Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

European Space Agency investigates novel analogue self-steered antennas

Date:
January 31, 2011
Source:
Queen's University, Belfast
Summary:
Bulky present generation satellite dishes and ground terminals could become relics of the past thanks to research currently being conducted for the European Space Agency aimed at developing discrete self-aligning flat antennas.

Dr Neil Buchanan with a prototype of a Retrodirective Antenna.
Credit: Image courtesy of Queen's University, Belfast

Bulky present generation satellite dishes and ground terminals could become relics of the past thanks to research currently being conducted for the European Space Agency (ESA) by Queen's University Belfast's Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) aimed at developing discrete self-aligning flat antennas.

It is hoped the work could lead to a one-size-fits all solution that could be optimised for a variety of technologies presently used to deliver satellite broadband and television to travellers as well as customers in broadband 'not spots'.

ECIT is currently working on an 18 month ESA project with the aim of developing a completely self-contained solid-state self-steering antenna that is much lighter and less power hungry than current alternatives.

The team being led by Professor Vincent Fusco plan to complete work on a 1.6GHz demonstrator -- capable of providing transfer rates of 0.5Mbits/s -- with a power requirement of just 2 watts. It is anticipated that the device will ultimately have the capability to operate at 20-30 GHz in order to provide much greater bandwidth.

The design currently being worked on is a 4x5 element planar array measuring 30cm by 40 cm and just 12 mm deep.

Uniquely, the circuits are entirely analogue and incorporate specially adapted phase locked loop circuits. By contrast, conventional circuits convert incoming signals to digital, process them electronically and then convert them back to analogue. This however limits their frequency, and increases their complexity, cost and power requirements.

Queen's University has a strong reputation in this specialised field, having built the world's first 65MHz self steered antenna a number of years ago. Since then, it has built a close relationship with ESA to whom it is now the main supplier of quasi-optical filters.

Dr Neil Buchanan the lead engineer on the project who recently received ESA's Best Young Engineer award for his work in the field said:

"The work is especially exciting because it has involved taking a piece of pure university research and bringing it into the real world. We believe that self-tracking antennas offer the prospect of much simpler and more cost effective alternatives to other current approaches. That, we believe, makes them ideally suited to a variety of end uses.

"For example, satellite broadband aircraft antennas are extremely complex. They need to be linked into the plane's onboard navigation system in order to find the satellite. In trains and road vehicles, they consume a lot of power and they require mechanical parts for tracking purposes."

"We believe that across these applications the solution we are currently working on could reduce power consumption by a factor of 10, weight by a factor of five and cost by a factor of four.

"It clearly has a lot of potential," he adds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University, Belfast. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University, Belfast. "European Space Agency investigates novel analogue self-steered antennas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131073137.htm>.
Queen's University, Belfast. (2011, January 31). European Space Agency investigates novel analogue self-steered antennas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131073137.htm
Queen's University, Belfast. "European Space Agency investigates novel analogue self-steered antennas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131073137.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) An analysis of new satellite data casts serious doubt on a previous study about the Big Bang that was once hailed as revolutionary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins