Accuracy Estimation of Microwave Holography from Planar Near-Field Measurements

Author: Christopher A. Rose

Microwave holography is a popular method for diagnosis and alignment of phased array antennas. Holography, commonly known in the near-field measurement community as “backtransformation”, is a method that allows computation of the primary (aperture) fields from the secondary (far-zone) fields. This technique requires the far-zone fields to be known over a complete hemisphere and adequately sampled on a regular spaced grid in K-space.

The holography technique, while known to be mathematically valid, is subject to errors just as all measurements are. Surprisingly, very little work has been done to quantify the accuracy of the procedure in the presence of known measurement errors. It is unreasonable to think that the amplitude and phase of the array elements can be trimmed to better than the uncertainty of the back-transformed amplitude and phase. This makes it difficult for an antenna engineer to determine the achievable resolution in the measurement and calibration of a phased array antenna.

This study reports the results of an empirical characterization of known errors in the holography process. A numerical model of the near-field measurement and holography process has been developed and many test cases examined in an effort to isolate and characterize individual errors commonly found in planar microwave holography. From this work, an error budget can be developed for the measurement of a specific antenna.

 

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