Spherical Geometry Selection Used for Error Evaluation

Authors: Greg Hindman, Pat Pelland, Greg Masters

Spherical near-field error analysis is extremely useful in allowing engineers to attain high confidence in antenna measurement results. NSI has authored numerous papers on automated error analysis and spherical geometry choice related to near field measurement results. Prior work primarily relied on comparison of processed results from two different spherical geometries: Theta-Phi (0 ≤θ≤ 180, -180 ≤ φ ≤ 180) and Azimuth-Phi (-180 ≤θ≤ 180, 0 ≤ φ ≤ 180). Both datasets place the probe at appropriate points about the antenna to measure two different full spheres of data; however probe-to-antenna orientation differs in the two cases. In particular, geometry relative to chamber walls is different and can be used to provide insight into scattering and its reduction.

When a single measurement is made which allows both axes to rotate by 360 degrees both spheres are acquired in the same measurement (redundant). They can then be extracted separately in post-processing. In actual fact, once a redundant measurement is made, there are not just two different full spheres that can be extracted, but a continuum of different (though overlapping) spherical datasets that can be derived from the single measurement. For example, if the spherical sample density in Phi is 5 degrees, one can select 72 different full sphere datasets by shifting the start of the dataset in increments of 5 degrees and extracting the corresponding single-sphere subset. These spherical subsets can then be processed and compared to help evaluate system errors by observing the variation in gain, sidelobe, cross pol, etc. with the different subset selections.

This paper will show the usefulness of this technique along with a number of real world examples in spherical near field chambers. Inspection of the results can be instructive in some cases to allow selection of the appropriate spherical subset that gives the best antenna pattern accuracy while avoiding the corrupting influence of certain chamber artifacts like lights, doors, positioner supports, etc.

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