Combination Planar, Cylindrical, Far-Field and Dual Spherical Near-Field Test System for 0.2-110GHz Applications
Author: Patrick Pelland, Scott Caslow, Gholamreza Zeinolabedin Rafi
Nearfield Systems Inc. (NSI) has been contracted by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Waterloo to install a unique antenna test system with multiple configurations allowing it to characterize a wide variety of antenna types over a very wide bandwidth. The system employs a total of 10 positional axes to allow near-field and far-field testing in various modes of operation with great flexibility. A 4 m x 4 m planar near-field (PNF) scanner is used for testing directive antennas operating at frequencies up to 110 GHz with laser interferometer position feedback providing dynamic probe position correction. The PNF’s Y-axis can also be used for cylindrical near-field (CNF) testing applications when paired with a floor mounted azimuth rotation stage. A single phi-over-theta positioner permits both spherical near-field (SNF) testing from L-band to W-band and far-field testing down to 0.2 GHz. This positioner is installed on a translation stage allowing 1.8 m of Z-axis travel to adjust the probe-to-AUT separation. In addition, a theta-over-phi swing arm SNF system is available for testing large, gravitationally sensitive antennas that may be easily installed on a floor mounted rotation stage. In order to ensure system and personnel safety, a complex interlock system was designed to reduce the risk of mechanical interference and ease the transition from one configuration to another. The system installation and validation was completed in March 2013. We believe that this facility is unique in that it encompasses all commonly used near-field configurations within one chamber. It therefore provides a perfect environment for the training of young engineers and could potentially form the baseline of future academic test facilities. This paper will outline the technical specifications of the scanner and discuss the recommended applications for each configuration. It will also describe the details of the safety interlock system.