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Electromagnetic WaveAbsorbers and Anechoic

Chambers Through the Years

Abstract-A historical summary of the development of microwave

in The Net,herlands, led to the hst known absorber, a
absorbing materials and anechoic chambers is presented. quarter-wave resonant type for the2-GHz region. It was
not unlike some of t.hose of today in that it employed
INTRODUCTION carbon black to achieve dissipation and Ti0 to achieve
a high dielectric constant as desirable for reduced thick-
ELECTRONIAGNETIC-wave absorbers and anechoic
chambers arein widespread use t$hroughoutthe world
ness. It is interesting that this work was instigated be-
cause it was anticipated t,hat a.n absorber would be useful
in making antenna and reflectivity measurement,s. There for covering the rear of an antenna to improve the front-
are over 400 chambers in existence today, ra.nging up to to-back rat4io. This became the first patented absorber
175 f t in length and up to 50-ft by 50-ft in cross section.
in 1936 [l].
Chambers may operate at frequencies as low as 30 M H z
and higher than 100 GHz. Some chambers havemaximum THEWORLD WAR 11 YEARS
reflection levels into the test region as low as -70 dB
below t.hedirect pathsignal over certain frequency ranges, The first concerted effort to achieve practical useful
and some have shielding isolation to as low as - 140 dB. absorbers arose as radar became moreand more important
Chambers have been designed as general purpose fa.cil- during World War 11. BothGermanyand the United
ities a.nd are employed for a wide va.riety of measurement.s; States built up projects which carried a few absorber
others havebeen designed forpart.icular types of measure- ideas from research through development, design, t.est,
mentssuch as ant.enna impedance, gain, beamwidth, and field evaluation to at least limited operational use.
circularit,y, crosspolarizedcomponentlevels, antenna It is interest,ing to note that the Germans were primarily
pa.tterns, monostat.ic and bistatic radar cross-section pat- interested in absorbers for radar camouflage, whereas work
terns,system sensitivity, system susceptibility, system in the United States was primarily direct.ed toward ab-
compatibility, effectiveradiated power, boresite align- sorbers t.hat would improve radar performance (by reduc-
ment,, radome error, tracking error, and paramet.ers in- ing interfering reflections from nearby objects).
volved with various types of simulation studies. The German project [2]-[3] was known by the code
The purpose of this paper is to follow the major ad- name “Schormteinfeger,” which t,ranslates to “chimney
vances in b0t.h absorbers and chambers from the early sweep” (absorbers and chimney sweeps had something in
beginnings t.hrough the present a.nd to examine the role common, carbon black!). From this project cametwo
of modern day absorbers in improving measurementaccu- operational materials whichsaw use in camouflaging of
racy. submarine snorkels and periscopes.One, known a.s the
Wesch ma.t.eria1 (after L. Wesch), was resonant a t about
THEBEGINNING 3 GHz. It was in the form of a semiflexible rubber sheet
of about 0.3-in thickness t.hat was loaded with carbonyl
Most progress in microwave absorbing materials and
iron powder. The front surface was extended out into a
anechoic chambers areas has taken place in recent years.
“waffle” geometry t.o improvebandwidth. The ot.her,
A step backward t,o 1953, for example, would showproduc-
known as the Jauman absorber (a.fter J. Jauman), was
tion just starting on the first commercially available ab-
a rigid broad-band material of about 3-in thickness that
sorbers. It was also in that year that the first anechoic
wascomprised of alternate layers of rigid plastic and
chambers werecoming under investigation and usefor
resistive sheets. These sheets decreased in resistance a t
antenna measurements.
a near exponential rate toward the back surface t o provide
It is perhapsa little surprising to realize that b0t.h
a gradual transitionfrom a low lossto a high loss medium.
theoretical and experimental workwasgoing onwith
It quit,e effectivelyprovided a reflect,ion coefficient for
electroma.gnetic waveabsorbers in the mid 1930’s. Investi-
angles near normal of better than -20 dB over the fre-
gations at the Naamlooze Vennootschap Machinerieen, quency range of about 2-15 G&. It wasalso effective
in t.hat reflect,ion properties were relatively unaffected by
Manuscript received October 9, 1972; revised March 29, 1973. submersion for long periods of time in a typical World
The author is with the Emerson & Cuming, Inc., Canton, Mam.
