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20th of July 2016
ATNF Colloquium
High Efficiency Phased Array receivers for Radio Astronomy, Remote Sensing and Satellite Communciations
by Karl Warnick (Brigham Young University, USA)
Abstract. Aperture phased arrays and phased array feeds (PAFs) are a promising technology for sensing and communications applications requiring electronic beamsteering and large signal collecting area. The phased arrays that have been in use for radar and communications for many decades typically have relatively low antenna efficiencies, as the signal environment for terrestrial applications has a high ambient temperature and intensive optimization of receiver sensitivity yields only modest performance gains. For radio astronomy, remote sensing, and satellite communications, the situation is different. High radiation efficiency, low noise electronics, compensation for mutual coupling effects, and careful design optimization are needed to meet stringent performance requirements, and these applications have stimulated something of a renaissance in phased array antenna research. This presentation will survey results on antenna modeling, microwave network theory, antenna design, and experimental characterization for high sensitivity array receiver applications. Systems across the spectrum of applications will be considered, from cryogenic phased array feeds for astronomical observations to planar array feeds for smart satellite terminals that offer adaptive tracking at a low cost. Antenna terms in the latest revision of the IEEE standard for antenna terms and array characterization methods will also be discussed. Finally, the presentation will review open challenges such as determining the quality of active impedance matching in an array feed system, array element radiation loss modeling and measurement, and reducing instabilities in formed images with phased array feeds.

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