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The objective of this project is to investigate lens antennas, and their ability to provide a cost-effective solution for SatCom on-the-move ground terminals. Lens antennas are associated with a high directivity, and beam scanning can be obtained by moving only the feed. Moreover, multiple simultaneous beams can be obtained in the same aperture. However, lenses suffer from a large physical size and the plane in which the feed should be moved to provide scanning is often curvilinear. In this project, we apply an appropriate lens transformation to reduce the size of the antenna and provide a simpler feeding mechanism enabling higher integration.
Lens antennas provides attractive properties in terms of directivity and scanning. However, the size of lens antennas is, for some applications, prohibitive. Related to this, there are two main challenges in this project:
All available Satcom on-the-move systems are, to the best of our knowledge, based on one of two solutions: reflectors or arrays. Associated with these solutions, there are some advantages and disadvantages. Reflector antennas are relatively cheap and can easily provide the high gain necessary, but they are hard to steer electronically, and slow purely mechanical steering is often used. This may be sufficient on slow moving vehicles in communication with GEO stationary satellites but when one or both of the terminals (ground terminal or satellite) are moving fast (such as high-speed trains and LEO satellites), a faster scanning is needed. On the other hand, systems based on arrays can be made electronically reconfigurable, but they are very complex and expensive to manufacture. The proposed solution consists of a lens which offers purely electrical or hybrid electrical and mechanical beam switching/scanning capabilities and is cheap to manufacture with standard additive 3D printing.
The main objective of the project is to develop a cost-effective compact electronically steerable directive antenna for satellite communications on-the-move. The main features of the proposed solution are:
The antenna developed in this activity provides electrical or hybrid electrical and mechanical steerable beams. The architecture of the antenna is composed of two main parts.
The project is divided into four phases:
We are defining the requirements of the product and reviewing the available literature and the state-of-the-art. After the requirements have been defined and a need established, the design phase will commence with these requirements and needs in mind.