02021. War I1 submarine environment.

There is evidence that during the Tva.r, German milit,ary conceived a new idea. W e we might not be surprised to ca.refullywatched over the ferrite investigations learn that. he hadcovered the walls of a rectangular room
of J. L. Snoek at Philips Eindhoven, The Net.herlands, witit.hSalisbury screen absorber, his idea. wasmore effectrive.
with appreciation of the significance that, ferrites might He covered the inner surface of a long pyra.mida1 shaped
have to absorbers. structure wit.h this a,bsorber and was able to demonstrate
The United States project in the 1941-1945 period was that t.he level of reflect,ed signals returned to a test region
led by Halpern at the bf.1.T. Radiation Laborat.ory [4]- at the aperture was much lower than the reflections from
[SI. From t,his workevolved the mat.erials known as a panel of the same absorber at normal incidence. The
“HARP” (Halpern-anti-radar-paint). Theterm“Paint” improvement, was att.ributed to the fact, that this geom-
referred more to t,he goals of the project ra.t.hert,han the etry gave rise to mult.iple reflections in the direction of
results achieved. Two types of resonant, absorbers from t,hepyramid apex. This facility was put. t,o pra.ct,ical
t.his project saw application. Bot,h would more properly measurement use by the R.adia.tionLaboratory.
be referred to as rubber sheets rather than paint. Both
offeredreflect,ion reduct,ion of15-20 dB at resonance. 1945-1950 PERIOD
Both were especially well designed 1vit.h rega.rd to phys-
ical properties for t.heir respective applications in airborne One idea dominated t.his period in import.ance. The
and shipborne environments. The airborne version (known idea was t.ha.t a broad-band a.bsorber could be achieved
as MX-410) was a remarkably thin light weight absorber. u-ith a material which gradually tapered from character-
With a thickness of only 0.025 in for resonance at. X band, istics near that of free space at, t,he front surface to those
it. came closer to “paint” thickness than any other ab- of a dissipat,ive medium at the back surface. During this
sorber ever made. Its thinness is a tribute to the success- period, a number of individuals in a number of organiza-
ful development of an artificial dielect.ric for tjhe base t.ions performed work on such an arrangement [lo]-[14].
ma.teria1that had a real part to thedielect.ric constant. of It seems likely t.hat.a least, some were inspired by knowl-
approximately 150! This high dielectric constant. was edge of the prior art of “dummy load” design. In that,
achieved t.hrough use of a high concent.ration and high area it. had been learned that, low reflection over a. wide
degree of alignment, of disc shaped aluminum flakes in a band of frequencies could be achieved through use of long
rubber mat.& Carbon black provided the proper loss gradual geometrical transhion from a sha.rp point, into
tangent.The shipboard version was outstanding n-ith dissipative materia.1. In fact, some of the experimenters of
regard to ruggedness as achieved through use of a high this period made free-space absorbers using typical dummy
concentra.t,ionof iron particles in a tough neoprene rubber load mat.erials of that. time;Le., carbon loaded into plaster
binder. With a dielectric const,ant of about 20, resonance of pa,ris. Others experimented with a \vide variet,y of other
at, X band required a. thickness of about 0.07 in. The dissipative elements such as graphite, ironoxide, powdered
magnet,ic permeability of the iron even at such high fre- iron, powdered aluminum and copper, steel wool, wat,er
quencies was sufficient to provide some resonance broad- powdered “Advance” and “Constantin,” and metal wires.
ening [SI-[7]. Binders of various plastics and ceramics were used. The
In addition t o theHARP materials, the so-called adva.ntage of having much air (i.e., free space) near t,he
Salisbury screen absorber was also developed at.t,he front. surface was early apprecia.ted by some who worked
Radia.t.ion La,boratory during this period. Salisbury [SI wit.h open media such as excelsior,fibers, and foams.
showed that a resonant absorber could be achieved by Experimental workwas done on avariety of surface
locating a resistive sheet. having a. resistance of 377 Q/sq, geometrics involving pyramids, cones, hemispheres and
a quarter-wavelength out from a refleding surface. Inter- wedges. Nore recent work on scatt,ering from absorbing
est in a practical version of such an arrangement spread wedges has been reported byBucci and Franceschett.i [151.
