Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Gokhan Mumcu

Keywords

Beam Scanning, Feed Networks, GPS, High Gain, MM-Wave

Abstract

This dissertation proposes novel solutions for important drawbacks of antenna arrays. One of the main contributions of the presented work is size reduction and nulling performance improvement of traditionally large anti-jam global positioning system (GPS) arrays using miniature antennas and electrically small resonators emulating an engineered metamaterial. Specifically, a miniaturized coupled double loop (CDL) dual band antenna is first introduced as a small antenna element of the compact GPS array. The loops that are capacitively coupled using lumped element capacitor, and employ metallic pins around their perimeter to improve the radiation efficiency by achieving a volumetric current distribution. This design is employed for the implementation of a compact 2x2 GPS array by reducing the inter-element spacing between the adjacent elements. However, having the antenna elements in close proximity of each other yields to a high mutual coupling and potentially degrades the nulling performance. The mutual coupling is performed by observing the magnetic field distribution within the array. It is noticed that the mutual coupling can be reduced by using metamaterial resonators. The right hand circular polarization (RHCP) radiation nature of the array complicates the mutual coupling suppression as compared to linear arrays. It is determined that split ring resonator (SRRs) are effective to mitigate the mutual coupling problem if placed strategically around the antenna elements. The study is verified experimentally where the mutual coupling is reduced by more than 10 dB. Lowering the mutual coupling improved the array's nulling capability by increasing the nulls depth by 8 dB as well as enhancing the accuracy of the nulls' locations.

The second major contribution of the presented work is to introduce a novel microfluidic based beam-scanning technique for the implementation of low cost mm-wave antenna arrays. Traditionally, beam scanning capability is obtained using mechanical steering of the entire antenna structure or electronic components such as switches or phase shifters. The former is bulky, whereas the latter technique requires integrating substantial and expensive hardware in the array's feed network. For instance, a beam-scanning 1x8 focal plane array (FPA) would employ 7 single pole double through (SPDT) switches in its feed network. If an 8x8 FPA is desired, then 8x7+8 switches are required that results in an efficient design in terms of power loss and cost. In this dissertation, the microfluidic principles are introduced for designing and implementing affordable beam scanning antenna array with high gain radiation. Specifically, a microfluidic-based focal plane array 1x8 (MFPA) is designed and implemented at 30 GHz. The proposed MFPA consists of microfluidic channels connecting reservoirs. Both of the channels and reservoirs are filled with a low loss dielectric solution, and the antenna is formed by using a small volume of liquid metal. The beam scanning capability is obtained by placing the array at the focal point of a microwave lens and moving the antenna among the reservoirs using a micropump. Therefore, the feed network is extremely simplified by avoiding using SPDT switches. In addition, a strategic design methodology for a completely passive resonant based corporate feed network is discussed. The array is characterized numerically and verified experimentally. The simulated and measured performances are in a very good agreement with ±300 FoV and > 21 dB realized gain. However, the array's radiation pattern exhibits high side lobe level (SLL) due to the resonant nature of the introduced corporate feed network. Consequently, new resonant and non-resonant straight based feed networks are introduced to alleviate the high SLL issue. Moreover, they are modeled with appropriate equivalent circuits in order to analyze the array's performance analytically in terms of -10 dB |S11| bandwidth and power loss. The analytical solution is based on the transmission line theory and two ports network analysis. It is verified with the full wave simulations and a very good agreement is observed. Using the straight feed network reduces the SLL to more than 20 dB relative the pattern's peak. This enhancement in the performance is verified experimentally as well by designing, fabricating and testing a 30 GHz MFPA fed using a resonant based straight network. A ±250 FoV is obtained with a SLL < -20 dB and 4% -10 dB |S11| bandwidth.

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