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Plane Wave Generator for Direct Far-field Over-The-Air Testing of Devices
The Plane Wave Generator (PWG) is an array of elements with suitably optimized complex coefficients, generating a plane wave in the close proximity of the array. Thus, the PWG achieve far-field testing conditions in a Quiet Zone (QZ) at a reduced distance in a manner similar to what is achieved in a Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) . In this paper, the concept of a high performance, dual polarized PWG supporting up to 10:1 bandwidth is presented for the first time. A prototype of a dual polarized PWG has been designed, manufactured and tested in the 600MHz to 6GHz frequency range. The initial testing results on QZ uniformity and evaluation of possible measurement accuracy are presented.
Some Advantages of Using Bi-directional S-Parameters in Near-Field Measurements 1
The unknown-thru calibration technique is being used to achieve a system level calibration at millimeter wave frequencies (>50 GHz) on the robotic ranges at NIST. This two-port calibration requires the use of a full bi-directional measurement, instead of a traditional single-direction antenna measurement. We explored the value of the additional data acquired. We find that we can use this information to verify antenna/scan alignment, image the scattering from the positioner/facility, and perform a first order correction to the transmission data for uncertainties due to LO cable flexure.
Evaluation of the Monostatic-Bistatic theorem applied to the radar signature of aerial platforms in low frequency
In this paper, we explore the capabilities of the Monostatic-Bistatic Theorem (MBT) applied to Radar Cross Section (RCS) in low frequency. Originally, the validity of this theorem has been shown in high frequency for targets whose RCS is produced by elementary interactions (specular reflection in particular). We are interested in aerial platforms and in particular some Low Observable targets that have relatively "pure" geometries limiting the presence of complex interactions. Several variants of the MBT from the field of electromagnetism  and acoustics  are used. Their performances are compared from data obtained from a MoM method that is recognized to produce accurate scattering data. To highlight the discrepancies produced by the different variants, we use both a metric to compare the quality of the bistatic holograms obtained and also radar imaging which allows locating the areas of the target where the echoes are not correctly restored.
Precision Optical Antenna Alignment System for Tracking Antennas in 6-DOF
We present on an all-optical spatial metrology system , the PiCMM, that aids in the alignment and tracking of antennas with accuracies on the order of 25 microns and 0.01 deg. This system speeds up millimeter-wave antenna alignment, does not require contact, and links spatial measurements to a laser tracker world coordinate frame. An automated Pixel Probe and dark-field imaging are used to directly measure the aperture geometry and its pose. These measurements are absolute in the world-frame of a laser tracker and associated coordinate metrol-ogy space of the antenna scanner. Thus, aperture geometries can be linked directly to any laser tracker target (i.e. 6DOF, 3DOF) and data such as that used to calibrate positioner kinematics. For example, the links and joints defining the Denavit-Hartenberg kinematic model of a robotic arm scanner. The new automated aspect of the system reduces alignment time to under an hour. The synergy with laser tracker targets allows for a high level of repeatability. Furthermore, antennas can be exchanged or realigned in the antenna scanner autonomously because antenna geometry and kinematic models reside in the same laser tracker coordinate metrology space.
Conex Antenna, Radar, and Measurement Equipment Lab
The Conex Antenna, Radar, and Measurement Equipment Lab (CARAMEL) is a ten-element VHF antenna array that operates from 30 MHz-120 MHz with an attached lab space. This array was developed for use in low frequency Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements. The antenna elements support both vertical and horizontal polarizations. The antenna was designed using a genetic algorithm, employing the fragmented aperture technique; measured and modeled data will be presented. The attached lab space is air conditioned and provisioned for rack mounted equipment. The structure uses a modified 20' Conex shipping container where an entire sidewall has been replaced with a reinforced composite radome for the antennas. The overall mechanical frame design included a Finite Element Analysis to ensure structural integrity. The system is intended for long-term standalone use as an outdoor measurement radar system but can be moved using standard shipping container methods. The structure was shipped using a standard cargo carrier from Atlanta, Georgia to White Sands, New Mexico.
