Air Force

Compact high-bandwidth, low-signal-error waveguide

Compact inline two-way power combiner/divider in a waveguide structure


One example of the waveguide with input (12) and outputs (14 and 16) making a folded Y-junction power divider. The device is machined from block aluminum or other high-conductive material.

Radio frequency (RF) and microwave systems typically require power distribution networks to divide an input signal into any number of output signals. Inversely, power distribution networks can also be used to combine RF input signals from multiple inputs into a single RF output signal.

RF rectangular waveguide technology is applicable to power distribution networks due to the technology’s inherent advantages in power handling capacity and signal integrity. Such devices have the benefit of very low power loss at high frequencies. Unfortunately, the existing RF waveguide power distribution devices have very limited frequency bandwidth, generate unacceptable amplitude and phase errors, and can be too large for many applications.

To address the above, Air Force researchers have developed a novel RF waveguide power distribution technology that can provide wide RF bandwidth operation with fewer amplitude and phase errors. The technology was used to design a compact structure as a two-way and a four-way power combiner/divider. The system has a conductive body that includes a waveguide input portion and several waveguide output portions in the same plane. The waveguide further includes a common junction joining the input waveguide portion and the output waveguide portion. Three iris elements next to the common junction, together with the divider, produce unexpected beneficial results as they work in concert to match the impedance of the structure across the entire bandwidth of the waveguide. The respective dimensions and relative placement of these elements result in very low levels of reflected power from an input signal, across the entire operational frequency band, which minimizes amplitude and phase errors in the compact structure.

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