Linear Array Beam Characteristics and Array Factor for Phased Array Antenna Patterns

With the proliferation of digital phased arrays in commercial and aerospace and defense applications, there are many engineers working on various aspects of the design who have limited phased array antenna familiarity. Phased array antenna design is not new, as the theory has been well developed over decades; however, most of the literature is intended for antenna engineers well versed in the electromagnetic mathematics.

As phased arrays begin to include more mixed-signal and digital content, there are many engineers who could benefit from a much more intuitive explanation of phased array antenna patterns. As it turns out, there are many analogies between the behavior of phased array antennas and the discrete time sampled systems that the mixed-signal and digital engineers work with every day. These articles are not intended to create antenna design engineers, but rather to help the engineer working on a subsystem or component used in a phased array to visualize how their effort may impact a phased array antenna pattern.