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2017 XI International Conference on Antenna Theory and Techniques (ICATT), Kyiv, Ukraine pp.

64-67

Radome Integrated Slotted Waveguide Antennas

S. S. Sekretarov and D. M. Vavriv


Microwave Electronics Department
Institute of Radio Astronomy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Kharkov, Ukraine
sekretarov@rian.kharkov.ua

Abstract—The development of slotted waveguide antennas used for the production of slots in a metallic wall of the
with an integrated radome is discussed. The integrated radome waveguide.
is intended to improve the resistance of slotted-waveguide
antennas against complex environmental conditions and to In order to design the above antennas with integrated
extend application areas of the antennas. Efficient approaches to radome, an original iterative simulation algorithm [3] has been
the design, simulation, and fabrication of such antennas are generalized to simulate and optimized such type of antennas.
considered. The development of a single plane monopulse Ku- Essential details of the proposed design approach are described
band circular array is presented as an example of the in Section II.
implementations of such approaches. The antenna test results are
presented to verify the design, simulation, and manufacturing The technology of the assembly of the discussed antennas
solutions proposed has also certain peculiarities. For example, the dip-soldering
process commonly used in the production of slotted-waveguide
Keywords— slotted waveguide antennas; antenna radomes; antennas is not applicable for this case. The conductive epoxy
antenna production technologies gluing technology can be used instead of the above process.
This technology provides reproducible results and can be
I. INTRODUCTION automated with standard equipment. Critical features of the
manufacturing technology are considered in Section III.
Slotted waveguide antennas (SWA) are very popular in
various remote sensing applications and communication In Section IV, an example of the development of an
systems. Their advantages are high efficiency, compact size, antenna with an integrated radome is presented. This is a Ku-
polarization purity, and the possibility to realize a desired band monopulse antenna, which radomeless version was
radiation pattern [1, 2]. However, the conventional design of described in [4]. The new antenna shows characterizes similar
such antennas with open slots in a hollow waveguide is not to that in [4], what is demonstrated by the corresponding
practical for some applications. Dust, moisture, and even measurement results.
regular handling procedures may result in degradation of the
antenna operation functionalities. Typically, this problem is II. DESIGN AND SIMULATION METHOD
solved by installing the antenna under an external radome, e.g. The design approach to a SWA containing a dielectric layer
multilayer sandwich structure. But, being developed as a should take into account coupling between slots via this layer.
separate part of the antenna system, the radome may cause To cope with this problem, numerical and half-analytical
some degradation of the antenna performance in both the approaches have been proposed in the literature. A modified
radiation pattern and input reflection characteristics. Elliot design procedure [5-10] is commonly used to model such
Conventional approaches to the development of such external antennas and to estimate slot parameters. According to this
radomes show that in order to decrease the effect of the radome procedure, an equivalent circuit of the array is introduced,
on the antenna performance, the radome should be displaced where the conductance of individual radiating slots and the
from the radiating slots at least at /2, where  is the operating external mutual coupling between the slots are calculated by
wavelength. This results in increasing of the overall thickness taking into account the introduced dielectric layer [7]. Though
of the antenna what is not acceptable for some applications. such design approach is not time consuming and provides a
In this presentation, we describe another approach to the reasonable accuracy, there are some disadvantages to be
antenna environmental protection, which does not require the mentioned. In order to take into account most of the essential
usage of an external radome. Such protection can be organized, SWA features, the corresponding equivalent circuit becomes
by producing the radiating slots in the foil of a foiled dielectric very complex and sophisticated [1, 2, 11]. For example, it is
material, which services as a waveguide wall. For example, rather complicated to accurately account for the array
standard foiled dielectric material of Rogers RT/Duroid series configuration, the slots shape, effects of coupling of the
is a good candidate for such wall. It is important that in this radiating and feeding slots, and surface loses.
case, the slots can be etched by using standard circuit-board We use the original iterative design algorithm [3] for the
production technology. Increase of the production rate and SWAs development, which is based on a full-wave simulation.
reduction of the production costs are obvious benefits of using This approach is time consuming, but it does not have the
such technology, as compare to the standard milling process

