Arrebola, Manuel and Hu, Wenfei and Encinar Garcinuño, José Antonio and Cahill, R. and Fusco, V. and Gamble, H. and Grant, N.
94 GHz Beam Scanning Dual-Reflector Antenna with a Sub-Reflectarray.
In: "30th ESA Antenna Workshop on Antennas for Earth Observation, Science, Telecommunication and Navigation Space Missions, Noordwijk (The Netherlands), 27-30 May, 2008", 27/05/2008-30/05/2008, Noordwijk, Paises Bajos.
A Cassegrain dual-reflector antenna which employs a flat reflectarray subreflector was analysed in a recent paper . It was shown that the antenna beam can be scanned by introducing an appropriate progressive phase distribution across the reflectarray surface. This configuration is very attractive for steerable beam applications, because it combines the high gain and broad bandwidth properties of the parabolic main reflector with the simplicity of manufacturing a small electronically reconfigurable microstrip reflectarray antenna. The subreflector could be constructed on a thin liquid crystal (LC) substrate, and control of the phase distribution across the aperture would be achieved by applying a bias voltage to the individual elements in the patch array [2, 3]. In addition to the simplicity of this biasing arrangement, phase shifters based on LC materials can be designed to operate with no upper limit on the operating frequency range, thereby removing the main disadvantage of many existing active control technologies. Moreover precision micromachining processes and a quasi–optical measurement technique which are suitable for manufacturing and characterising sub mm wavelength phase agile reflectarrays, have recently been demonstrated at frequencies up to 170 GHz . In this paper we present the design of a dual-reflector antenna which could use an ‘active’ sub-reflectarray based on liquid crystals to produce the required Earth scene scan profile of a limbsounder radiometric instrument . The validity of the beam scanning concept has been demonstrated by designing, manufacturing and measuring the radiation patterns of a 120mm diameter offset parabolic reflector at 94 GHz. In the first phase of the project we have used three planar solid metal subreflectors of diameter 28-mm to generate a focussed beam in the boresight direction, and at offset scan angles of 2.5° and 5°. Experimental results are shown to be in reasonably good agreement with numerical simulations. In the second phase of the work, the solid metal subreflectors are replaced by a passive microstrip patch subreflectarray which is designed to scan the beam to an angle of 5º. The final stage of the project will employ an electronically controllable LC reflectarray subreflector which will be used to scan the beam over the angular range 0 º to 5º.