DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING OF AN X-BAND ACTIVE REFLECT-ARRAY WITH 137 MESFET AMPLIFIERS
Ashley W. Robinsontt, Marek E. Bialkowski', Hyok J. Song' 'Filtronic Components Australia 43 Metroplex Avenue Murarrie, Queensland 4170 Australia Ashleyr@filtronic.com.au
* Computer Science and Electrical
Engineering Dept. University of Queensland St Lucia Queensland 4072 Australia E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The development of a 137-element active reflect-array with MESFET amplifiers operating at X-band is presented. The array uses dual feed aperture coupled patch antennas to reduce the element size and allow for a tighter packing density. Test results for the array, including gain and radiation pattem at two frequencies, are presented to allow discussion of the array performance.
Arrays of microstrip patches fed by a circuit network [l], and microstrip reflect-arrays ,  fed by a hom antenna, have been proposed as a replacement for the frequently used parabolic reflector antenna. These structures each have their own advantages and disadvantages, such as the fully planar format of the microstrip patch array but with conduction losses in the feed network for large, highly directive, arrays. The reflect-array features a fully planar reflector, however, the entire structure including the feed is 3-dimensional. In comparison with the microstrip array with the circuit-type feed network, its advantage is that the feed losses are reduced. This is because the hom and the array act as a spatial power combiner, for which conductive losses are negligible.
In comparison with a conventional parabolic reflector, both planar microstrip arrays and reflect-arrays feature a reduced bandwidth. The reason is that in order to efficiently combine power in a given direction in space, as measured in terms of the directive gain, microstrip patch elements require a suitable phasing, which can only be achieved over a limited bandwidth before beam squint occurs.
In addition to exploring them as antennas, the most recent interest has been to use microstrip patch arrays as spatial power combiners of solid state sources, in which transistor oscillators or amplifiers  augment passive patches. Previous reflect-arrays presented in the literature have been passive reflectors only. In the present paper, an active reflect-array is considered as a candidate for a spatial power combiner of transistor amplifiers.
The 137 elements of the active reflect-array use a combination of an aperture coupled patch antenna and a MESFET amplifier. To minimise spacing between elements in the array, the aperture coupled patch antenna has dual, orthogonal, feeds with 'dog-bone' slots. These dual feed antennas allow for much greater packing density in the array than would be possible if separate antennas were used for receive and transmit. A return loss of better than lOdB is achieved for this antenna element across a frequency range of llGHz to 11.7GHz with a minimum isolation between the feeds of 13dB at 10.3GHz. This isolation sets the maximum gain possible for the active stage for stable, oscillation free, operation, however as the gain approaches the isolation the gain ripple with respect to frequency
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2) patch antenna substrate.57" thick Rogers 5880 (dielectric constant 2.3" thick foam layer in between the 0.5GHz.
. The MESFET amplifier is based around a Mitsubishi MGF1302 with a microstrip matcliing network to produce approximately lOdB of gain across a bandwidth of lOGHz to 12GHz when operating . The element spacing is set by the size required for the active bias network for each amplifier.
Figure 1: Photograph of (a) the amplifier side of the central tile. and (b) complete 137 element ac. The layout for the central 25 elements of the array can be seen in Figure la.2) feed subsitrate and the 1. however simulation of the performance of the antenna indicated that at the 0. and an axial length of about 60mm.
To convert the spherical wavefront from the feed hom to a planar wavefront each element in the array requires suitable phasing.8 wavelengths is the prefened spacing to avoid grating lobes in the radiation pattem. A small WR90 hom antenna with a 4 4 " (E-plane) by 38" aperture. Standard design equations are applied to obtain the required microstrip line section lengths at the design frequency of 11.with 50 ohm source and load impedances. It is mounted onto an adjustable aluminium arm that is screwed to the bottom of the array-backing sheet.635" thick Rogers 6010 (dielectric constant 10. feeds the array.4GHz. Bias for each element is established via an active auto-bias network to set each FET for a drain to source voltage of 3V with 30mA of drain current.92 wavelength spacing the grating lobes had not risen by an excessive amount. arranged on a rectangular lattice with a circular border.will increase. or 0. The wide bandwidth of the antenna is achieved through the use of a 1.92 wavelengths at 11. In order to avoid feed blockage an offset feed design is explored. This is achieved by the addition of sections of microstrip tran:smissionline between the transistor amplifier and the transmit portion of the aperture coupled paltch antenna. The hom is positioned at 180" down from the centre of the array and 360" out from the array. A spacing of 0.tive reflect-array The active reflect-array has 137 elements separated by 2 4 m .