rapidly and led to the manufact.ure by the U.S. Rubber Broad-band absorption was able t.0 be achieved, not only
Company of a special resistive cloth, known as Uskon by gradual geomet.rica1shaping of the front surface, but
Cloth, specifically for this purpose. With t.he resistive also by increasing the dissipation of the absorber with
layer available, theday had come where an engineer dept.h from a flat outer surface. It was also 1ea.rned that
could readily make an absorber t.hat would be useful over the loss could be either distributed or lumped into thin
a f20-30 percent, frequency range. Construction in prac- discrete layers (such as, resist.ive sheet.s) which could be
t,icewas simple; forexample, the S-band version was oriented either perpendicular or parallel to the direct,ion
cust.omarily made by adhering metal foil to one side of of propa.gationof the incident wave. Patents were awarded
a piece of $-in thick plywood and Uskon C1ot.h to the on the idea of achieving broad-band absorption through
other side. The dielect.ricconst.ant,of the wood was appro- gradual transition to Tiley (Philco Corporat,ion inthe
priat.eto achieve resonance near 3 GHs with this thickness. Unit,ed States) [ll] and t>oSa.lati (Haseltine Corporation
One other idea of importance t.0anechoic cha.mbers in Canada) [12].
also came from work at the “Radiation Laboratory” dur- Probably the most. extensive and successfulwork on
ing the war Neher [9], in need of a way to improve br0a.d-band absorption during this period wasaccom-
the accuracy of indoor measurements he wa.s making, plished by Wright of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

He had worked on t.he absorber project at the M.I.T. 1) A new generation of broad-band absorbers offering
Radiation Laboratory during t.he war and became leader -40 dB reflection coefficient for a.ngles near normal. The
of that project after it was transferred to theU S . improved performance resulted primarily from the use of
Naval Research Laboratory in 1946. For ma.ny years he a shaped (convoluted) front surfa.ce in contrast to the
cont,inued to be at t.he forefront of most developments in flat front surfaceof the hair absorber.
this area [7],[lS],[17]. 2) Antenna pat,tern comparison technique of meam-
Some of those experimenting with broad-band absorb- ing chamber performance. Wit.h t,his measurement pro-
ers made sufficient. quantities of their materials to allow cedure the level of reflected signals was determined by
them to cover panels for use in intercepting reflections recording the pat.tern of an antmema at a number of differ-
knomm to be causing error to indoor measurement.s. ent locations wit,hin the test region of t.he chamber and
overla.ying t.heserecordings. Differences bet.ween patterns
THE EARLY 1950’s
were attributed to different, phase relationships between
. This period is dominated in importance by one develop- t,he reflected signals and the actxal pattern. A quant,itative
ment-the commencement, of commercial manufacture of value for the level of reflections arriving from various
an absorbing material. The material chosen for productmion angles was determined from t.he maximum differences
was the so-called “Hair” absorber. Emerson of t.he U.S. observed within the family of patterns at various angles
Naval Research Laboratory demonstrated that an effec- [23].
tive broad-band absorber could be made by dipping or 3) New cha.mberdesigns. Prior to this period, chambers
spraying carbon black onto a bat of loosely spun animal had been intheform of a simple rectanguhr shape.
hair such as was used in upholstering and packing in tha.t Buckley was amrded patents ont,wo different ways of
day [17]-[19]. This development caught. t,he interest of reducing chamber reflections wit,h different. geometries.
Van Atta (then Head of an ant.enna group at t.hat labo- One involved use of a. wall across t,he chamber Lith an
ratory). He foresaw t.hat such a material would be useful a.pert,urethrough which t.hedirect signal propaga.t.ed[24].
to the a.ntenna community for cont,rolling reflections of The location of this wall was such as to keep the side wall
both indoor and outdoor measurements. It. was largely surfaces in the “shadow” so as to prevent. specular wall
through Van Atta’s effortsthat a large enough init,ial reflections from entering the test region. The other in-
order was collected to encourange ma.nufa.cture.Produc- volved shaping the side walls of a chamber int.0 1ongit.u-
tion was started in 1951 by the Sponge Products Com- dinal baf€les (ridges) so t,hat specular reflections took
pa.ny, Shelton, Conn. (which later became a division of place in direct.ionsa.n-ayfrom the t,est.region [25]. These
the B. F. Goodrich Compa.ny). The early material (known techniques allowed lower reflection levels to be achieved
as Spongex) was %in thick. It offered a reflection co- with the absorbers of t,hat,day [ZS].
efficient.for angles near normal incidence of about - 20 dB 4) The first shielded anechoic chambers. Integrating
over t.he frequency range of 2400 through 10 000 MHz. chambers n-ith shielded enclosureswasshown to be a.n
This was soon followedby 4- and S-in thick versions with effective solution to thegrowing problem of interference to
low frequency limit.snear 1000 and 500 MHz, respectively. and from chamber measurements.
