Wideband Beamforming Networks for Scanning Multi-Mode Arrays

Project: Research project

Project Details


Texas A&M University (TAMU) proposes a new applied research program focused on thedevelopment of Multifunctional Beamforming Networ'ks for Scanning Multi-Mode WidebandArrays. The primary goal of this proposed effort is to engineer a scalable, compact, andmultifu'nctional architecture for a beamforming network (BFN) that enables scanning multi-modecapabilities in a wideband uniform circular array (UCA) topology. The fundamental capabilitiesof scanning multi-mode wideband UCAs have been demonstrated recently by researcher's at theU.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and the potential to support a number of operationalroles (giving rise to the concep''t of multifunctionality) makes this an increasingly attractiveoption. However, a compact and modular design strategy for the BFN re'quired to support theoperation of these array topologies remains a challenge when consideration its deployment inspace- and weight#NAME? arising from this operational scenario ina systematic and pragmatic fashion that places an emphasis on the need to rapidly develop anddeploy a prototype BFN that can be used for demonstrating the multi-mode scanning arrayconcepts. Activities are also proposed that seek to extend the operational concept of the scanningmulti-mode array by investigating the efficacy of the prototype BFN in a novel switched-beamconformal antenna system with structured and unstructured distributions of elements on ahemispherical surfac'e.Design, simulation, fabrication, and experimental campaigns will all be used in concert toaccomplish the goals of this project a'nd develop a BFN that leverages the distinct blend ofswitched-beam and phased array antenna systems required by the scanning multi-modal array.One of the key activities proposed includes a comprehensive design study that seeks benchmarkthe fundamental scanning' multi-mode array performance that can be achieved using matrix, lens,and a novel approach. The latter hybridizes the BFN through t''he decimation, modularization, andconcatenation of both lens and matrix topologies as a means to form a compact structure.Understa'nding the trade-offs in performance for these systems is critical to evaluate the impactof scaling and compactness but this has not' been rigorously studied in an applied framework toexamine the loss mechanisms, wideband impedance matching capabilities, phase shi''fterrequirements, and impact of discretization error introduced by digital phase shifters. Researchersat TAMU have recently demons''trated a computer-vision system for sensing and electronicallycontrolling distributed swarming arrays, and this has led to the deve'lopment of unique expertisein this area. The family of designs that best enable scanning multi-mode antenna arraycapabilities and provide a clear pathway to achieving compactness and scalability will beconsidered for a band-limited prototype and experimental c'ampaign.Informed by initial design studies and other relevant input, this prototype will be will befabricated and deployed as an e'nabling technology and demonstration vehicle for a widebanduniform circular arrays (UCA). Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) component's will be leveragedto ensure the development is size, weight, and power, including electronically controlled phaseshifters and oth'er components to provide the unique phase distribution required by multi-modeoverlapping switched-beam configurations that have the' potential to enable new paradigms incommunications, sensing, and electronic warfare. After demonstration of the prototype BFN, ap'athway for hybridization and follow-on efforts to iteratively modularize the concept and reduceits form factor will be pursued.

Effective start/end date11/16/17 → …


  • U.S. Navy: $310,000.00


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