A Novel S-band Two-Layer Dielectric Rod Antenna with High Gain and Very Low Cross-polarization
In this paper, the concept of a new S-band dual-polarized dielectric rod antenna is discussed. The antenna is composed of two concentric dielectric cylinders. The inner dielectric presents high dielectric constant, while the outer has a lower dielectric constant. Given this configuration, the resulting antenna provides high gain, narrow beamwidth, large bandwidth, and very low cross-polarization. In addition, the antenna is lower size in the transversal dimensions, and is predicted to be lighter than other antennas that provide equivalent performance, especially at low frequencies (S-band). An antenna with such an architecture can be 3D-printed, and therefore, the cost for the fabrication are considerable low. Numerical results of the antenna performance are presented and discussed.
Improved Nearfield Gain Measurement of High Gain Antennas Using Directivity and Loss Technique
Antenna gain is the product of directivity and antenna loss. Antenna gain is typically measured by comparing the antenna under test (AUT) to a standard gain horn (SGH) or direct gain measurement using a calibrated probe. This requires an accurate account of power into the AUT and SGH, the loss of all test cables and switches must be measured to obtain an accurate AUT gain. Additionally, SGH calibration uncertainty reduces the quality of the measurement. The gain measurement technique describe here exploits the near-field range capability of accurately producing the pattern of high gain antennas. The near-field range allows the full wave capture of antenna aperture fields and transformation to the far-field with high resolution. The new technique uses the directivity obtained by integrating the far-field pattern, accounts for the spill-over energy not measured by the near-field range, and uses measured network losses of the AUT. It does not require measured losses of test cables and switches. Since AUT losses are typically measured as part of antenna integration the technique reduces overall measurement burden. Accurate calculation of spill-over energy is the key to success. The technique has been shown to yield better accuracy than the typical gain calibration method for multi-beam high gain antennas.
Adjustment of the Cross-Polarization Null Position in a Single-Offset Reflector Compact Antenna Test Range
A single-offset reflector compact antenna test range (CATR) is a widely used setup for the measurement of antennas in far-field conditions. It is well known that in quiet zone (QZ) of the CATR, the cross-polarized field has a deep null along the direction of the feed offset, but it rises to about-25dB to-30dB in perpendicular direction, at the edges of the QZ. In those situations, when the AUT cannot be located in the middle of the QZ, but appears shifted towards the edge of the QZ, either due to its mounting structure, or because it is mounted on a platform, the CATR cross-pol effect can be significant and not acceptable for a given application. In this paper, it is shown that the location of the cross-pol null in the QZ is directly dependent on the CATR feed polarization orientation. In particular, by changing the feed polarization within +/-1 deg, the location of the cross-pol null can be moved across the QZ to any desired place. The other characteristics of the QZ are not affected. The results of simulations and some representative measurements are included in this paper.
Extending the Scan Volume of Planar Near-Field Scanners with AUT Rotation
Planar near-field ranges are popular facilities to evaluate far-field antenna patterns. These ranges typically have the scanner plane parallel to the Antenna Under Test (AUT). Having the scanner plane parallel to the AUT can limit the maximum far-field angles that can be properly measured due to the mechanical extents over which the range can accommodate. This paper summarizes a test approach where the AUT is rotated in the near-field such that sufficient energy is concentrated within the range extents, ultimately resulting in an accurate far-field pattern. Measured results will be shown which demonstrate the limitations of the current testing approach, as well as the benefits of the near-field rotation approach.
DTU-ESA Spherical Near-Field Antenna Test Facility -2017/18 Upgrade and Validation Measurements with the DTU-ESA VAST12 Antenna
This paper documents the various elements of the 2017/18 upgrade and presents results from the performance validation measurements with the DTU-ESA 12 GHz Validation Standard antenna conducted before and after the upgrade. The upgrade concerned several major improvements to the building infrastructure, the ventilation system, the antenna positioner, and the probe positioner. The validation measurements involved the averaging of measurements at different distances between the antenna under test and the probe to compensate the multiple reflections between these. This in turn necessitated the investigation of the compensation of the system drift between the measurements and of the sensitivity of the probe calibration to the position of the probe on the probe positioner.
