A Study On Effects Of Phase - Amplitude Errors In Planar Near Field Measurement Facility
Antenna is an indispensable part of a radar or free space communication system. Antenna requires different stringent specifications for different applications. Designed and fabricated for an intended application, antenna or antenna array has to be evaluated for its far-field characteristics in real free space environment which requires setting up of far-field test site. Maintenance of the site to keep the stray reflections levels low, the cost of the real estate are some of the disadvantages. Nearfield measurements are compact and can be used to test the antennas by exploiting the relationship between near-field and far-field. It is shown that the far-field patterns of an antenna can be sufficiently accurately predicted provided the near-field measurements are accurate. Due to limitation in the near-field measurement systems, errors creep in corrupting the nearfield-measured data thus making error in prediction of the far field. All these errors ultimately corrupt the phase and amplitude data. In this thesis, one such near-field measurement facility, the Planar Near Field Measurement facility is discussed. The limitations of the facility and the errors that occur due to their limitations are discussed. Various errors that occur in measurements ultimately corrupt the near-field phase and amplitude. Investigations carried out aim at a detailed study of these phase and amplitude errors and their effect on the far-field patterns of the antenna. Depending on the source of error, the errors are classified as spike, pulse and random errors. The location of occurrence of these types of errors in the measurement plane, their effects on the far-field of the antenna is studied both for phase and amplitude errors. The studies conducted for various phase and amplitude errors show that the near-field phase and amplitude data are more tolerant to random errors as the far-field patterns do not get affected even for low sidelobe cases. The spike errors, though occur as a wedge at a single point in the measurement plane, have more pronounced effect on the far-field patterns. Lower the taper value of the antenna, more pronounced is the error. It is also noticed that the far-field pattern gets affected only in the plane where the error has occurred and has no effect in the orthogonal plane. Pulse type of errors which occur even for a short length in the measurement affect both the principle plane far-field patterns. This study can be used extensively as a tool to determine to the level to which various error such as mechanical, RF etc need to be controlled to make useful and correct pattern predictions on a particular facility. Thereby, the study can be used as a tool to economise the budget of the facility wherein the parameters required for building the facility need not be over specified beyond the requirement. In general, though this is a limited study, it is certainly a trendsetter in this direction.