode transducer) from Sage Millimeter in 50-75GHz band with square waveguide antenna port (3.75mm) a square to circular transition (3.75mm to 3.58mm) from Sage Millimeter which is integrated between the OMT and conical horn 1.85mm connector cables up to 75GHz and two coaxial to waveguide adapters to connect the switch to the OMT from Flann Microwave To ensure accurate measurements at 60GHz, the hardware components were selected to provide a low cross polarization of the probe, the switch and the OMT having 40dB isolation between ports. The path loss at 60GHz is 83dB for a 6m distance and to compensate for such a loss, a 26dB gain is desired for the conical horn, which is simulated using WIPL-D software and in-house manufactured. The 60GHz dual-polarized probe is currently being assembled and will be tested in both planar and spherical near-field setups. In the full version of the paper calibration results will be shown but also results from using the probe as a probe for the measurement of a 60GHz AUT.
Characterization of a Photonics E-Field Sensor as a Near-Field Probe
In this paper, we explore the possibility of using a photonics-based E-field sensor as a near-field probe. Relative to open-ended waveguide (OEWG) probes, a photonics probe could offer substantially larger bandwidths. In addition, since it outputs an optical signal, a photonics probe can offer signal transport through optical fiber with much lower loss than what can be achieved using RF cables. We begin with a discussion of the theory of the device followed by a summary of results of a photonics sensor that was tested in a spherical near-field (SNF) range. In these tests, data were collected with the photonics probe in the test antenna position to characterize various probe parameters including polarization discrimination, probe gain, effective dynamic range, and probe patterns. In the same set of tests, the photonics device was placed in the probe position in the range and used to measure patterns of two different antennas: a standard gain horn and a slotted waveguide array antenna. The resultant patterns are shown and compared to patterns collected with traditional RF probes. We conclude the paper with a discussion of some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a photonics probe in a practical system based on the lessons learned in the SNF testing.
Dual-Polarized Probe with Full Octave Bandwidth and Minimum Scattering for Planar Near Field Measurements
Dual polarized probes with wide bandwidth operational capabilities are convenient for accurate and time efficient Planar Near Field (PNF) antenna testing. Nevertheless, traditional probe designs are often limited in terms of bandwidth and their electrically large size leads to high scattering in PNF measurements with short probe-AUT distances. An innovative octave band probe design is presented in this paper with minimum scattering characteristics. The scattering minimization is mainly obtained by an electrically small and axially symmetric aperture of 0.4? diameter at the lowest frequency. The aperture provide a near constant directivity in the full bandwidth and very low cross polar. The probe is fed by a balanced ortho-mode junction (OMJ) with external feeding circuitry to obtain high polarization purity. This paper discuss the design considerations, technical and implementation trade-offs and show experimental results on the manufactured hardware.
Antenna Near-Field Measurement within Electrically Close Distance Using a Novel Probe Design
When antenna near-field (NF) measurement within small electrical distance is needed, such as miniaturization of the measurement device or measurement of a low-frequency DUT, the coaxial cables connected to the probes will significantly but inevitably disturb the fields. The measurement accuracy is therefore compromised. In this paper, a novel probe design is proposed by replacing coaxial cable with optical fiber to minimize the disturbance. In this design, the RF-over-Fiber (RoF) technology is applied in signal transmission with Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL) and photodiode (PD) as the transmitter and receiver respectively. The VCSEL is powered via optical fiber with Power-over-Fiber (PoF) technology. A power laser emits optical power which is guided by optical fiber to illuminate a miniaturized photovoltaic (PV) element. The PV element serves as a voltage source for the VCSEL. A spherical, multi-probe, NF measurement design with 60cm-diameter is built for portable DUT operated between 0.6 to 2.6GHz. There are 64 probes installed along the two arches for both theta and phi polarizations, so mechanical rotation is needed only on phi axis. Thanks to the high RF transparency of the probes, there is no need to wrap absorbers around the probes to shield the cables. Another spherical NF measurement prototype is also under development. It is half-spherical (10m-diameter) for large DUT, such as vehicles, with low frequency antenna, namely, 70MHz to 600MHz. At this frequency range, to the best of our knowledge, there is no effective and accurate way to measure the radiation performance because the disturbance on the EM fields by the coaxial cables is obviously not negligible.
