Algorithms for Rapid Characterization and Optimization of Aperture and Reflector Antennas

Arthur Densmore
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, 2013


   title={Algorithms for Rapid Characterization and Optimization of Aperture and Reflector Antennas},

   author={Densmore, Arthur},



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Reflector antennas play a key role in the communication industry, and enhancing the speed of the analysis of reflector antenna systems can provide better responsiveness to the needs of industry as well as promote better understanding of software modeling through faster visualization. A reflector antenna system typically consists of a feed assembly, with a feedhorn and perhaps also a low-noise amplifier (LNA), a bracket or struts to hold the feed assembly in place with respect to the reflector system, and the main reflector, with its mount, and perhaps also a sub-reflector. This prospectus addresses reflector systems with a single (main) reflector. Characterization of a reflector antenna system’s performance involves analysis of its components (feed and reflector) as well as its system-level performance. Optimization of a reflector antenna system is the process of refining the features of its feed and reflector to provide a desired system-level performance, such as a particular radiation pattern and gain-to-noise-temperature ratio (G/T), which can be measured using the Sun. An electrically large reflector antenna (providing a narrow beam) can be represented rather accurately (in directions within a few sidelobes from that of its main beam) by an equivalent aperture, as if it were only the flat aperture representing all the functionality of the three-dimensional reflector system. Examples of system-level performance characteristics are G/T and squinting of a circularly polarized (CP) main beam, which occurs with an offset reflector configuration. The design of a reflector’s feedhorn can be a significant portion of the overall reflector antenna system design. A relatively fast, approximate method of analysis can be used for an initial design, then for subsequent, more mature designs a more complex method of analysis is used. This prospectus addresses a few methods for rapid analysis of feed horns in order of increasing complexity: a unique method of aperture integration called Perimeter-Matched Quadratic Radial Phase (PMQRP), closed-form Spherical Wave EXpansion (SWEX) of a simple yet representative conical feed model, and methods to increase the computational speed of full-wave, mode-matching for smooth or corrugated feedhorns, including BLAS, LAPACK and MAGMA, the latter being a very recent development which utilizes heterogeneous computing architectures including graphical processing units (GPUs) to increase computational speed.
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