Multi-Objective Optimization of a Reconfigurable Antenna Using a Closed-Loop Planar Near Field Measurement Technique
Empirical optimization of software reconfigurable antennas having hundreds of degrees of freedom demands rapid measurement, especially when multiple objectives, e.g. gain at multiple angles and polarizations, are included. This paper describes a measurement technique and process flow for rapid optimization of antenna performance. Previously, such evaluation with mechanical scanning was slow and impractical. The technique is enabled by closed-loop automation of an electronically scanned near field measurement system that determines the hemispherical radiation pattern of a given antenna state in approximately 1 second. In this way thousands of antenna states are evaluated per hour. This paper presents measurements of antenna states optimized using the new technique, and results are compared to measurements of states optimized by the usual far field technique.
Validation of Additive Manufacturing for Broadband Choked Horns at X/Ku Band by Extensive Antenna Measurements
Additive manufacturing has become a popular alternative to traditional CAM techniques, as it has reached a suitable maturity and accuracy for microwave applications. The main advantage of the additive technologies is that the manufacturing can be performed directly from the 3D CAD model, available from the numerical simulation of the antenna, without significant modifications. This is a highly desirable feature, in particular for time and cost critical applications such as prototyping and manufacturing of small quantities of antennas. Different 3D-printing/additive manufacturing technologies are available in industry today. The purpose of the paper is an investigation on the accuracy and repeatability of the Selective Laser Melting (SLM) manufacturing technique applied to the construction of a batch of 15 broad band fully metallic chocked horns, operating at X/Ku band, manufactured in parallel. Manufacturing accuracy and repeatability has been evaluated using RF parameters as performance indicators comparing measured data and high accuracy simulations. The radiation patterns have been correlated to the numerical reference using the Equivalent Noise Level, while manufacturing repeatability is quantified on input matching by defining an interference level. These indicators have also been compared to state-of-the-art values commonly found for traditional manufacturing.
Over-the-Air Performance Evaluation of NB-IoT in Reverberation Chamber and Anechoic Chamber
NB-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things) is a narrowband radio technology showing very different characteristics compared with traditional wireless protocols. For the first time based on authors' best knowledge, this paper compares the Over-the-Air (OTA) performance of NB-IoT in the Reverberation Chamber (RC) and Anechoic Chamber (AC), which involves two major RF test environment variations in the OTA test arena. In this paper, the Total Radiated Power (TRP) and Total Isotropic Sensitivity (TIS), related to the transmitter and receiver performance of NB-IoT, respectively, are investigated. For TIS test, an early exit algorithm with 95% confidence level based on Chi-Square distribution has been developed to improve the test speed. The test results show a good match (Within CTIA allowed measurement uncertainty) between AC and RC. Our analysis also includes several key parameters, such as test repeatability, measurement uncertainty, and test time, which gives a comprehensive comparison of different aspects between RC and AC for NB-IoT OTA test. It could be noticed as well that the early exit algorithm based on Chi-Square distribution improves the test time performance significantly without compromising the test accuracy.
Coupling Suppression and Measurements on a Millimeter Wave Cylindrical Repeater
This paper discusses some aspects of isolation improvement and associated measurements on a cylindrical millimeter-wave repeater operating over K, Ka and V bands. The isolation between the transmitting and receiving antennas is improved by means of reactive impedance surface implemented as tapered depth corrugations. The designed tapered depth profile broadens bandwidth of the surface compared to the traditional quarter wavelength corrugations. Required isolation of 80 dB and large electrical size of the platform make numerical analysis and actual measurements challenging. Details of the analysis and measurements are summarized. Along with external coupling, the coupling due to leakages from waveguide components and antennas is also discussed. Measurements confirm that the design goal isolation is accomplished.
Implementation of a Technique for Computing Antenna System Noise Temperature Using Planar Near-Field Data
This paper presents the second phase of the development of a new measurement technique to determine antenna system noise temperature using data acquired from a planar near-field measurement. In the first phase, it was shown that the noise temperature can be obtained using the plane-wave spectrum of the planar near-field data and focusing on the portion of the spectrum in the evanescent region or "imaginary space". Actual evanescent modes are highly attenuated in the latter region and therefore the spectrum in this region must be produced by "errors" in the measured data. Some error sources such as multiple reflections will produce distinct localized lobes in the evanescent region and these are recognized and correctly identified by using a data point spacing of less than /2 to avoid aliasing errors in the far-field pattern. It has been observed that the plane wave spectrum beyond these localized lobes becomes random with a uniform average power. This region of the spectrum must be produced by random noise in the near-field data that is produced by all sources of thermal noise in the electronics and radiated noise sources received by the antenna. By analysing and calibrating this portion of the spectrum in the evanescent region the near-field noise power can be deduced and the corresponding noise temperature determined. In the current phase of tests, planar near-field data has been acquired on a measurement system and the analysis applied to determine the system noise parameters. Measurements have been performed with terminations inserted at three different locations in the RF receiving path: the IF input to the receiver, the input to the mixer and the input to the probe that is transmitting to a centre-fed reflector antenna. The terminations consist of either a load that serves as the "cold" noise source or a noise source with a known noise output for the "hot" noise source.
