Lenses for phased arrays?!
The increasingly demand of data throughput in satellite communication, and thus of frequency band, is driving the developments of terminal antennas toward higher operating frequencies. At the same time, to compensate for the path loss at these frequencies, high gain antennas are needed, with scanning of the antenna beam such to provide sufficient coverage. Quasi-optical solutions (eg a dish antenna) in combination with mechanical scanning result in relatively bulky systems. A phased array antenna allows for a seamless integration with the supporting structures, eg buildings, trains and aircraft. However, the field of view of a phased array is intrinsically limited, both because of the geometry (effective area) and the physics (matching at the antenna ports) of the problem. TNO has developed a novel solution that combines a phased array with a lens, exploiting the best of both worlds: the flexibility and low profile of an array antenna with the scanning enhancement provided by a lens.