Phased Array Beamforming ICs Simplify Antenna Design

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  • Author: Keith Benson

Wireless communications and radar systems are facing increasing demands on antenna architectures to improve performance. Many new applications will only be possible with antennas that consume less power in a lower profile than traditional mechanically steered dish antennas. These requirements are in addition to the desire to reposition quickly to a new threat or user, transmit multiple data streams, and operate over longer lifetimes at aggressive cost targets. In some applications, there is a need to null an incoming blocking signal and have a low probability of intercept. These challenges are met with phased array-based antenna designs that are sweeping the industry. Past disadvantages of phased array antenna are being addressed with advanced semiconductor technology to ultimately reduce the size, weight, and power of these solutions.

This article will briefly describe existing antenna solutions and where electrically steered antennas have advantages. It will then go into how semiconductor advancements are helping to achieve the goals of improving SWaP-C for electrically steered antennas, followed by examples of ADI technology that make this possible.

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