A Highly Accuracy Spherical Near-Field Arch Positioning System

Authors: Jeffrey Fordham, Tim Schwartz, George Cawthon, Youlian Netzov, Scott McBride, Makary Awadalla, Dave Wayne
Publication: AMTA 2011
Copyright Owner: NSI-MI Technologies

Highly accurate spherical near-field measurement systems require precise alignment of the probe antenna to the measurement surface. MI Technologies has designed and constructed a new spherical near field arch positioner with a 1.5 meter radius to support measurements requiring accurate knowledge of the probe phase center to within .0064 cm throughout its range of travel.

To achieve this level of accuracy, several key design elements were considered. First, a highly robust mechanical design was considered and implemented. Second, a tracking laser interferometer system was included in the system for characterization of residual errors in the position of the probe. Third, a position control system was implemented that would automatically correct for the residual errors.

The scanner includes a two position automated probe changer for automated measurements of multi-band antennas and a high accuracy azimuth axis. The azimuth axis includes an algorithm for correcting residual, repeatable positioning errors.

This paper defines the spherical near-field system and relation of each axis to the global coordinate system, discusses their associated error sources and the effect on global positioning and presents achieved highly accurate results.

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