Wideband data-independent beamforming for subarrays

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The desire to operate large antenna arrays for e.g. RADAR applications over a wider frequency range is currently limited by the hardware, which due to weight, cost and size only permits complex multipliers behind each element. In contrast, wideband processing would have to rely on tap delay lines enabling digital filters for every element.As an intermediate step, in this thesis we consider a design where elements are grouped into subarrays, within which elements are still individually controlled by narrowband complex weights, but where each subarray output is given a tap delay line or finite impulse response digital filter for further wideband processing. Firstly, this thesis explores how a tap delay line attached to every subarray can be designed as a delay-and-sum beamformer. This filter is set to realised a fractional delay design based on a windowed sinc function. At the element level, we show that designing a narrowband beam w.r.t. a centre frequency of wideband operation is suboptimal,and suggest an optimisation technique that can yield sufficiently accurate gain over a frequency band of interest for an arbitrary look direction, which however comes at the cost of reduced aperture efficiency, as well as significantly increased sidelobes.We also suggest an adaptive method to enhance the frequency characteristic of a partial wideband array design, by utilising subarrays pointing in different directions in different frequency bands — resolved by means of a filter bank — to adaptively suppress undesired components in the beam patterns of the subarrays. Finally, the thesis proposes a novel array design approach obtained by rotational tiling of subarrays such that the overall array aperture is densely constructed from the same geometric subarray by rotation and translation only. Since the grating lobes of differently oriented subarrays do not necessarily align, an effective grating lobe attenuation w.r.t. the main beam is achieved. Based on a review of findings from geometry,a number of designs are highlight and transformed into numerical examples, and the theoretically expected grating lobe suppression is compared to uniformly spaced arrays.Supported by a number of models and simulations, the thesis thus suggests various numerical and hardware design techniques, mainly the addition of tap-delay-line per subarray and some added processing overhead, that can help to construct a large partial wideband array close in wideband performance to currently existing hardware.
Date of Award1 Dec 2016
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorStephan Weiss (Supervisor) & John Soraghan (Supervisor)

Cite this