High Performance Dual Polarized Near-Field Probe at V-Band Provides Increased Performances for Millimeter Wave Spherical Near-Field Measurements
The expanding market for millimeter wave antennas is drivinga need for high performance near-field antenna measurement systems at these frequencies. Traditionally at millimeter waves, acquisition of two orthogonal polarizations have been achieved through mechanical rotation of a single polarized probe and an associated frequency conversion module. This generally results in the collection of two complete spherical data sets, one for each polarization,with both acquisitions significantly separated in time. To enable improvements in both measurement speed and accuracy, MVG have developed a new high performance dual polarized feed in V-band (50GHz-75GHz). This probe has been integrated in a millimeter wave Spherical Near-Field (SNF) system via two parallel receiver channels that are simultaneously sampled. This architecture more than doubles the acquisition speed and additionally ensures that the two polarization components are sampled at precisely the same point in space and time. This is particularly important when performing accurate polarization analysis (e.g. conversion of dual linear polarization to spherical/elliptical polarizations). The two measurement channels are calibrated via radiated boresight measurements over a range of polarization angles, generating a four term “ortho-mode” correction matrix vs. frequency. The SNF probe is based on an axially corrugated aperture providing a medium gain pattern (14dBi). The probe provides symmetric cuts and low cross-polarization levels in the diagonal planes. The directivity/beam-width of the aperture has been tailored to the measurement system, ensuring proper AUT illumination and sufficient gain to compensate for free space path loss. Dual polarization capability is achieved with an integrated turnstile OMT feeding directly into the probe circular waveguide and a conical matching stub at the bottom. Thanks to the balanced feed used for each polarization, the port-to-port coupling is sufficiently low to allow for simultaneous acquisition of the two linear field components. Input ports are based on standard WR-15 waveguide to simplify the integration with the front-end (dual channel receiver). The paper will present the detailed description and measured performances of the new dual polarized SNF probe. Additionally, measurement time and achieved accuracy will be compared between the single polarization probe architecture and the dual polarized probe installed in the same spherical near-field antenna measurement system.
An Experimental and Computational Investigation of High-Accuracy Calibration Techniques for Gain Reference Antennas
Gain is a principal property of antennas; it is essential in establishing the link budget for communication and sensing systems through its presence in Friis’ transmission formula and the radar range equation. The experimental determination of antenna gain is most often based on a gain-transfer technique involving a reference antenna for which the gain has been calibrated to high accuracy; this is typically a pyramidal horn antenna . The required accuracy of antenna gain obviously depend on the application; in some cases it can very high, ±0.1 dB or less, and this implies an even higher accuracy, of the order of ±0.01dB, for the gain reference antenna. This work investigates the accuracy to which a gain reference antenna can be calibrated; the investigation is based on experimental spherical near-field antenna measurements  and computational integral equation / method of moments simulations . While calibration of gain reference antennas has been studied in many previous works, even works from early 1950s -, this work is novel in systematically supporting measurements with full-wave simulations. Such simulations facilitate the study of e.g. the effect of multiple reflections between antennas at short distances. We study two absolute calibration techniques for the gain of pyramidal horn antennas. The first technique determines gain as the product of directivity and radiation efficiency; this technique has been referred to as the pattern integration technique  (which is not an entirely adequate designation since gain cannot be determined from the radiation pattern). The second technique determines the gain from Friis’ transmission formula  for two identical antennas; this technique is generally referred to as the two-antenna technique . These two calibration techniques involve very different steps and contain very different sources of error; for both techniques our investigation involves measurements as well as simulations. For the pattern integration technique we compare experimental and computational results for the directivity and demonstrate agreement within one-hundredth of a dB. The radiation efficiency is calculated by different techniques based on the surface impedance boundary condition for the metallic walls of the pyramidal horn. This technique is not influenced by proximity effects or by impedance mismatch between the measurement system and the gain reference antenna. For the two-antenna techniques we compare experimental and computational results for the gain and we compare the calculated distance-dependence with that of the extrapolation technique . It is demonstrated how the use of the phase center distance in Friis’ transmission formula notably decreases the necessary separation between the antennas for a required accuracy, but that multiple reflections may then become a limiting factor. This technique is highly influenced by the impedance mismatch that must be accurately accounted for. We compare the gain values resulting from the pattern integration technique and the two-antenna technique, including their very different uncertainty estimates, for a C-band standard gain horn. The work is related to an on-going ESA project at the DTU-ESA Spherical Near-Field Antenna Test Facility for the on-ground calibration of the scatterometer antennas of the EUMETSAT MetOp Second Generation B-series satellites. IEEE Standard – Test Procedures for Antennas, Std 149-1979, IEEE & John Wiley & Sons, 1979. J.E. Hansen, “Spherical Near-Field Antenna Measurements”, Peter Perigrinus Ltd., London 1987. www.wipl-d.com W.C. Jakes, “Gain of Electromagnetic Horns”, Proceedings of the IRE, pp. 160-162, February 1951. E.H. Braun, “Gain of Electromagnetic Horns”, Proceedings of the IRE, pp. 109-115, January 1953. W.T. Slayton, “Design and Calibration of Microwave Antenna Gain Standards”, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington D.C., November 1954. A. Ludwig, J. Hardy, and R. Norman, “Gain Calibration of a Horn Antenna Using Pattern Integration”, Technical Report 32-1572, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, October 1972. H.T. Friis, “A Note on a Simple Transmission Formula”, Proceedings of the I.R.E. and Waves and Electrons, pp. 254-256, May 1946. A.C. Newell, R.C. Baird, P.F. Wacker, “Accurate Measurement of Antenna Gain and Polarization at Reduced Distances by an Extrapolation Technique”, IEEE Transactions on Antenna and Propagation, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 418-431, July 1973.
