Institut d'Électronique et de Télécommunications de Rennes

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Phased arrays antenna with significant reduction of amplitude / phase controls

Doctorant : Francesco SCATTONE.

Directeur de thèse : Ronan SAULEAU.

Thèse débutée le : 01/10/2012.

Context and overview of the problem :

Phased array antennas are of great interest for applications requiring flexibility (coverage reconfiguration, electrical beam scanning). Still, their use in space applications, either as ground terminals or on board of a satellite, is often limited by the large size of the required antenna aperture, resulting in a large number of single array elements.

Techniques, including thinned and sparse arrays, have been widely investigated as a mean to reduce the number of array elements and/or amplitude/phase controls, thus reducing the overall antenna complexity while maintaining acceptable side-lobes and grating-lobes levels. But these solutions usually suffer from reduced antenna aperture efficiency. As a consequence, for a given directivity requirement, thinned or sparse arrays often need larger antenna apertures in terms of physical dimensions.

An attractive solution to overcome this limitation consists in combining a thinned array antenna with a superstrate layer (Fabry-Perot cavity) as a mean to introduce beam scanning capability while reducing the number of controls. An alternative design, which could serve as a benchmark, is the concept of overlapped subarrays. In this antenna concept, an amplitude/phase control is used per sub-array. The sub-arrays are overlapped at beam forming network level to mitigate grating lobes.

Main goals :

The PhD project addresses three major goals :

  • To investigate configurations using either thinned or sparse arrays combined with regular or irregular superstrate layers to significantly reduce the array antenna complexity and number of controls while maintaining high aperture efficiency.
  • To investigate combined antenna configurations where the available space in a thinned array is used to interleave another antenna, a possible application being a combined transmit/receive phased array antenna for user terminal applications.
  • To prototype and validate experimentally the numerical results.

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