Broadband metal lens for horn antennas

Significantly reduces overall length compared to standard horn antennas while maintaining similar gain and performance


Navy scientists have invented a metal lens for horn antennas that overcomes single frequency restrictions and operates over increased bandwidth. The patented technology is available via license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.

A standard metal lens provides only small bandwidth due to several phenomena, such as chromatic aberrations, and an impedance match at the input of the lens. Tilting the lens from the horn axis to help minimize the reflected energy back into the horn’s input can mitigate this effect.

However, this method causes additional problems such as distorting the phase of the wave through the lens. Horn antennas get their name from flaring metal waveguides shaped like a horn to direct radio waves.

Conventional metal lenses used in horn antennas consist of a series of parallel plate waveguides that are formed on the front or rear to give a concave or convex appearance. As a ray of electromagnetic radiation traverses the parallel plates at diverse points, the different phase velocity of the wave within the plates causes a beam focusing or expanding effect.

Navy scientists have addressed these shortcomings by developing a metal lens for a dramatically shortened horn antenna that maintains a broadband nature and high gain.

The metal lens includes a feed guide segment with an input cross-section, an intermediate segment, and an exit segment. The feed guide segment receives a signal from the horn antenna along a carry direction.

The intermediate segment expands from the input cross-section laterally to the carry direction and incorporates an intermediate split vane to divide the signal along said carry direction. The exit segment incorporates multiple terminating split vanes lateral to the carry direction to broadcast output signals.

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