Low-Profile Ultra-Wideband Wide-Scanning Multi-Function Beam-Steerable Array Antennas

Lead Research Organisation: University of Kent
Department Name: Sch of Engineering & Digital Arts

Abstract

Future intelligent, autonomous platforms (autonomous vehicles, robots, satellites, ships, air planes) and portable terminals are expected to have multiple functions such as wireless communication (with satellites and/or terrestrial base stations and/or ground terminals), ultra-fast data transfer, navigation, sensing, radars, imaging and wireless power transfer. These wireless systems operate at various frequencies. As a single radio frequency (RF) system usually has a narrow bandwidth, multiple RF systems at different frequency bands are often employed, leading to a huge increase in the volume, power consumption and cost. To address this need, it requires a single-aperture ultra-wideband (UWB) phased array capable of operating over an extremely wide range of frequencies, and having a low profile, wide-angle-scanning steerable beams, high gain, high efficiency and multiple polarizations (e.g. right-hand circular polarization for navigation, dual linear polarizations for mobile communication). Such an advanced antenna system does not exist yet. This project aims to tackle the ambitious challenges of addressing this need. This multi-disciplinary research consortium, having RF/microwave/mm-wave phased array researchers working together with researchers in optical beamforming and 3D printing, are ideally placed to development a new generation of low-profile UWB phased arrays, which is expected to find wide uses for both civilian and military applications.

Planned Impact

Phased arrays, due to advantages of beam steering and high gain, are the critical technology for future generation mobile communications (5G and beyond), satellite communications, radar, sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) and radio astronomy. The proposed program will develop a new class of phased array antenna that exhibit low profile, ultra-wideband (UWB) perfor-mance, beam scanning over a wide angular range, high gain and multiple polarizations, fulfilling the requirements of future RF/microwave/mm-wave wireless systems (mobile and satellite communications, IoT, radars, sensors and navigation). The methodology of designing UWB phased array antenna systems including UWB arrays and single-fibre optical beamforming networks will be established, as well as the techniques of 3D printing of planar/non-planar UWB array antennas. To validate the concept, several demonstrators of UWB phased array systems will be built and tested.
Academic: This proposal fits to the scope of EPSRC call "RF and microwave device engineering for a prosperous nation". The objectives of this ambitious project will only be achieved by joint efforts amongst RF/microwave/mm-wave phased array antennas, optical beamforming and 3D printing researchers, and such an approach of "working together" was highlighted in the scope of this EPSRC call. The research proposed here will bring different communities together to carry out this pioneering work and the outcomes of this research are likely to have profound impact across a range of areas in antennas, RF/Microwave/mm-wave, photonics, 3D printing and wireless systems, and bring innovations and breakthroughs to current communication, navigation, radar and sensor technologies.
The University of Kent supports GOLD Open Access for papers published in IEEE and other high-impact-factor Journals, thus we will publicise the results via open access for publications in high-impact factor journals e.g. IEEE T-AP, IEEE T-MTT, J of Lightwave Technology, IEEE Photonics Technol. Letters, and IEEE T-Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technol. The collaboration is inherently multidisciplinary, thus it allows co-authorship of papers outside of the academics' usual journals and therefore increases the readership and dissemination of core knowledge. Co-authorship be-tween RF and microwave, photonics and 3D printing researchers in journals such as IEEE T-AP for example will expose photonics and 3D printing researchers to a readership they may not usually reach. As a consortium, we expect to publish articles on 'novel designs of UWB phase arrays', 'novel optical beamforming networks", '3D printing of UWB arrays', etc.
The results of the proposed project will also be conveyed to potential beneficiaries (scientists and technologists) through local departmental and university seminars, EPSRC funded CommNet meetings and workshops, invited talks at other Institutes. We will present the results at major conferences (EuCAP, IEEE APS, EuMC, IEEE MWP, IEEE IPC, ECOC).
People: This program will provide an opportunity of developing the careers of young researchers. PDRAs will benefit substantially by building networks and co-authoring papers with senior academics. The investigators have several self-funded research students per year who will join the project.
Economic: Results of this project are expected to contribute to several ambitions of EPSRC's Prosperous Nation Framework, e.g. C2, C3, P1, P2, P3, P4, R3 and H3, as explained in Case for Support.
This project has got very strong support from 11 partners including 10 industrial partners and 1 overseas advisor. Four industrial users (Airbus, SSTL, Dstl and Huawei UK) will be fully engaged with the project. Their involvement is a valuable asset for our project due to their strong focus on research and development, and early deployment and commercial exploitation capabilities.