From t,heinitial order for absorber, the first. “dark- 5) The providing of chambers on a turnkey basis. It
rooms” were built at a number of government, and com- was shown t,he experience of an absorber manufact,urer in
mercial organizations. One, at, the U.S. Naval Research the specialized aspects of a chamber such as design,
Laborat.ory, n-as rather t.horoughly studied by Simmons const.ruction, and test allowed the achievement of per-
and Emerson [20]-[22]. Probing wit.h a monopole revealed formance at lower cost. The day was passing when it was
that the level of reflected signals a t S band was about adva.ntageous for an engineer to buy absorber, design a.nd
20 dB below t,he level of the direct signal. build his o m chamber.
While a chamber of such performa.nce today would be During this period at, t.he University of Goettingen,
considered of quite limited usefulness, the engineers of Germany, Meyer [27],[28] was able to bring expertise
t.hat day enthusiast,ically embraced t,he idea of making over from his original field of sound absorption to that of
antenna measurement,sin chambers rather than outdoors, electromagnetic Tave absorpt,ion and introduce a number
and t,he use of this absorber to make simple chambers of novel ideas a.nd concepts that had not been previously
grew rapidly. By t,he end of this period Emerson & Cum- encountered by microwave engineers. He and his associate
ing, Inc., and A1cMilla.n Industrial Corporat,ion were also H. Severin directed a number of graduate students at the
ma.nufacturing absorbers in quantity. university in work associated with electromagnetic ab-
sorption [25>[30]. This work included both t.heoretical
THELATE 1950’s and experimental absorber studies based on such diverse
There a.ppear to be two prominent. contributors to t.he ideas as resist.ance loaded loops, slots in resistive foil,
field in t,his period; Buckley at Emerson B Cuming, Inc., resistance loaded dipoles, strips of magnet,ic material with
and hleyer at the University of Goet,tingen in Germany. various orientations, st.rips of resistive materials with
Buckley made a number of advancements of significance various orient,ations, surface shaping, and magnet.ic load-
to t,he chamber field. They are as follows. ing of resonant materials. Neyer is also to be credited with

the development of a combined acoustic wave and electro-

magnetic wave absorber and with having used t,his ab-
sorber to construct an anechoic cha.mber which could be
used for either t.ype of work [29]-[36].
Much of what we consider as today’s state-of-the-art
was developed to near-final form in the 1960’s. Major
contributions were made by EIiat,t,,Head of the Radiation 0: ’ _ t. i j L -
1 15 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10
Laboratory, Universit-yof Michiga.n,Ann Arbor; by Emer- Thickness in Wavelengths
son at the hlicrowave Project at t.he B. F. Goodrich State-of-the-art absorber reflection coeflicient versu8
Compa.ny; andby Suetake at the Tokyo Institute of thickness for various angles of incidence.
Technology, Tokyo, Japan, who demonst,rat,edsignificant
absorber t.hickness reductions wit.h ferrite underlayers
[17],[37],[38]. Also important was the work of W. of greater t.han -60 dB at high microwavc frequencies.
Bahret at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base who spon- Typical reflection coefficient values for this absorber for
sored a wide variety of related research and development both wide angles and normal incidcncc are shown in Fig. 1. during this period. In Ohis pa.per, however, we This performance is believed to represent, t.hc current
shall concent,rat.eonly on the advancements at the Uni- st.ate-of-the-art in anechoic chamber absorbers. Improve-
versity of Michigan and at the B. F. Goodrich Company. ment over the earlier -40 dB absorber types is attrib-
table primarily to use of front surface shaping involving
A . The University of Michigan an aggregate of sharp point.ed pyramids. Optimization of
The work of Hjatt et al. [39] was sponsored by NASA t.he design of t.his absorber was asssistcd by making the
Langley Research In t,hat early days of satellit,e measurements of absorber reflection propert.ies on large
projects, it was foreseenby NASA that, anechoic chambers absorber covered walls within chambrrs to minimizr edge
would be valuable for making many types of measure- effects and environment,a.leffects.
