The continued advances of high-speed digital technology and fast-data processing are enabling totally new approaches for designing the radio frequency communication and sensing systems. This involves in particular antennas with many elements, so-called multiport antennas, and the signals received from or transmitted at these ports are processed digitally to provide beam-forming of other smart adaptations to the statistical effects of the opposite side of the communication link, or the distant radio source, including the ionospherical and atmospheric effects (in radio astronomy and space systems) or the multipath effects of the environment (mobile
communications). Such array antennas can be referred to as “smart array antennas”. MIMO antennas on mobile terminals as described previously are also smart array antennas. Smart array antennas are of interest also for the base station antennas with more advanced signal-processing capabilities than at the terminals.
Smart array antennas are used in new generation radio telescopes with station being built in Sweden, such as the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) (10 MHz – 250 MHz), and in planned future international Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescopes.
The current focus of our activities is on the development of electromagnetic methods and simulation tools for the analysis and optimization of active array antenna systems, including their calibration methods and signal processing algorithms.
Figure 1: The electromagnetic model of the phased array feed having 121 reception functions, in the focal region of a large reflector antenna.
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