Two-patch antenna system

Combines high power and efficiency in a mountable structure


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Scientists at the Army Research Laboratory have invented a two-patch antenna system that is both high-performing and cost-efficient to manufacture. The patented technology is available via license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.

Patch antennas are planar antennas used in wireless links and other microwave applications. They use patches formed on the top surface of a thin dielectric substrate separating them from a conductive layer on the bottom surface of the substrate that constitutes a ground for the transmission line or antenna. Patch antennas require less space, are simpler and less expensive to manufacture, and are more compatible than reflector antennas. Therefore, patch antennas apply to many military and commercial devices, such as use on aircraft.

The performance of an antenna is determined by several parameters, one of which is efficiency. A one-hundred percent efficient antenna has zero power loss between the received power input and the radiated power output. Traditional patch antennas, designed with a dielectric material, have about 80% efficiency. There is a need for patch antenna systems that combine high power with high efficiency while maintaining adaptability and cost efficiency.

ARL scientists have developed a high-efficiency, high-power, two-patch array antenna system by suspending the patch above the ground plane with supporting metal posts. The metal posts are precisely located for obtaining electrical performance in terms of antenna pattern and gain. The performance of the antenna system is equivalent to a much larger horn antenna, while simultaneously maintaining a low profile and suitability for platform integration. The high-performance, low-cost design is unique, scalable, and affordable to manufacture.

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