ments involving space craft,, their antennas, andelectronic 2) Improved absorber measurement techniques. A
systems. For these purposes, the 100-400 MHz range was flared-waveguide t.est horn of thc type specified by Hiatt
important for t,racking and telemetry. At that time, little et al. [39] was made for lorn frequency measurements.
work had been done on the development of absorbers and This device had an overall length of about 60 ft. and was
chambers for that pa.rt of the spect.rum. NASA awarded capable of measuring a lZft widc absorber sample. It was
a contract to t.he Universit,y of Michigan to help establish designed to operate over a prima.ry design rangc of 100-
guidelines relahing to two import,ant a.reas; one, the meas- 400 MHz tshrough employment of ridgcd waveguide.
urement of t,he anechoic properties of absorbers at low Special t,echniques were employed to allow accurat.e
frequencies, and t.m-0, the measurement of t.he anechoic measurement of reflection coefficient!as lorn as -40 dB.
propert.ies of anechoic chambers at low frequencies. With access to t.his test device, it was possible for tlhe
The preceding work on t,his contract brought f0rt.h the first t,ime to study, optimize, and establish quality control
recommendat,ion that the reflection properties of absorb- measurements of low frequency absorbers. As a result, a
ers could be best measured at, low frequencies by measur- number of better low frequency absorbers were dcvcloped,
ing VSWR in a waveguide system which flared t o a la.rge for example, a 12-ft thick absorber Ivith a rcflcction
aperture filled with the absorber under t.est.. It recom- coefficient of -40 dB at 100 MHz.
mended against, free-space measurements of absorbers at 3 ) Improved chamber mcasuremcnt techniques. l’rog-
low frequencies because of error associa.t,edwith diffrac- rem was made in t.he measurement, of the anechoic prop-
tion from edges of t,he absorber. erties of chambers with the introduction of thc “frec-space
With regard to chamber measurements, it showed that VSWR” field probe technique [40]. By late in the 1960’s
there were advantages to measuring reflection levels using this had become the t,echniquc of mrasurement used in
moving probe techniques instmeadof by compa.ring an- essentially all chambers.
tenna pat.terns. This technique involves moving a directional probe
antenna both along and across the tcst region of a cham-
B . . Th,e B . F . Goodrich Microwave Project ber while oriented at a number of discrete aspect, angles
A number of advances were made by the B. F. Good- from 0”-180”. Field amplitude is rccorded during the
rich Company during 1960’s. (The entire B. F. Goodrich movement of the ant.enna at each angle. Reflections reveal
Microwave Project was subsequent,lypurchased by Emer- themselves on such recordings as periodic variations of
son B Cuming, Inc. ) . These developments included the a m p h d e . These arise as the result of phasor addition of
following. reflected signals wit,h the direct signal as probc motion
1) A third generation of anechoic chamber absorbers. cha.nges the phase relat<ionshipsof thcse signals. The
These offered reflection coefficients for normal incidence recordings quantitatively a.nalyzcd to determine t>he

Frequency (MHz)
Fig. 2. Reflection levels measured in large state-of-the-art
chambers of both rectangular and tapered design.
Fig. 3. Large rectangular chamber for susceptibility
measurement of aircraft.
level of the reflected signals which cause the observed
peri0dicit.y at each angle. Curves are customarily plotted
to show the variation of reflect,ion levelof a cha.mberwit.h measurements involving multiple sources, moving SourCes
aspect angle. This measurement technique is able to pro- or bistatic radar cross section. They cannot be used for
vide quantitat,ive measurements of reflection levels t.o as measurements involving absolute field strength since they
low as 80 dB below the direct signa.1 level under some provide path loss different. from that of free space. Rec-
conditions. It is also able to indicate with some degree of tangular chambers areto be preferred for work with
circular polarizat,ion or rotathg linear polarization al-
accuracy t,he angle of arrival of reflected signals, which
though the newer designsinvolving tapers of circular cross
is useful in studying chamber phenomena.
section are sometrimessatisfactory in t.his regard. Because
4) Improved chamber designs. Whilemost chambers
in the 1950’s were in the form of a rectangular shell of their advantages, however, about half the cha,mbers
covered on the ent?ireinner surface with a single type of installed in recent. years have used this design. Some 125
t.apered cha.mbersnow exist.
’absorber, chambers in the 1960’s began t,o appear with
other shapes and absorber arrangements.