Dipole-Field Simulations: Evaluation of NIST Spherical Near-Field Software
We use a simple program to compute fields radiated by a collection of elementary electromagnetic dipoles located at arbitrary points within the measurement sphere. The simulated measurement data have been used to provide a direct and convincing demonstration of the accuracy and robustness of both the standard and position compensated NIST SNF code.
Eliminate Celestial Noise Sources in Your SatCom G/T Measurements
The current method of measuring system G/T performance is with the use of celestial noise sources (sun and cold sky). This paper details a method using man-made noise sources to measure system performance within an anechoic chamber, followed by an outdoor measurement to obtain G/T performance in a real world operational environment. A simple method is presented and equations derived that relate system performance in unknown environments to performance with known noise sources.
On the Fly Multifrequency Measurements in Spherical Near Field Systems
This paper presents a technique for reduction the acquisition time in the measurement of antennas in spherical near field systems using multifrequency on-the-fly acquisitions. When these acquisitions are performed, a shift in the pattern is performed. This shift appears in polarization when the scan is in roll axis, or in pointing direction when the scan is azimuth or elevation axis. In any case, this shift has to be corrected in order to compensate the different trigger time for each frequency point. This paper presents a technique for compensating this rotation in spherical near field system, by rotation of the radiation pattern in the scan axis through an easy calculation of the that shift.
Using Standard Wideband Antennas as Probe in Spherical Near Field Measurements with Full Probe Correction: Experimental Validation
Full probe compensation techniques for Spherical Near Field (SNF) measurements have recently been proposed [1-5]. With such techniques, even antennas with more than decade bandwidth are suitable probes in most systems. The abolition of otherwise frequent probe changes during multi-service campaigns is a highly desirable feature for modern measurement applications such as automotive. In this paper, a standard dual-ridge horn with 15:1 bandwidth is investigated experimentally as probe in a SNF automotive range. The accuracy of the probe compensation technique is validated by comparison to standard single probe measurement.
A Compressed Sampling for Spherical Near-Field Measurements
Spherical near-field measurements are regarded as the most accurate technique for the characterization of an Antenna Under Tests (AUT) radiation. The AUT's far-field radiation characteristics can be calculated from the Spherical Mode Coefficients (SMC), or spherical wave coefficients, determined from near-field data. The disadvantage of this technique is that, for the calculation of the SMC, a whole sphere containing the AUT must be Nyquist-sampled, thus directly implying a longer measurement time when only a few cuts are of interest. Due to antennas being spatially band-limited, they can be described with a finite number of SMC. Besides, the vector containing the SMC can be proved sparse under certain circumstances, e.g., if the AUT's radiation pattern presents information redundancy, such as an electrical symmetry with respect to coordinate system of the measurement. In this paper, a novel sampling strategy is proposed and is combined with compressed-sensing techniques, such as basis pursuit solvers, to retrieve the sparse SMC. The retrieved sparse SMC are then used to obtain the AUT's far-field radiation. The resulting far-field pattern is compared for both simulated and measured data. The reduced number of points needed for the presented sampling scheme is compared with classical equiangular sampling, together with the estimated acquisition time. The proposed sampling scheme improves the acquisition time with a reasonable error.
