Electromagnetics and Antenna Technology, Chapter 9
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States
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Patch antennas, or microstrip antennas, have been explored extensively for a large variety of antenna designs for single elements and in phased arrays 1. These antennas are particularly useful in applications requiring a thin profile or antennas that must conform to the surface of a curved structure. Common patch antenna shapes are rectangular, square, and circular 1-7. Patch antennas are used for linear, dual linear or circular polarization applications. Patch antennas can be fed with an electrically conducting pin or a microstrip line directly connected to the patch or proximity coupled to the patch. In this chapter, the focus is on the design, analysis, and measurements of a conformal array of circular patch antennas. A non-planar, conformal array antenna is described that uses a combination of 3D printer and copper plating techniques, referred to as an additive manufacturing process. Circular patch antenna elements are copper plated onto a 3D printed dielectric substrate made of ABS-M30 material. Measured and simulated element reflection coefficient, element gain patterns, and array scanned beam radiation patterns at L band are shown.
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