The most widely applied of the new geometxies was one
developed by Emerson, involving a chamber in t,he form This brings us t,o t.he present stage of development of
of a pyramidal horn [41]-[44]. A chamber of this design b0t.h absorbers and chambers. Let us conclude by briefly
tapers from a small cross sect,ion in the region of the il- reviening t>hemore import,ant applications to which ab-
luminating antennaup to a large cubical shaped test sorbers are applied t.hese days.
region in which the device undertest is located. It is 1) Anechoic Chambers: More absorber is used in cham-
usually called a (%aperedchamber.” The diverging geom- bers t,han other a.pplicat.ions.Absorbers for cha.mbers are
etry effect.ivelyavoids wide-angle specular reflection from available with a variet,y of characteristics of which the
the side walls, floor and ceiling, which limit t,he anechoic most. important are t,he following: low normal incidence
performance of a rect,angular chamber at. low frequencies. reflection for chamber back walls; low forward scatter a,t
At the higher frequencies where a more directional source wideangles for t,he specular regions of side walls,floor
antenna can be employed, and where the absorbing prop- and ceiling of pat,tern measurement. chambers; a.nd low
ert.ies of t,he anechoic materials are better t.han at the backscatter at wide angles for side walls, floor and ceiling
lower frequencies, these chambers are usually employed or RCS measurement chambers. Other absorbers with
in the conventional mode. more modest properties and lower price are available for
I n view of the extensive use of this design, comment use in less sensitive regions of chambers which come into
is here offered on it,s salient characteristics. Rectangular import.ance primarily with regard to multiple reflections.
chambers are able to reduce reflections to t.he -40 dB Other absorbers are available with charact,eristics which
level at frequencies down to about 1 GHz. The tapered are better suitedto t.he case where propagat.ion is parallel
concept, however, allows achievement of such levels at to the absorber surface such as on the walls of a t,apered
approximately 100 MHz. Tapered chambers have been chamber.
designed, evaluated and used at frequencies as low as Fig. 1 shows the reflection reduction offered a t both
30 MHz. Not only does a chamber of t.his t.ype exhibit \ride angles and normal incidencesfor state-of-the-art
better low frequency performance, but it is able to do so absorbers. Fig. 2 shows the level of reflected signals that
wit>hsignificant saving of cost as a result of less surface have been achieved in large,e-of-the-art chambers of
area a.nd use of less expensive absorbers. b0t.h t,apered a.nd rect.angular design. Pictures of two
Tapered chambers are notm-it,hout limitations however. chambers are shown in Figs. 3 a.nd 4. Those interested in
Since only a single source antenna can be located at. the detailed information on chambers of today may find
t,aper apex, tapered cha.mbers are not well suited for [45)-[60] useful.

[l] Naamlooze Vennootschap Machmerieen, French Patent 802 728,
Feb. 19, 1936.
[2] H. A. Schade, “Schornsteinfeger,” U.S. Tech. Mission to
Europe, Tech. Rep. 90-45 AD-47’746, May 1945.
[3] G. G. MacFarlane, “Radar camouflage, research and develop-
ment by the Germans,” T. 1905, M/99, TRE,July 23, 1945.
[4] 0. Halpren and h.1. J. Johnson, Jr., “Radar, summary report
of HARP project,” OSRD Div. 14, vol. 1, pt. T, chs. 9-12.
[5] C. G . Montgomery, R. H. Dicke, and E. Purcell, Principles of
Xzcrowase Circuits (Radiation Lab. Series 8). Boston, h,Iass.:
Boston Tech., 1948.
[6] 0. Halpren, “hIethods and means for minimizing reflection of
high freauencv radio waves.” C.S. Patent 2 923 934.
[i]HY J. Xfontg6mery, J. 1‘. Johnson, and R. W . Wright, “Iso-
tropic absorbing layers,” U S . Patent 2 951 247.
[a] W . W. Salisbury, “Absorbent, body for electromagnetic waves,”
U.S. Patent 2 599 944, June 10, 1952.
[g] L. K. Nehe5 “Konreflecting background for testing microwave
eoumment. US. Patent 2 656 535. Oct. 20. 19.53.
- I ~~

[lo] F: E . De>,iotte, ~“E1ectromagnetic;adiation absorbing means,”

U.S. Patent Application 769 710, filed Aug. 20, 1947.
1111 J. W. Tiley, “Radio wave absomtion device.” U.S. Patent
2 464 006, Apr. 28, 1 9 4 .