Optimized Compact Antenna Test Range with Short Focal Length for Measuring Large L/Ku-Band Active Antennas
A new Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) has been built, as a turnkey facility, with a cubic quiet zone (QZ) of 4.8m x 4.8m x 4.8m in the frequency range 0.9-18 GHz. The CATR has been installed in a new building with an isolated and stable foundation. The dimensions of a traditional CATR for such QZ size becomes impractical and requires a very large chamber. A new, diagonally fed, short focal length reflector has been developed to minimize the chamber size to fit the dimensions of 22 m x 14.5 m x 14.5 m.
Reference Chip Antenna for 5G Measurement Facilities at mm-Wave
In this paper, we present a chip antenna in the 27GHz band, targeting 5G measurements. This antenna can be used as reference in mm-wave measurement systems, such as the MVG µ-Lab, feeding the antenna under test through a micro-probe station. The reference antenna is employed to calibrate in gain through the substitution method. The antenna shown in this paper is an array of four patches, fed through a strip-line beam forming network. A transition strip-line to coplanar waveguide allows the antenna be fed by the micro-probe.
Top-fed P-band Dual Circular Polarization Patch Antenna Design
This paper discusses about the design, fabrication and testing of a compact P-band (370 MHz) dual circular polarization (CP) patch antenna. The antenna is intended for reflectometry applications by measuring both direct and ground reflected 370 MHz signals transmitted from a satellite or airborne source. This design adopts quadrature-phase hybrid feeding network for achieving excellent polarization purity and supporting simultaneously LHCP and RHCP measurements. Another novel design aspect is placing the feeding network on top of the patch so that the antenna can be mounted directly on a ground plane. Therefore, the resonant modes inside the patch is excited from the top instead of from ground plane as in conventional designs. High dielectric material (ECCOSTOCK®HiK) with a dielectric constant of 9 and loss tangent of 0.002 was used as the substrate to reduce the antenna size. The final antenna has a dimension of 5.9" x 5.9" x 1.3" (excluding ground plane) and weight of 1620 gram. The measured performance on a 1-foot diameter circular ground plane showed 4.5 dBic gain and 23 dB co-polarization to cross-polarization isolation at the center frequency for both LHCP and RHCP. The 1-dB gain bandwidth is approximately 3.7%.
Near Field Reconstruction for Electromagnetic Exposure of 5G Communication Devices
Compliance with regulatory exposure requirements of power density for 5G systems will need accurate measurements. In this work a near field measurement technique for electromagnetic exposure of 5G communication devices is presented. The technique requires two measurements, one of a device under test and one of a small aperture as a calibration measurement. The method uses method of moments and involves reconstructing equivalent currents on a predefined surface. These currents are then used to generate and propagate the electromagnetic fields to an arbitrary plane and further compute the power density. The measurement data are obtained through a planar scan of a device under test using a probe and probe calibration using a small aperture to obtain an accurate field with absolute positioning. Measurement data is presented and compared with simulations for several distances and two antennas, operating at 28 GHz and 60 GHz. The computed power density agrees well with simulations.
Imaging a Range's Stray Signals with a Planar Scanner
The fundamental purpose of absorber treatment in an anechoic chamber is to ensure that only the direct-path signal is coupled between the range antenna(s) and the device under test. For many simple and standard geometries, this is readily accomplished with conventional processes and procedures. When the geometry and/or stray-signal requirements deviate from the norm, however, it can be very beneficial to have an easy and reliable way to locate and quantify sources of stray signals. This paper discusses a straightforward algorithm for creating images of those stray signals in a range when a planar scanner and broad-beamed probe are available in the test zone. Measured data from multiple facilities are evaluated, along with absorber-treatment improvements made based on some of the images produced.
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