The effect of mutual coupling on the noise performance of large antenna arrays

Van der Merwe, Jacki (2010-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Electrical and Electronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Worldwide, more large antenna arrays are being deployed in areas of science previously dominated by other antenna geometries. Applications for large arrays include Radar, Satellite Communications and Radio Astronomy. Even though the use of large arrays solve some of the difficulties posed by more traditional antennas, new challenges are also faced. One of these challenges is the problem of noise coupling, and how the overall system performance is affected by it. The Focal Plane Array (FPA), which is a new example of a large antenna array, is currently being researched at a number of institutions worldwide for use in Radio Astronomy. As a result, FPA’s were used as an example element to demonstrate the practical importance of this research. In this study, the effect of mutual coupling on the noise performance of FPA’s was illustrated. This was done by calculating the mutual coupling between the elements of the array, and then calculating the noise power received by each element as a result of the mutual coupling. Next, the Active Noise Figure and Active Noise Temperature were calculated. These parameters were introduced to visualise the effect of mutual coupling on the overall noise performance of the array. Since FPA’s are by definition large, conventional brute-force analysis techniques are very resource intensive. Solving the coupling terms using these methods therefore requires the use of computer clusters even during the design phase of the antenna, which is very expensive. A method was therefore developed to calculate the coupling terms of a large array using Periodic Boundary Conditions. The method uses infinite array analysis, which resulted in an improvement in memory usage in orders of magnitude. This improvement comfortably places the memory requirements for the analysis of large arrays within the range of current personal computers. The results also displayed a reasonable amount of accuracy for use during the design phase of an array. The additional noise power on each element as a result of mutual coupling were also calculated. This was achieved by developing an equivalent circuit diagram that represents the system in terms of the noise and transmission parameters of the LNA of each receiver channel, and the coupling terms of the antenna array. Lastly, the active noise temperature and active noise figure are calculated. The theory was implemented by means of a script with a graphical user interface, to provide easy-to-use access to the theory. A quick reference table of estimated noise coupling penalty versus first term coupling and LNA noise temperature was also compiled. The results of an example calculation showed a significant amount of noise coupling in an 8×8 Vivaldi array. The noise coupling resulted in an increase in system noise temperature, Tsys, in the order of 9% of the LNA noise temperature, TLNA. According to the SKA Tsys budget, this results in an approximate Tsys increase of 1.3 Kelvin. In the context of Radio Astronomy, this additional source of noise cannot be ignored, as it can greatly affect the usebility of the telescope for certain areas of research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Groot antennaskikkings word deesdae al hoe meer ingespan in plek van ander tradisionele antennamodelle. Toepassings vir groot antennaskikkings sluit Radar, Satellietkommunikasie en Radioastronomie in. Alhoewel die gebruik van groot antennaskikkings baie van die probleme wat deur ander tradisionele antennamodelle veroorsaak word oplos, word nuwe uitdagings terselfdertyd geskep. Een van hierdie nuwe uitdagins is ruiskoppelling en hoe dit die ruisgedrag van die stelsel as ’n geheel affekteer. ’n Beeldvlakskikking (FPA), is ’n opwindende nuwe voorbeeld van ’n groot antennaskikking en die moontlikheid vir die gebruik daarvan in radioastronomie word tans wêreldwyd nagevors. Om hierdie rede is die FPA gekies as voorbeeldelement om die bruikbaarheid van hierdie navorsing in die praktyk te beklemtoon. In hierdie studie word die effek van wedersydse koppelling op die ruisgedrag van FPA’s geïllustreer. Dit word gedoen deur eers die wedersydse koppelling tussen die elemente van die antennaskikking te bereken en dan die ruisdrywing wat deur elke element ontvang word as gevolg van wedersydse koppelling. Daarna word die Aktiewe Ruistal en die Aktiewe Ruistemperatuur bereken. Hierdie nuwe parameters word bekendgestel om die gevolge van wedersydse koppelling op die ruisgedrag van die stelsel as ’n geheel te visualiseer. Omdat FPA’s per definisie groot is, vereis die analise daarvan deur middel van konvensionele metodes baie rekenaar hulpbronne. Hierdie metodes vereis dus die gebruik van rekenaarbondels of superrekenaars selfs gedurende die ontwerpfase van die antenna, wat baie duur en onprakties is. Daar is dus ’n metode ontwikkel wat gebruik maak van periodiese randvoorwaardes om groot antennaskikkings te analiseer. Die metode benader ’n groot antennaskikking as ’n eindig-opgewekte oneindige skikking van antennas. As gevolg hiervan, word die geheueverbruik met ordegroottes verbeter. Hierdie verbetering plaas dus die analise van groot antennaskikkings binne die vermoëns van huidige persoonlike rekenaars. Die resultate wys ook ’n aanvaarbare graad van akkuraatheid vir gebruik gedurende die ontwerpfase van die skikking. Die bykomende ruisdrwying op elke element as gevolg van wedersydse koppelling is ook bereken. Om dit te vermag, is daar ’n ekwivalente stroombaandiagram ontwikkel wat die gekoppelde stelsel in terme van die ruis- en transmissieparameters van die laeruisversterker (LNA) aan elke ontvangerkanaal en die koppelterme van die antenna skikking voorstel. Laastens word die aktiewe ruistal en die aktiewe ruistermperatuur ook bereken. Die teorie is geïmplimenteer deur gebruik te maak van ’n grafiesegebruikerskoppelvlak (GUI). Die GUI verskaf aan die gebruiker maklike toegang tot die teorie wat onwikkel is in hierdie navorsing. Daar is ook ’n snelnaslaantabel geskep met benaderde waardes van ruiskoppelling vir ’n verskeidenheid waardes van LNA ruistemperature en eerste element koppelling. Die resultate van ’n 8×8 Vivaldiskikking voorbeeld, het ’n beduidende hoeveelheid ruiskoppelling getoon. Die ruiskoppelling het ’n maksimum toename in stelsel ruistemperatuur, Tsys, van ongeveer 9% van die LNA ruistemperatuur tot gevolg gehad. Volgens die huidige Tsys begroting van die SKA, kom dit neer op ’n Tsys toename van byna 1.3 Kelvin. In die konteks van die radioastronomie, kan hierdie toename in ruistemperatuur nie geïgnoreer word nie aangesien dit die bruikbaarheid van die teleskoop vir sekere velde van navorsing nadelig kan beïnvloed.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4277
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