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Scarborough C.P.,Pennsylvania State University | Wu Q.,Pennsylvania State University | Werner D.H.,Pennsylvania State University | Lier E.,LockheedMartin Commercial Space Systems | And 2 more authors.
IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation | Year: 2013

This paper reports on the detailed design and experimental demonstration of a metamaterial-enabled low-sidelobe horn antenna (metahorn) based on principles similar to those of earlier soft horn antennas. The target application is a linearly polarized feed horn in the super-extended C-band (3.4-6.725 GHz) for communication satellite reflector antennas. The paper describes the detailed design and manufacturing of the $E$-plane metamaterial liner (metaliner) based on a freestanding wire grid without the need for a dielectric substrate material. The measured copolarized and cross-polarized antenna patterns from the feed horn demonstrate over an octave pattern bandwidth with negligible loss. The results show similar bandwidth with lower sidelobes and backlobes than those of the trifurcated horn that is currently used as the standard C-band feed for single linear polarization. This demonstration shows promise for lightweight metamaterial horns to replace heavy and expensive C-band corrugated horns. © 2012 IEEE.

Wu Q.,Pennsylvania State University | Scarborough C.P.,Pennsylvania State University | Martin B.G.,LockheedMartin Commercial Space Systems | Shaw R.K.,LockheedMartin Commercial Space Systems | And 3 more authors.
IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation | Year: 2013

Metamaterials with properly engineered surface properties have been recently proposed for application in the design of broadband hybrid-mode horn antennas, such as soft and hard horns. In this paper, we present the design, fabrication, and measured results of a square dual-polarization horn antenna with thin metasurfaces lining the four walls, demonstrating broadband, negligible-loss hybrid-mode operation. By employing a powerful genetic-algorithm (GA) design optimization technique, we have dispersion-engineered low-index metaliners whose surface impedances satisfy the balanced hybrid condition across the Ku-band. The optimized metaliners were synthesized based on conventional printed-circuit board technology, leading to a lightweight and low-cost construction. To improve the cross-polarization response, a simple dielectric plug was placed in the throat of the horn to perform effective mode conversion. Measurements showed that the fabricated horn antenna prototype provided low sidelobes, low cross-polarization levels, and radiation patterns that are approximately independent of polarization. Excellent agreement was found between measured and simulated results across the entire band of operation. Both the far-field radiation patterns and the aperture field distributions confirm the hybrid-mode operation of the horn, validating the balanced metasurface design. This metamaterial-enabled antenna represents a low-cost alternative to other types of soft feed horns, such as corrugated horns. © 2012 IEEE.

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