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Antenna arrays can use multiple elements to produce a directive radiation pattern. Beamformers utilizing variable phase or time-delay control at each radiating element can create a pattern of constructive and destructive interference in the wavefront to achieve the desired radiation pattern.
But these antennas often suffer from bandwidth limitations and mutual coupling between closely-spaced elements. Closely-spaced elements may lack sufficient spacing for the insertion of electronic components such as beamformers associated with the element feed network and element-level electronics. Improvements are needed to reduce the effect of grating lobes to increase gain and directivity of the antenna arrays.
Such improvements are delivered in a novel antenna design from the Navy. A two-dimensional aperiodic antenna array has been patented wherein the spacing between radiating elements varies depending on the position of each array element in relation to the center of the array. By “aperiodic” it is meant that the element spacing is not uniform although the non-uniformity may be regulated. In other words, the variations in element spacing may be determined according to a prescribed pattern. The aperiodic patterns reduce the intensity of grating lobes and enable array modifications which improve directivity and further reduce grating lobes.
One extension of this technology is the addition of steering and wideband elements. These additional elements generate a second radiation pattern and when combined with the first set of elements, produce a hybrid array which results in constructive and destructive interference. Increases in element spacing enable the addition of these wideband elements and steering elements with associated control circuitry.
The combination of a majority of elements having a particular bandwidth with a minority of elements having wider bandwidths may enable generation of improved radiation patterns. Furthermore, the second elements may enable generation of the composite radiation pattern over a wider range of frequencies as compared to the range of frequencies over which the first radiation may be produced.
- Composite radiation pattern with wider bandwidth and frequency
- Minimizes grating lobes
- Design provides more space for electronics
- US patent 8,279,118 available for license