Spherical Phaseless Probe-Corrected Near-Field Measurements of the DTU-ESA VAST12 Reflector Antenna
An experimental case of spherical probe-corrected phaseless near-field measurements with the two-scans technique is presented, based on magnitude measurements at two surfaces of the VAST12 reflector antenna performed at the DTU-ESA Facility. Phase retrieval using strictly the directly measured near-field magnitude was unfeasible in this setup, due to the small sphere separation allowed by the probe positioner, which led to incorrect and excessively slow convergence. Phase retrieval with larger separation between spheres has shown remarkable results. For these tests a measured magnitude was used in combination with calculated near-field magnitudes at different (larger and smaller) spheres with larger separations than allowed by the experimental setup. It has been seen that larger separation between measurement spheres improves accuracy of phase retrieval. A measurement with a backprojected measurement with 3 m sphere separation is of particular interest because it can be potentially replicated in the DTU-ESA Facility assuming such range of movement was allowed, while being accurate down to an error of less than-35dB. Measurements with larger spheres show even better accuracy. These good results were obtained with the normal spatial sampling rate for complex measurements and with a very simple Hertzian dipole initial guess, and show the superior performance of spherical phaseless measurements with the two-scans technique, compared to a planar setup.
Compact Antenna Measurement Range for OTA testing of Active Antenna System Base Stations
Measurement scenarios for 5G mobile communications are nowadays challenging the industry to define suitable turn-key solutions that allow Over the Air (OTA) testing of non-connectorized devices. In order to respond to the needs of an effective measurement solution, that allow measuring all the required OTA parameters at both sub6GHz and mm-Wave frequencies and that could be deployed in a very short time, the Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) was chosen. In this paper, we will summarize the performance and the testing capabilities of a short focal-length, corner-fed CATR design, providing a 1.5 m x 1.5 m cylindrical Quiet Zone, operating from 1.7 GHz to 40 GHz and upgradeable to 110 GHz, allowing OTA measurements of Active Antenna System (AAS) Base Stations (BS), installed at Ericsson premises in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017.
A New Formulation for Three Antenna Polarization Measurements
In this contribution the signal received by an antenna is understood as an inner product built by the polarization vectors of the involved antennas. By using a suitable unitary transformation the polarization efficiency can be straightforwardly calculated without additional assumptions. By solving an eigenvalue problem given by a unitary operator which represents a rotation, a simple and illustrative interpretation is possible. The formulation is applied to derive the well-known relations of the improved three antenna polarization measurement technique given by Allen C. Newell, which is mainly based on the measurement of relative power levels. Some measurement results and the calculation of the achievable measurement accuracy are presented.
Geometric Effects on Radar Echoes from a Corner Reflector
Radar data on the complete polarimetric responses from a 4" dihedral corner reflector from 4 to 18 GHz have been collected and studied. As a function of the azimuth, the vertically suspended object may present itself to the radar as a dihedral, a flat plate, an edge, a wedge, or combinations of these. A two-dimensional method-of-moment (2-D MOM) code is used to model the perfectly electrical conducting (PEC) body, which allows us to closely simulate the radar responses and to provide insight for the data interpretation. Of particular interest are the frequency and angular dependences of the responses which yield information about the downrange separation of the dominant scattering centers, as well as their respective odd-or even-bounce nature. Use of the corner reflector as a calibration target is discussed.
Specular Reflectance and Antenna Property Measurements in 325-500 GHz Frequency Range
Specular reflectance data of indoor interior materials is a prerequisite to analysis of the channel characteristics for new millimeter and submillimeter indoor wireless communications. Antenna property such as gain and radiation pattern is one of the key measurement quantities in electromagnetic wave metrology. This paper describes a specular reflectance and antenna property measurement system and shows measurement results of the specular reflectance of an Acetal plate and the antenna property of a 24 dB horn antenna in 325-500 GHz frequency range.
Equivalent Sources Based Near-Field Far-Field Transformation Above Dielectric Half Space
In order to support near-field measurements of automobile antennas in as realistic as possible environments, an equivalent sources based near-field far-field transformation approach for near-field measurements above a possibly lossy dielectric half-space is presented and evaluated. Different possibilities for considering the half-space influence are discussed, where an approach with an appropriate half-space Green's function is found to be most accurate, as expected. The formulation of the equivalent sources transformation approach with the half-space Green's function and a formulation with free-space Green's function together with equivalent sources representation of the half-space influence are discussed and a variety of results are presented in order to corroborate the feasibility of the various approaches.
Reflection-Based Inverse Scattering Image Reconstruction for Non-Destructive Testing
Non-destructive testing (NDT) is a fundamental step in the production chain of aircraft structural components since it can save both money and time in product evaluation and troubleshooting. This paper presents a reflection-based imaging technique for electromagnetic (EM) testing of composite panels, with the device under test (DUT) being metal backed and both the transmitting and receiving components of the NDT system situated on the same side of the DUT. One of the key properties of the presented technique is the complete redundancy of a reference measurement, thereby making it feasible to retrieve a high quality image of the DUT with only a single measurement. Data for both a proof-of-concept DUT and an industrially manufactured composite panel is provided, and the retrieved images show the applicability of both the measurement technique and the imaging algorithms.
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