ESA Intended Invitation To Tender

18.1ET.21


Title: ANTENNA USER TERMINAL WITH WIDE ANGLE IMPEDANCE MATCHING (WAIM) METAMATERIAL RADOME - EXPRO PLUS
AO Number: 1-9536
Program ref.: Technology Developme
Tender Type: C
Tender Status: COMPLETED
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Budget Ref.: E/0901-01 - Technology Developme
Proc. Prop.: NO
Special Prov.: BE+DK+FR+DE+IT+NL+ES+SE+CH+GB+IE+AT+NO+FI+PT+GR+LU+CZ+RO+PL+EE+HU
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. & Quality
Department: Electrical Engineering Department
Division: RF Payloads & Technology Division
Contract Officer: Ferreol, Audrey
Products: Satellites & Probes / RF / Microwave Communication (Platform and Payloads) / Antennas / Omnidirectional, Helix, Horn, Parabolic, Phased Arrays / Platform vs Payload
Techology Domains: Electromagnetic Technologies and Techniques / Antennas / Reflector and Lens Antennas
Electromagnetic Technologies and Techniques / Antennas / Array Antennas and Standalone Radiators
Industrial Policy Measure: C1 - Activities in open competition limited to the non-Larg...
Publication Date: 27-JUL-18

Conventional fully electronic antennas exhibit several limitations when scanning towards the horizon. As example, dipole-like antennas preserve only one linear polarization perpendicular to the ground plane; patch-like antennas exhibit severe scanning losses; hemispherical conformal antennas and dome antennas (lenses with variable thickness or different materials (Luneberg-like))offer good performance but are bulky and heavy.Recent investigations have shown that a WAIM, based on a doubly uniaxial (magnetic and electric) anisotropic layer, can be optimized for high performance on a large angular field of view. Metamaterials, composed by artificial structures with subwavelength unit cells, can be fabricated to achieve gradually refractive indices. By designing the refractive indices properly, a gradient-index planar slab able to transform spherical waves into plane waves may be derived. Using such a property, the performance of active phased array antenna over a large field of view can be drastically improved.In addition, the integration of the WAIM in the radome is expected to reduce significantly the overall terminal height with moderate impact on cost.The curvatureof the radome shall be exploited in order to maximise the performance, particularly at larger scanning angles. The amplitude and phase law applied to the phased array elements shall also be optimized for every angular direction to best account for parasitic effects and active impedance variations. Possible compensation of cross-polarization by amplitude and phase tuning shall be investigated.The activity will start with the requirements definition. Then the identification of the most suitable metamaterial layers and a trade-off between RF performance, overall thickness, manufacturability, weight and cost will be performed. On this basis a detailed design, manufacturing and test will be done followed by a comparison (in terms of cost, complexity, RF performance, etc.) with similarantenna without WAIM implementation. It is expected that particular emphasis shall be put on the WAIM design, with a maximum reuse ofalready existing phased array breadboard. Possible environmental impact on the radome performance shall be assessed.Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs). For additional information please go to EMITS news "Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and RD entities in ESA programmes".