Phased arrays have been widely employed in the military radar applications for several decades. Recent growth in civilian radar-based sensors and communication circuits has drawn an increasing interest in the use of the phased array technology in commercial arena. For instance, phased arrays can be utilized in wireless networks, vehicular-radar based sensors, as well as emerging biomedical applications for cancer detection. However, large scale commercial applications of phased arrays are currently limited by their high cost. This cost is primarily attributed to the phase shifters, which is required for each antenna element in the conventional design of phased arrays.
University of Michigan researchers have developed an approach for the design of low cost, low complexity phase arrays. The design allows control of the phase progression in the entire phased array by using only 2 phase shifters. As a result, cost and complexity of the phased arrays based on this approach can be significantly reduced. The proposed phased array is composed of directional couplers, amplifying stages, power combiners and 2 phase shifters. The phase shifters are simple and compact consisting of varactor diodes and inductors. As proof-of-principle, a 2 GHz eight-element phased array with an approximate scan angle of 25 degrees has been shown.
Applications and Advantages
- Phased arrays for various applications including wireless networks, military radars, vehicular-radar based sensors, and biomedical devices
- Lowered cost
- Reduced complexity