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Realization of a Low Cost Low Complexity Traveling Wave Antenna
Host, Nicholas K

2015, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Electrical and Computer Engineering.
For satellite communications, traditional phased array antennas could offer advantages over reflector antennas such as increased functionality, conformality, and no feed blockage. However, phased array systems are complex and expensive and, thus, not commonly used for satellites. Indeed, many applications (radar, electronic warfare, communications, etc.) would greatly benefit from less expensive phased array systems. Thus, much effort has been invested into addressing these challenges.

This dissertation aims to greatly improve the feasibility of traditional phased arrays by eliminating the array backend (the main source of cost and complexity). Specifically, we introduce a traveling wave array (TWA) concept using a single feedline whose propagation constant can be controlled to enable scanning. This is done using a small mechanical movement (<100mil) to adjust the feedline propagation constant. In this manner, the phase delivered to each element can be altered, enabling scanning. Of importance, beam steering is achieved with only one feed and one small mechanical movement (for any size linear array) without using individual phase shifters. Four specific TWA implementations are presented: 1) parallel plate waveguide (PPW) array, 2) trapezoidal wedge coplanar stripline (TWCPS) array, 3) vertical PPW array, and 4) metal PPW array.

Each of these three TWAs is comprised of a 20+ element linear array with stable realized gain and low side lobe level (SLL) across -25°≤θ≤25° scanning range. This dissertation describes the design procedure for each TWA, including element, feed, termination, and aperture excitation. Fabrication procedures and challenges are provided. Fabrication for these unique TWA geometries is found to be a key challenge for the concept.

Prototype measurements are compared to simulations. The dissertation culminates in the metal PPW array which overcomes many of the challenges encountered by the previous designs. The array achieves stable realized gain over -25°≤θ≤25° with high efficiency even for a small array size. The array is constructed almost entirely of aluminum and is CNC-machined for low cost. Overall, the developed Ku-Band TWA constitutes a very low cost, low complexity alternative to traditional phased array antennas as it uses a single feed and one mechanical movement to achieve beam steering.
John Volakis (Advisor)
Chi-Chih Chen (Advisor)
Christopher Baker (Committee Member)
267 p.

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Host, N. (2015). Realization of a Low Cost Low Complexity Traveling Wave Antenna. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Host, Nicholas. "Realization of a Low Cost Low Complexity Traveling Wave Antenna." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2015. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 25 Sep 2017.

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Host, Nicholas "Realization of a Low Cost Low Complexity Traveling Wave Antenna." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2015. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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