[12] 0. 31. Salati, “Electromagnetic-wave energy absorber,” Cana-
Fig. 4. Meaaurement of astronaut back pack antenna patterns dian Patent 507 981, Dec. 7, 1954.
in large tapered chamber. [13] E. McMillan, “Microwave radiation absorber,” U.S. Patent
2 822 535.
[14] H. A. Tanner, “Fibrous microwave absorber,” U.S. Patent
2 95’7 591.
[15] 0. M. Bucci and G. Franceschetti, “Scattering fromwedge-
2) Improvement of Outdoor RangePerformance: Both shaped absorber,” IEEE Trans. Antennas Propagat., vol.
high andmoderate performance absorbers are used t o AP-19, pp. 96-104, Jan. 1971.
[16] R. W. Wright, various Naval Res. Lab. Reps. and Presentations.
coversources of error-causingreflections on outdoor [17] R. W: Wright. and Tir. H. Emerson, “Broadband a.bsorbing
ranges such as fences, poles, equipment,, building surfaces, material for use in darkrooms,” in Proc. Conf. Radio Znterfer-
ference Reduction, Dee. 1954.
the posit.ioner and other objects that may be nearby. 1181 W. H. Emerson, A,., Sands, and 31. McDowell, Broadband
3) Reduction of T.t.’ide-~4ngle-Radiatio?2 From L4ntennos: absorbent, materials, Tele-Tech., vol. 14, no. 11, Nov. 1955.
[19] -, “Development of broadband absorbing mat.erials for fre-
A significant, quant.itsyof absorber is used to make absorb- quencies as low as 500 MHz,” Naval Res. Lab., Rep. MR300,
ing “tunnels,’ that extend out from the edges of ant.ennas. May 1954.
[20] -4. Simmons and W. Emerson, “Anechoic chamber for micro-
Such an arrangement can provide a sjgnifica.nt reduction waves,” Tele-Tech., vol. 12, no. 7, July 1953.
in sidelobe radiat,ion [Sl]. Absorbers are alsoused to [21] -, ‘.‘An anechoic chamber making use of a new broadband
absorbmg material,” Naval Res. Lab., Rep. 4193, July 1953.
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Reflectivity Level of Radio Anechoic Chambers


Abstract-A comparison between the antenna-pattern comparison anechoic chambers is, that measurements can be carried
technique and the free-space voltage standing-wave ratio techniqueout under specificcontzolled conditions, for example,
for evaluating the reflectivity level of radio anechoic chambers is
independent of weather conditions in nearly reflection-free
presented. Based on an analysis of the two techniques, it is pointed
out which parameters influence the measured value of the reflec- regions and screened from disturbing signals.
tivity level. The comparison is illustrated with experimental resultsSince the first chambers, therehas been a current
and it is explained why inconsistent and uncorrelated results may inkrest in studying met.hods by means of which it would
be foundwhen the two methods are used.Furthermore,it is
be possible to characterize chambers by a figure of merit
demonstrated, by introducingimprovementsinachamber, how
the reflectivity level can be used to measure the improvements.
which chamber performance or more precisely
accuracy with which measurements can be carried out.
This work is inspired by the current discussion of finding a figure
of merit for anechoic chambers. Based on the results, anevaluationIt is generally accepted that for different types of measure-
procedure for anechoic chambersis indicated. However,it is pointedmcnt.s, it is necessary to use different methods to h d
out and illustrated by examples that furtherinvestigations are a figure of merit.. In this work a figure of merit characteriz-
necessary before a satisfactory procedure can be outlined.
ing radio anechoic chambers for antenna pat.ternmeasure-
ments is discussed. The figure of merit is called the
I. INTRODUCTION refledvity level and indica,tes t.he ina.ccuracy in recorded
pattern levels due to t.he small but inevitable reflections
D UETO THE progress in antennaand scaktering
studies, interest in indoor measurement ra.nges has
from the walls, floor and ceiling of the anechoic chamber
lined witlthabsorbing material.
increased since t.he first radio anechoic chambers were
constructed in t.he early fifties. The advantage of radio
It is well knovnthat anechoic chambers may be
constructed in many different ways and antennas possess
very different radiation charact.erist,ics. Therefore, it is
Manuscript received October 3, 1972; revised February 21, 1973. probably not possiblet.ofmdonlyone value for the
The author is with the Laboratory of Electromagnetic Theory,
Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark. reflectivity level from which the measurement accuracy