High-efficiency, high-power patch antenna

C-Band, probe-fed, half-wave length, two-patch antenna array


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Scientists from the Army Research Lab have developed a C-Band, probe-fed, half-wavelength, two-patch antenna array. The array is low profile in construction but maintains the ability to transmit high-power RF efficiently. The antenna is supported in free space by metallic posts (forming an air dielectric) rather than by a dielectric material.

Conventional patch arrays designed with dielectric substrates are about 80% efficient based on the loss in dielectric material, the surface wave losses, and conductor losses. For example, if the patch array antenna, designed with a dielectric material, is excited with an input power of 1 kW, the antenna will radiate 800 watts while 200 watts must be dissipated by the antenna itself as heat. In contrast, the high power two-patch antenna array, designed using an air dielectric, has a 97% efficiency.

As such, only 30 watts is dissipated within the antenna structure, primarily due to ohmic losses. In addition to the superior efficiency, the antenna has a bandwidth of more than three times that of a normal patch array at 5.8 GHz center frequency.

This configuration has great potential as an integrated antenna array for high-power microwave (HPM) applications. Since the antenna has its own ground plane, it will not be sensitive to nearby metal structures on a host platform. Additional commercial uses include High Power Microwave (HPM) systems to couple energy into electronics, potential uses in mobile phones, internet routers, and internet repeaters for extending the range of a wireless network. It can also be used for Wi-fi communication systems and devices.

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