Characterizing and measuring a radio frequency beam

Greater precision, faster processing time, simplification of measuring processes, and less equipment required


As mobile electronics pervade ever increasing aspects of life, the proper characterization, and measurement of electromagnetic beams increases. Systems designers, regulators, and end users need to know that devices are operating as prescribed.

Previous approaches to radio frequency beam test and measurement employed a model of heat transfer from one macroscopic body to another and blackbody radiation of a particle with only one degree of freedom. Additional methods use a horn antenna, attenuators, and power meter to collect data at different points along a plane perpendicular to the beam. This technique is much more time consuming, the apparatus is more complicated, and in many cases must be automated with translational stages in order to make an accurate measurement.

Navy scientists and engineers have developed an apparatus and measuring technique for RF beams using a model for blackbody radiation which includes consideration of all the degrees of freedom due to translation, vibration, and rotation of atoms that make up the absorber and a heat transfer term which averages the behavior of all the atoms of the material as a function of temperature. This apparatus and method provide an advantage of increased accuracy, substantial reductions of time required for processing, simplification of measuring processes, and reduction in required equipment.

The EM field measuring system includes an EM source, an EM absorption material (a sheet of carbon loaded Kapton), and a temperature sensor array – in one instance, an infrared camera – to measure the temperature of the EM absorption material. The temperature sensor array is coupled to a computer running software for processing and outputting data representations characterizing the EM field. Software modules include IR camera output processing which produces temperature data per pixel, temperature differential analysis, and per pixel power density calculation.

This US patent is a continuation of and claims priority to US patent 9,325,914 which in turn claims priority to US patent 8,543,357.

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