978-1-5386-2921-5/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE


Radome Integrated Slotted Waveguide Antennas

above described limitations and can be applied to a wide range


of possible array configurations with accounting nonstandard
elements. The results provided by the used approach are rather
accurate what follows from the comparison of the measured
and simulated characteristics for a number of the so far
developed antennas [12].
The approach used for the antenna simulation and design is
described in details in [3]. This approach includes the
following main steps. An initial approximation for the slots
offsets and their lengths is generated by using some simple
assumption or a design method. If no such assumption is
available, the slots can be equally offset from the waveguides
centerlines, and their lengths can be also equal. In this case,
more iterations will be needed for the algorithm convergence.
The antenna is simulated by a full-wave simulator, and the
radiating slots field amplitudes and the phases are extracted
from the simulation results. The obtained field amplitudes and
phases are compared with that needed to realize a required
Fig. 1. Radiation coefficient and resonant length of longitudinal slot
aperture distribution. It is important that this aperture versus the normalized offset for both the regular waveguide and the dielectric-
distribution is normalized on the simulated input power and the covered waveguide
desired antenna efficiency. The difference between the required
and simulated aperture distributions gives a relative error of the The second layer contains the feeding structure. The
field amplitude and phase for each slot. The estimated errors feeding of each half is provided by a pair of nonresonant
are used for the correction of each slot offset and each slot waveguides via inclined coupling slots. An interlaced feeding
length to adjust the radiating field amplitude and phase, scheme is used for each half: the first line feeds the even
respectively. It is assumed that the amplitude and the phase of radiating waveguides and the second feeds the odd ones.
the longitudinal slots can be adjusted independently. So, the all Nonresonant feeding structure provides the antenna beam
slots can be corrected simultaneously. Then, the algorithm inclination in the E-plane. The inclination of the antenna beam
iterates until the error is below some prescribed level. Usually, significantly reduces RCS of the antenna in the direction of a
few iterations are needed to achieve an acceptable accuracy. target.
The presence of the dielectric layer changes the radiation The four antenna feeding structure inputs are combined by
properties of the slots. The resonant length and optimal width a single-plane monopulse comparator. It combines pairs of
are decreased as compared to the dielectric free surface. It is feeding lines from each antenna half with predefined
interesting that the dependence of the isolated slot radiation amplitudes and phases and then combines the halves for Sum
coefficient versus the normalized offset is practically the same and Delta outputs. The comparator is based on a folded
for the regular waveguide and the dielectric covered magic-T unit. The all antenna waveguide layers are made of
waveguide, as it is illustrated in Fig.1. The radiation reduced height waveguides with the height 3.5 mm only, what
coefficients are calculated here for the resonant slot length. The minimizes the antenna thickness and weight.
waveguide dimensions are the same. The plots demonstrate
that radiation coefficient increase equally for the both types of A calibration port has been introduced what is needed to
radiating elements, thus the dielectric layer does not change the provide a permanent control of the identity of the Sum and
antenna performance. Delta outputs of the antenna.

The dependence of the resonant slot length versus the offset The synthesis of the radiating slots distribution has been
is also shown in Fig.1 for both the hollow waveguide and the performed according to the described above procedure by
dielectric covered waveguide. As it is expected, the resonant simulating the complete antenna structure including the
length is decreased proportionally to the dielectric wavelength dielectric layer. Thus it takes into account the all features of the
reduction. antenna design.

By using the described procedure, we have redesigned the III. ANTENNA FABRICATION
previously developed Ku-band antenna [4] to enhance its
exploitation characteristics. The antenna diameter is 265 mm. The waveguide part of the designed SWA has been
We utilized the -25dB Taylor n-bar amplitude distribution for fabricated from an aluminum alloy by CNC milling process.
circular apertures and inclined in E-plane phase distribution in The archived fabrication accuracy is 0.02mm. In order to
order to obtain the desired radiation pattern. provide the protection of the aluminum parts against the
corrosion, to increase the conductance, and to reduce also the
The antenna has a two-layer design. Upper, the radiating ohmic losses, the aluminum parts have been silver plated.
layer, consists of two mirrored halves in the H-plane having 18
resonant waveguides with longitudinal slots each. The total Duroid RT5880 material has been selected for the
number of the radiating slots is 244. The slots are covered by production of the top cover of the antenna with the radiating
dielectric plate. slots. The dielectric constant of this material is 2.20, and

