Enabling & Support

Reconfigurable RF front end circuit for a multi-beam array fed reflector antenna system

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Engineering & Technology
610 - Abstract:
This technology relates to an electronically reconfigurable radiofrequency (RF) front-end circuit used before an emitting multi-beam array fed reflector antenna in order to condition the signals that feed the antenna and the array antenna itself. This circuit architecture allows an optimized radiation pattern variability as well as improved DC-to-RF power efficiency. It is characterized by 2 main parts: a first network for altering the amplitude and the phase of each signal and a second network for recombining the signals and further feed the array antenna.


The present invention regards the architecture and the design methodology of an innovative RF-Front-End system for Multi-Beam (MB) antennas. The novelty of the architecture relates to the joint use of a Semi Active Multi-Matrix antenna architecture in conjunction to Variable-Bias High Power Amplifiers and a method to optimize it in such a way that the amplitude and phase excitations of all the beams simultaneously satisfy the radiative required performances together with the constraint that the load for each amplifier is kept within a range that allow to operate the amplifier with a good 20 DC-to-RF efficiency and the overall RF-Front-End in an optimum DC-to-EIRP efficiency condition.

The proposed architecture realizes all the benefit of Semi-Active Multi-Matrix configurations superseding limitations of existing designs and drastically improving the power efficiency performances. 

Innovations and advantages:

This invention proposes the following innovative aspects, which help the industry with its current needs:

-      Electronically reconfigurable.

-      Freedom for generating the radiative pattern that fits the most.

-      Use of VB-HPA (variable bias high power amplifiers), which allow improving the poor efficiency of amplification sections of the other solutions.

-      In a quantifiable way and compared to other solutions, this invention proposes a 20-40% more RF power (given the same power consumption in DC) or 20% less DC power consumption (given the same RF power).

Commercialisation aspects:

Applications and Markets

This invention may be applied in a variety of non-space applications that are based on multi-beam antennas, and especially where a single radiative pattern is not enough due to the changing environment or the need of moving the antenna. The identified potential applications include:


-      Wireless telecommunications. One single architecture could be easily adapted to different kinds of environment with obstacles (rooms, streets, etc.).

-      Remote sensing, such as radars, altimeters, bi-static reflectometry, radio occultation receivers for signals of opportunity missions, etc.

-      Surveillance and defence. For scanning an area in order to minimize the chances of malfunctioning.

-      Quality control instrumentation, applications for measuring and testing other electronic devices that generate or are susceptible to RF. 

Intellectual property status

An international patent application has been filed.

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