Publications

10 25 50

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Wen L (2019) A Compact Wideband Dual-Polarized Antenna With Enhanced Upper Out-of-Band Suppression in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

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Yang Q (2021) A Dual-Polarized Planar Antenna Array Differentially-Fed by Orthomode Transducer in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

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Xu H (2019) A Highly Integrated MIMO Antenna Unit: Differential/Common Mode Design in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

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Luo Q (2019) A Hybrid Design Method for Thin-Panel Transmitarray Antennas in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

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Wen L (2019) A Low-Cost Differentially Driven Dual-Polarized Patch Antenna by Using Open-Loop Resonators in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

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Wen L (2019) A Wideband Differentially Fed Dual-Polarized Antenna With Wideband Harmonic Suppression in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

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Wen L (2020) A Wideband Series-Fed Circularly Polarized Differential Antenna by Using Crossed Open Slot-Pairs in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

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Xu R (2020) Analysis and Design of Ultrawideband Circularly Polarized Antenna and Array in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

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Hu W (2019) Compact Wideband Folded Dipole Antenna With Multi-Resonant Modes in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation

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Wen L (2020) Design of a Broadband Circularly Polarized Antenna by Using Axial Ratio Contour in IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters

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Dong Y (2019) Filtering antennas for energy harvesting in wearable systems in International Journal of Numerical Modelling: Electronic Networks, Devices and Fields

 
Description We have completed novel designs of several antennas which achieved ultra-wideband performance and more compact size compared to the state of the art development
Exploitation Route The antenna design can be used by industries
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TAP.2019.2925188
 
Title new design technique of wideband compact-size antenna with circular polarization and low profile 
Description A novel method of designing a wideband series-fed circularly polarized (CP) differential antenna by using crossed open slot pairs is proposed. The near-field distributions and input impedance analyses show that the closely spaced open slot-pairs can radiate as the crossed dipoles and have stable radiating resistance with a compact radiator size. Besides, a wideband half-power phase shifter using open slot is proposed and utilized to realize CP radiation. The proposed CP antenna is composed of a wide slot-pair and a narrow slot-pair. In the antenna design, the narrow slot-pair is not only excited as a radiator, but also elaborately loaded to provide wideband half-power output and quadrature phase excitation to the wide slot-pair. Both the proposed half-power phase shifter and CP antenna are illustrated by the corresponding equivalent circuits. Based on these analyses, the proposed antenna is designed, fabricated, and measured. Compared with the simulated traditionally designed counterpart, 2.1 times wider axial ratio (AR) bandwidth is achieved for the proposed antenna. The measured overlapped bandwidth for AR <; 3 dB and return loss >10 dB is 1.95-3.45 GHz (55.6%). Also, the antenna gain and radiation patterns are measured, which agree well with the simulated results 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The novel design technique will be promising for applications in Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and satellite communications. For GNSS systems, they require a compact-size CP antenna with wide bandwidth so as to cover multiple frequency bands in GNSS, and the proposed antenna will be very suitable for such applications. 
URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8936548
 
Title new design techqniue for wideband circularly-polarized antenna 
Description We proposed a novel design concept to realize a wideband circularly polarized (CP) antenna by using single-arm coupled asymmetric dipoles (SCADs). First, an impedance compensation method is developed to obtain flat antenna input impedance by designing different arm lengths of the asymmetric dipole. Then, a single-arm coupling method is introduced to improve the antenna bandwidth. Four asymmetric dipoles are bent and sequentially coupled to each other among the long arms of the dipoles. By elaborately adjusting the coupling among the long arms, improved bandwidth and compact radiator size are achieved simultaneously. In addition, to further enhance and optimize the operating bandwidth of the antenna implementation, impedance matching strip and interdigital structure are introduced into SCADs. To verify the design concept, a prototype of the SCAD antenna was designed, fabricated, and measured. Experimental results agree well with the simulations, showing a wide impedance bandwidth of 108% (1.53-5.12 GHz) and an axial ratio (AR) bandwidth of 96% (1.78-5.06 GHz). To the best of our knowledge, the proposed design concept of SCADs is first used to design a wideband CP antenna. Both the simulated and measured results prove that the proposed antenna is a promising candidate for modern broadband CP applications. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This design technique is very promising for applications in GNSS and satellite communications systems. 
URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9014502
 
Title new technique for designing antenna with Wideband Dual Circular Polarization 
Description A novel wideband dual circularly polarized (DCP) antenna is proposed and developed for intelligent transport system (ITS) applications, which can be used to improve the receiver sensitivity and communication quality of ITS. The proposed DCP antenna is composed of an orthogonal power divider (OPD) with two orthogonal input ports, four phase shifters for quadrature phase output, and four crossed dipoles for DCP radiation. Detailed equivalent circuit analysis shows that the OPD has two orthogonal inputs and four equal magnitude in-phase and out-of-phase outputs. To achieve two sets of orthogonal quadrature output signals for DCP radiation, the lumped element based differential right-hand transmission line unit cell and left-hand transmission line unit cell are elaborately introduced as the ±45° phase shifters, and incorporated into the OPD. Eventually, orthogonal quadrature signals are successfully obtained and fed to the crossed dipoles for DCP radiation. The proposed antenna was then designed, fabricated, and measured for ITS applications. The measured results show that the overlapped impedance bandwidth of both two input ports is 1.07-1.85 GHz (53.4%), and the isolation is higher than 15.2 dB. Moreover, low axial ratio (<; 1.7 dB) and symmetrical radiation patterns are achieved for unidirectional DCP radiation 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The wideband dual circularly polarized (DCP) antenna proposed is very promising for applications in intelligent transport system (ITS) and smart cities as it can be used to significantly improve the receiver sensitivity and communication quality of ITS. This will enable the improvement of road safety 
URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9034194
 
Title new technique of design wideband high-efficiency circularly polarized antenna at millimeter-wave and THz frequencies 
Description We proposed a wideband high-efficiency millimeter-wave (mm-wave) circularly polarized (CP) array which is constituted by novel planar substrate integrated waveguide (SIW)-fed S-dipoles. The proposed mm-wave CP S-dipole consists of two rotational symmetric curved arms and is fed differentially through aperture coupling, which features simple configuration and excellent performance. Detailed analysis is given to explain the operating principles of this element. It is noted that superior element performance including a wide impedance bandwidth of 43%, a wide 3 dB axial ratio (AR) bandwidth of 36%, and 1 dB gain bandwidth of 38% is achieved by the planar SIW-fed S-dipole. By feeding 64 in-phase S-dipole elements through a full-corporate SIW feeding network, a planar wideband highly efficient mm-wave 8×8 CP array is realized. To verify the design concept, a prototype operating at Ka-band is fabricated and measured. The measurement results indicate that the proposed array achieves a wide overlapped bandwidth of 27.6%, a high antenna gain of 25.2 dBic, and a high aperture efficiency of 89.9%. Attributed to the planar and robust array structure as well as its excellent performance, the presented array is a good candidate for various mm-wave applications. It is also promising for THz system applications 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The proposed antenna has advantage of having a planar and robust array structure as well as its excellent performance. It is a good candidate for applications in wireless communication systems at mm-wave and THz frequencies 
URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8839704
 
Title new technique of designing dual-polarized cross-slot array antenna at millimeter-wave and sub-THz frequencies 
Description We developed a novel technique of designing dual-polarized crossed slot planar array antenna. The proposed design integrates the antenna array with the feeding networks on a single laminate. The antenna element is developed by using a TE210 and TE120 mode cavity, which is constructed by inserting a number of metalized posts around the crossed region of two perpendicular substrate integrated waveguides (SIWs). The crossed slot is etched over the cavity and is excited from two orthogonal directions to realize dual-polarization. Owing to the orthogonality between the TE210 and TE120 mode, high isolation and low cross-polarization are achieved. A prototype of the designed antenna array operating at 25 GHz is fabricated and measured. The measured results confirm that the presented array antenna has high port isolation (>41 dB), high cross-polarization discrimination (XPD) (>26 dB), and high aperture efficiency (40%). Compared to the state of the art, the proposed design has advantages of simple configuration, easy manufacturing, low cost, good radiation performance, and high efficiency, and this proposed array antenna is promising for applications in high-speed wireless communications at millimeter-wave and sub-THz frequencies 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Compared to the state of the art development, the proposed antenna design has advantages of simple configuration, easy manufacturing, low cost, good radiation performance, high isolation and high efficiency. In addition, this proposed array antenna is promising for applications in high-speed wireless communications at millimeter-wave and sub-THz frequencies (6G, etc) 
URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8917812
 
