Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (PhD)
College, School or Department Name
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Warren F Perger
For the past sixty years, waveguide slot radiator arrays have played a critical role in microwave radar and communication systems. They feature a well-characterized antenna element capable of direct integration into a low-loss feed structure with highly developed and inexpensive manufacturing processes. Waveguide slot radiators comprise some of the highest performance—in terms of side-lobe-level, efficiency, etc. — antenna arrays ever constructed.
A wealth of information is available in the open literature regarding design procedures for linearly polarized waveguide slots. By contrast, despite their presence in some of the earliest published reports, little has been presented to date on array designs for circularly polarized (CP) waveguide slots. Moreover, that which has been presented features a classic traveling wave, efficiency-reducing beam tilt. This work proposes a unique CP waveguide slot architecture which mitigates these problems and a thorough design procedure employing widely available, modern computational tools.
The proposed array topology features simultaneous dual-CP operation with grating-lobe-free, broadside radiation, high aperture efficiency, and good return loss. A traditional X-Slot CP element is employed with the inclusion of a slow wave structure passive phase shifter to ensure broadside radiation without the need for performance-limiting dielectric loading. It is anticipated this technology will be advantageous for upcoming polarimetric radar and Ka-band SatCom systems.
The presented design methodology represents a philosophical shift away from traditional waveguide slot radiator design practices. Rather than providing design curves and/or analytical expressions for equivalent circuit models, simple first-order design rules – generated via parametric studies — are presented with the understanding that device optimization and design will be carried out computationally. A unit-cell, S-parameter based approach provides a sufficient reduction of complexity to permit efficient, accurate device design with attention to realistic, application-specific mechanical tolerances.
A transparent, start-to-finish example of the design procedure for a linear sub-array at X-Band is presented. Both unit cell and array performance is calculated via finite element method simulations. Results are confirmed via good agreement with finite difference, time domain calculations. Array performance exhibiting grating-lobe-free, broadside-scanned, dual-CP radiation with better than 20 dB return loss and over 75% aperture efficiency is presented.
Paulsen, Lee M., "Study of and design procedure for dual circularly polarized waveguide slot arrays", Dissertation, Michigan Technological University, 2006.