the complete array is broken up into 9 separate tiles to suit the size of the available substrate in the etching process and to ease the assembly of the amplifier elements.5
(a> Figure 2: Measured gain for active reflect-array when co-polarised with receive antenna compared to (a) array with drain supply removed (b) cross-polar response The cross-polar gain of the array is given in Figure 2(b). Also in Figure 2(a) is the measured gain for the array when the FET drain supply is removed. The gain response for no drain supply is the same shape as for the passive reflect-array explored in [ 5 ] . In this stage the dual-feeds in each element were connected using suitable lengths of the 50ohm characteristic impedance microstrip transmission line.3GHz. The coupling between the feeds of the antenna could also be increased over that measured on the antenna alone by reflections from the array backing plate. the amplifier layer was fully populated with transistors and bias components to form the active array.5
10. In this case the amplifier acts as an attenuator with a loss relatively constant with frequency.5
11 FREQUENCY (GM)
11. The developed active array underwent similar tests as the passive prototype.
. Note that this approach may be required to create large size reflect-arrays.
To verify the performance of the array design tests were initially performed on a passive prototype.
. This plot shows that the active reflect-array has high cross polarisation for frequencies in the range of 10.
. The high levels of cross-polarisation are most likely due to the combination of the return loss of the active stage. In both cases. Having confirmed the array design as sound. Results and discussion on the performance of this array can be found in [ 5 ] .NO DRAM
ACTIVE REFLECT-ARRAY RESULTS
The gain and radiation pattem for the active reflect-array was measured across a frequency range of lOGHz to 12GHz. The measured gain for the array is given in Figure 2 where the measurements were performed relative to a hom antenna of known gain. and therefore radiation of the cross-polarised signal from the input feed. It is also useful to note that a peak in the cross-polarisationoccurs at the same frequency as a trough in the co-polarised gain.As seen in Figure lb.
. Each tile is assembled using M2 nylon screws and nuts with the foam layer sandwiched in between the thick patch antenna substrate and the circuit substrate. leading to low levels of isolation between the two feeds of the antenna. both input and output. the measurements were performed in an anechoic chamber.. In contrast the gain of the active array at full bias shows gain over that of the passive array across lOGHz to 11.5 11 FREQUENCY
11.8GHz to 11GHz. but at a lower level due to the attenuation of the FET. The array is mounted on a sheet of HMW plastic to obtain a rigid construction with a gap of approximately 10" between the amplifier substrate and the mounting sheet.
. H. W. .
. . . Robinson. Integrated Active Antennas and Spatial Power Combining.
The design. 1999.
. June 1994. Vo1.E. .15GHz. Microwave and Optical Technology Letters. Chang.
. The array features broadside radiation although with increased side lobes and undesired cross-polarisation.
. A. . D. .
_. Vol3. “Microstrip Reflectarray and its Applications”. Navarro and K. Huang.15GHz for the azimuth and elevation principle planes and the cross-polarised azimuth radiation pattem.
[l] Song. In this array dual-feed slotlaperture coupled patch antenna elements are used to minimise the inter-element spacing.M. 1996. . No 5. At 1lGHz the gain of the array is in a dip with respect to the surrounding frequencies. along with the cross-polarised azimuth radiation pattem. “Analysis and Design of a Microstrip Reflectarray Using Patches of Variable Size”.295-299.J. this array features a significant side lobe level. D. Dec. pp 1177-1180  S . The required phasing to obtain broadside radiation is achieved by using sections of transmission lines coupled between the inputloiitput ports of the transistor amplifiers and the apertures.
-180 -135 -90
-90 -75-60 -45 -30 -15 0 15 30 45 10 75 90 6
(4 (b) Figure 3: 137-element active reflect-array measured radiation pattem (a) at llGHz in the azimuth principle planes across full 360 degrees. IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine. Song.  J. Pozar.
 J. 40. vol.
. Similarly as its passive partner. The peak of cross-polarisation is about 12 dB from the peak of main lobe. . pp 1820 . “A Passive Reflect-Array with Dual-Feed Microstrip Patch Elements”. . I
..15GHz the active antenna exhibits good gain over the passive array discussed in . Figure 3(a). M. Figure 3 shows the azimuth. E. . and Bialkowski.
. This plot. development and testing of an X-band 137 element active reflect-array including transistor amplifiers has been presented. M. .. .5. No. shows that the at this gain dip the array is still radiating in a broadside direction.The improved performance can be expected in the next design iterations. pp. Wiley Inter-Science. Proc.. 5. . . At 11. E E E Antennas and Propagation Conf.. .. J. .23. . Targonski.  A. . relative to the co-polarised peak gain. . (b) at 11.re mode.1823.
. 25-29. Japan. Proceedings of ISAP 96.
. and in particular the array does not radiate in an end fi.
. Oct 1998. . “Ku-band 16x16 Array of Aperture Coupled Microstrip Patches”. .
. H. pp. IChiba. . elevation and cross-polar (azimuth) radiation pattems for the active array as measured at 1lGHz and 11. Bialkowski.