Title new technique of designing ultra-wideband circularly-polarized array antenna and the theoretical analysis 
Description We proposed the novel design and analysis of an ultrawideband (UWB) circularly polarized (CP) antenna element and its array. First, an UWB CP antenna element using circular-arc-shaped monopole (CASM) with asymmetric ground plane is proposed. Characteristic mode analysis (CMA) is used to investigate its CP operating mechanism, providing physical insights into different modes (mode currents and characteristic radiation fields) at various frequencies. The CMA results show that the asymmetric ground plane makes great contribution to produce CP radiation in the lower frequency band, while another upper CP band is generated by CASM. Thus, the overall 3 dB axial ratio bandwidth (ARBW) of the element can be significantly expanded. Furthermore, a 2×2 UWB CP array is designed based on this element. A gradient artificial magnetic conductor (GAMC) with a metal cone is adopted to realize both a low-profile ( 0.1×? , where ? is the air-free wavelength at lowest frequency) and the high-gain radiation for the first time. To validate this novel configuration, this array is fabricated and measured. The measured bandwidth ( |S 11 |<-10 dB, AR < 3 dB) is approximately 92.3% (1.75-4.75 GHz). It also achieves a wide 3 dB gain bandwidth of 72.3%. Both the simulated and measured results demonstrate that this low-profile high-gain antenna array is promising for applications in wireless systems such as mobile satellite communication system 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This antenna design has advantages of low profile, high gain, ultra-wideband performance and circular polarization, thus it is promising for applications in wireless systems such as mobile satellite communication system and GNSS 
URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9109654
 
Title new techniques of antenna manufacturing, design and measurements at sub-THz frequencies 
Description We developed new techniques of design, manufacturing and measurements of antennas at sub-THz frequencies such as D band. The antenna employs an all-metal structure and is based on the resonant cavity antenna (RCA) concept. A novel impedance matching technique is introduced to broaden the antenna return loss bandwidth. Two gain enhancement methods have been employed to achieve a more directive beam with reduced side lobes and back lobes. The D-band antenna prototypes are produced using i) all-metal printing without any postprocessing; ii) dielectric printing with copper metallization applied later. Comparisons of the simulated and measured results amongst the antennas fabricated using the two additive manufacturing techniques are made. Measurement results of the two antenna prototypes show that the proposed design can achieve a 14.2% bandwidth with a maximum gain of 15.5 dBi at 135 GHz. This work is the first D-band resonant cavity antenna fabricated using two different 3D printing methods 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The techniques will enable the development of high-performance antennas at sub-THz frequencies. Such antenna technologies will be important for the future generation (6G) of mobile communications. 
URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9064607
 
Description Invited talk at 2019 European Conference on Antennas and Propagation, 2019, Poland 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I was invited to give a talk on our research results funded from this grant. The talk was very successful and the audiences including academics and industries internationally expressed strong interests in our work. The web link is https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8740015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.eucap2019.org/
 
Description Invited talk at 2019 IEEE International Wireless Symposium, May 2019, Guangzhou, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact My team presented several talks, including one invited talk, this international symposium. One of our paper was shortlisted for the Best Paper Award at this symposium. The web link is http://www.em-conf.com/iws2019/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.em-conf.com/iws2019/
 
Description Invited talk at 2020 Asia Pacific Microwave Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I was invited to give an invited talk at 2020 Asia Pacific Microwave Conference, organized by City University Hong Kong. This is one of largest international conference in areas of antennas, electromagnetics, RF and microwave and THz. Over 1000 people attended this conference. Due to pandemic, this conference was held virtually and I gave the talk via Zooms.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.ee.cityu.edu.hk/skltmw/apmc2020/index.php
 
Description Invited talk at 2020 International Conference on Microwave and Millimeter Wave Technology(ICMMT2020) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I was invited to give an invited talk at 2020 International Conference on Microwave and Millimeter Wave Technology(ICMMT2020. This is a large international conference in fields of RF, Microwave and Millimeter Wave Technology. The conference was held virtually and I was giving the talk via Zooms
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.cnmw.cn/mwie2020/en_icmmt2020.html
 
Description Invited talks at 2019 International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation, 2019, Xi'an, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact My team gave several talks, including one invited talk from myself, at 2019 International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation (ISAP), Oct. 2019, Xi'an, China. One of our papers won the Best Paper Award at this international conference. The web link is http://www.em-conf.com/isap2019/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.em-conf.com/isap2019/
 
Description Online exhibition at European Microwave Conference 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We have a virtual booth at EUMW2020 for promoting the cluster with the title:
"UKRI/EPSRC Research Cluster on "RF, Microwave and Millimetre Wave Device Engineering for Wireless Connectivity toward 6G". The EPSRC logo is included. The whole online virtual conference platform is proving very interesting to engage with.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.eumweek.com/conferences/eumc.html
 
Description invited talk at 2020 Asia Pacific Conference on Antennas and Propagation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I was invited to give a talk at 2020 Asia Pacific Conference on Antennas and Propagation. The topic of my talk is about "Sub-THz and Millimeter-wave Antennas for Next-Generation 6G Wireless Communications". This is one of largest conference in areas of antennas and propagation, electromagnetic field theory and applications. It was attended by over 1000 people. Due to pandemic, it was held virtually, and I gave the talk via Zooms.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.em-conf.com/apcap2020/