Planar antenna array for Ku and Ka band SatCom on the move applicationsBGA-based antenna-in-package at 170 GHz using glass technologyHolographic Conical Beam Scanning Antenna for mm-Wave Radars Using Glass TechnologyBiomimetic antenna array deployed in a state-of-the-art radar sensor with enhanced angle estimation capabilitiesReflectarray antenna at 240 GHz.Robot-supported test range for integrated antenna measurements between 100 GHz and 330 GHz

Antenna Design and Measurements

At the Institute of Microwave Engineering, we have a long experience in developing antenna elements and arrays. In the last years, the main research focus was put on pioneering new antenna solutions for future sensor and communications systems in the mm-wave and Sub-THz regime. Supported by numerous industry and public funded research projects, we have established a holistic design expertise from the material characterization to antenna modelling, prototyping, characterization, and integration.

One of the main pillars of our current research lies on antennas for automotive radar applications, and on scalable and flexible antenna arrays for satellite communications. In this context, broadband/ multiband antenna systems with enhanced MIMO and scanning capabilities, respectively, are being developed. While antenna-on-module implementations using state-of-the-art multilayer PCB technologies are the preferred choice to realize highly-integrated antenna systems at operating frequency below 100 GHz, we also intensively working on novel antenna-in-package concepts for future sensing and communication platforms at (sub-) THz frequencies.

There is a substantial design expertise at the Institute in BGA-based and QFN-based packages types using 3D-structurable mold and glass encapsulation techniques to integrate the antennas, RFICs, and passive components into the mm-wave package. The overarching goal of this research area is to investigate novel radiating elements being in line with a package-scaled approach to overcome the challenge of creating large electronically steerable antenna arrays beyond 150 GHz. In order to realize broadband, efficient and at the same time highly directive radiation characteristics in the upper millimeter wave spectrum, this is accompanied by our research on electrically large multi-port/multi-beam holographic antennas. The holography-based radiation diagram synthesis benefits from completely new degree of freedoms in the design of MIMO radar and communication systems, as they do not rely on the position-dependent superposition of individual radiation diagrams.

Apart from direct radiating antenna systems, the Institute of Microwave Engineering has also a strong research background on reflect- and transmitarray antennas. At higher operating frequencies above 100 GHz, these space-fed antenna architectures become increasingly attractive as they do not require any planar distribution network.

Another research topic concerns antenna arrays which are inspired by the special ears of a fly called Ormia ochracea. Using these biomimetic arrays, it is investigated how the angle estimation capability of radars can be improved and which new degrees of freedom arise for beamforming.

For antenna characterizations, dedicated near and far field test ranges for radiation pattern, gain, and radar cross section measurements at frequencies up to 100 GHz are available. Furthermore, a novel robot-supported test range for integrated antennas between 100 GHz and 330 GHz was developed at the Institute. This test range supports arbitrary 3-dimensional scanning geometries and various measurement types. This makes it not only possible to conduct detailed analyses of the error sources that occur during the characterization of integrated antennas and to quantify their effect on the overall measurement accuracy but also to reduce interferences by post-processing the measurement results.

Closely related to latter research area, the Institute is also investigating new calibration methods based on a modal representation of the radiated electrical field to overcome a very time-consuming calibration procedure of conventional calibration methods for large electronically steerable antenna arrays.

Skills / Expertise:
  • Antenna Design
    • High-performance antenna and antennas arrays using PCB technology
    • Integrated antennas (Antenna-on-Chip/Antenna-in-Package)
    • Reflectarray and transmitarray antennas
    • Multi-port holographic antennas
    • Biomimetic antenna array
    • Planar antenna arrays with adaptive/ cognitive apertures
  • Near and far field characterization of antenna systems up to 330 GHz
  • Calibration of large active antenna array for radar and communication systems
Funded Projects
  • DFG-Projekt: Biomimetische Antennenkonzepte für winkelgebende Millimeterwellensensoren
  • DFG-Projekt, Rekonfigurierbare elektromagnetische Oberflächen im Millimeterwellen-Bereich
  • DFG-Projekt, Planare Gruppenantennen mit elektronisch rekonfigurierbarer Apertur
  • RAFAM: Antennenstrukturen auf Moldverguss im Package
  • BMBF: Glara – Radare auf Glasinterposern
  • EU: FlexCom – FLEXible phased array system for sat-COM applications