2017 XI International Conference on Antenna Theory and Techniques (ICATT), Kyiv, Ukraine 65
S. S. Sekretarov, D. M. Vavriv

TABLE I. MEASURED ANTENNA SCECIFICATIONS

Parameter Value

Frequency bandwidth 0.5GHz in Ku-band

Beam type Pencil, inclined in E-plane

Beam inclination in E-plane 15°

Polarization Linear/Vertical

Sum pattern 3dB beam-width 5°


Sum pattern maximum level of
<-20dB
sidelobes
Delta pattern null depth <-40dB

Monopulse constant 1.3

VSWR <1.15

Sum-Delta ports isolation >40dB

Diameter 265mm

Thickness 9.6mm
Fig. 2. RT/Duroid panel with etched slots
Weight 900g

Radome Integrated

Total antenna thickness is only 9.6mm without the


comparator and 15mm with the comparator.
The silver filled epoxy E4110 from EPO-TEK has been
utilized to bond the consisting parts of the antenna. A glue joint
device has been specially designed in order to ensure the
accurate thickness of the antenna layers. The obtained
conductance of the glue jointly with the silvered aluminum
results in a low ohmic losses inside the antenna, below 0.5 dB.
The antenna outputs, which are Sum, Delta and calibration
ports, are equipped with compact waveguide-to-coaxial
adapters. Due to this, the antenna is completely protected from
the environment. The developed design is also convenient for
the antenna pressurization to increase power handling
performance.

IV. MEASUREMENTS RESULTS AND ANALYSIS


The radiation parameters of the produced SWA have been
measured in the far-field zone. Fig. 4 shows a comparison of
the simulated and measured Sum pattern in the E-plane. Fig. 5
shows a comparison of the simulated and measured Sum and
Fig. 3. Antenna appearence
Delta radiation patterns in H-plane. High reproducibility of the
measured results along with a good compliance with the
dissipation factor tan  equals 0.0009. It also has low rate of simulation results is demonstrated.
moisture absorption of 0.02%, what is an essential advantage
for outdoor usage. A successful usage of RT5880 material was The antenna radiates a 5° pencil-like Sum pattern beam,
also reported in [11] for a Ka-band antenna. which is significantly inclined with respect to the antenna
surface normal in the E-plane. Delta pattern is correspondingly
The thickness of the dielectric is 0.508mm, and the copper inclined in E-plane. The measured gain is above 30dBi. The
cladding thickness is 9µm. The slots have been etched in the difference of the achieved gain from the theoretical value is
foil from one side of the material, as shown in Fig.2, with the less than 0.5dB, what proves a low level of losses in the
accuracy of 0.01mm. The foil from the opposite side has been antenna. The sidelobes suppression is below -20dB. The
etched completely. measured VSWR is close to the simulated one and it is below
1.15:1 for the both Sum and Delta inputs. The antenna

66 2017 XI International Conference on Antenna Theory and Techniques (ICATT), Kyiv, Ukraine
Radome Integrated Slotted Waveguide Antennas

approach to the design of such antenna has been proposed. The


realized algorithm allows performing the synthesis of complex
SWA configurations which contain up to several thousands of
radiating slots.
The achieved results have been demonstrated on an
example of the development of Ku-band monopulse SWA
useful for tracking radar application. The antenna has been
designed, fabricated and tested. The observed compliance of
the simulated and the measured antenna parameters validates
the design, the simulation, and the manufacturing approaches.
The antenna also shows good reproducibility of its parameters
during the batch production.

REFERENCES
[1] R. S. Elliott, Antenna Theory and Design, rev. ed. John Wiley & Sons,
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2017 XI International Conference on Antenna Theory and Techniques (ICATT), Kyiv, Ukraine 67