Florida International University (FIU) is seeking a business partner to develop and commercialize hexagonal waveguide based circularly polarized (CP) horn antennas.
A CP horn antenna is used for transmitting and receiving circularly polarized signals for wireless communication, radar, and imaging applications. Such horns are typically easy to design and fabricate for microwave frequency bands. But for millimeter wave (mm-wave) and terahertz frequency applications, micro-fabrication techniques are needed for such fabrications, which can make them expensive. The technologies currently used for CP horns are by either using septum (or waveguides partitions, discontinuities and irises) and 2) by using an orthogonal mode transducer (OMT). Even with existing micro-nano fabrication methods, it is a challenging task for sub-mm-wave and terahertz frequency designs. This is due to the shrinking dimensions of the waveguides and small features of the partition itself. The design gets expensive and sensitive to fabrication tolerances rendering it not very viable for high frequency applications. The OMT requires rigorous assemblies of waveguide sections, requiring 3D metal fabrication techniques with high precision and low surface roughness. Fabrication of such 3-dimensional waveguide networks is challenging and expensive for high frequency applications owing to small dimensions.
To overcome these limitations, FIU inventors have designed a new class of CP horns that are easy to fabricate for high frequencies, are not susceptible to dielectric breakdown, and are better-matched due to their hollow waveguide design. This was achieved by introducing a uniquely new waveguide form that has a hexagonal cross section, which exhibits varying dispersion properties for orthogonal modes, a property essential for converting linear polarized mode to CP. CP horns were designed in WR-8 band, showing their potential for sub-mm-wave and terahertz frequencies. The hexagonal sections were optimized to further optimize AR-bandwidths and dimensions with up to 40% theoretical 3-db axial-ratio bandwidth. The design eliminated the need for waveguide partitions and other waveguide assemblies that are often required for CP horns.
Mm-wave wireless communication and imaging applications
- The antennas can be fabricated for terrahertz applications.
- Easy fabrication for mm-wave.
- No requirement of waveguide partitions or elaborate waveguide assemblies.
- Good gain at operating frequency.
- Non susceptible to dielectric breakdown, and better matched due to their hollow waveguide designs.