“This is an investment for the future”, says Marianna Ivashina, Professor and Head of the Antenna systems research group at Chalmers. “The new antenna chamber positions Chalmers as a major player moving towards terahertz frequencies and massive MIMO systems (Multiple Input Multiple Output) with high levels of integration between antennas, electronics, and digital signal processing.”
Antennas is an essential part of any wireless communication and sensor system that use the energy of electromagnetic waves to transfer information wirelessly through space. Today, there are many different applications that drive the development of antenna systems. The most known sectors include telecommunications, radars, transport, astronomy and space sciences.
The antenna lab is an anechoic chamber; a shielded and isolated room designed to suppress the electromagnetic wave energy of echoes - reflected electromagnetic waves. The interior surfaces in the room are covered with wedge-shaped absorptive material. The equipment under test receives signals from a signal source in the chamber without internally reflecting these transmitted waves. This ensures that the antenna being tested is not influenced by external or internal reflected noise.
A flexible measuring system
The antenna measurement equipment in the new lab is suitable for the characterisation of all standards and parameters of passive and active antenna systems, including antennas and devices developed for 5G and 6G communications and beyond. The flexibility of the reconfigurable antenna measurement system allows for all kinds of tests, from research and development to prototyping and final product acceptance.
The investment is a strategic joint effort by the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers and related industries in the Gothenburg area, including Ericsson, QAMCOM, Gapwaves, Bluetest, Provinn, and RanLOS.
“We invite researchers and students that want to explore the potential of this state-of the art infrastructure to collaborate with us and use the chamber in educational and scientific projects”, says Associate Professor Ashraf Uz Zaman, Manager of the mm-wave/THz chamber. “The antenna chamber will be available for collaborators from January 2021.”
The interior surfaces in the anechoic antenna chamber are covered with wedge-shaped absorptive material. Here, the researcher Ashraf Uz Zaman is preparing the lab for testing. The antenna measurement system is flexible and suitable for the characterisation of all standards and parameters of passive and active antenna systems, from research and development to prototyping and final product acceptance.
Moving towards teraherz frequencies
Only a few other antenna measurement chambers in Europe have similar features and capacity as the chamber now being taken into operation at Chalmers. These antenna chambers are provided by the same supplier and located in France, Italy and in Great Britain.
Currently, the chamber at Chalmers offers an operation frequency range from 700 MHz up to 300 GHz. The setup has the potential to be further upgraded to also include teraherz frequencies. In the electromagnetic spectrum, terahertz waves are found between microwaves and infrared light, operating in between electronics and optics.
“In a few years, we are planning to upgrade the equipment to be able to perform measurements in frequencies beyond 300 GHz”, says Marianna Ivashina. “That kind of measurements are challenging and requires very advanced technology, since it is approaching the limit of what is currently possible to access.”
The company Antenna Systems Solutions, ASYSOL, has been the main supplier of the antenna chamber. ASYSOL is a worldwide leading provider of antenna measurement solutions for the defense, government and wireless industries.
Text: Yvonne Jonsson
Photo: Henrik Sandsjö
Facts about what measurements that can be performed at Chalmers
The antenna chamber comprises a reconfigurable engineered mechanical setup allowing different types of measurements:
- direct far-field (FF) measurements using a larger distance between the source antenna and antenna under test (AUT),
- spherical near-field (SNF) measurements for electrically larger antennas
- indirect far-field measurements for electrically larger antennas using a compact antenna test range (CATR) setup
- Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) measurements, calibration, algorithm evaluation, etc., in the MATE testbed. The testbed has both a mmWave setup at 29 GHz, and configurations in the 1-3 GHz region, and a web interface for remote control.
Examples of research projects where the new antenna chamber will be used:
For more information, please contact:
, Professor and Head of the Antenna Systems Research group, Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology
Ashraf Uz Zaman
, Manager of the mm-wave/THz chamber, Associate Professor at the Antenna Systems Research group, Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology