Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Advanced Design Methodologies and Novel Applications of Reflectarray Antennas


Payam Nayeri

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Engineering Science

First Advisor

Fan Yang

Second Advisor

Gerard Buskes

Third Advisor

Richard Gordon


Reflectarray antennas combine the numerous advantages of printed antenna arrays and reflector antennas and create a hybrid high-gain antenna with a low-profile, low-mass, and diversified radiation performance. Reflectarrays are now emerging as the new generation of high-gain antennas for long-distance communications. In this dissertation, some advanced concepts demonstrating novel features of reflectarray antennas are presented. • First, various approaches for radiation analysis of reflectarray antennas are described and implemented. Numerical results are then presented for a variety of systems and the advantages, limitations, and accuracy of these approaches are discussed and compared with each other. • A broadband technique by using sub-wavelength elements is proposed and prototypes are fabricated and tested. This technique enables the reflectarray to achieve a significant bandwidth improvement with no additional cost. • Infrared reflectarrays antennas are studied for possible applications in concentrating solar power systems. Material losses, an important design issue at infrared frequencies, are investigated and reflectarrays consisted of dielectric resonant elements are proposed with low-loss features at infrared. • Multi-beam reflectarray antennas are studied and it is demonstrated that by optimizing the phase of the elements, a desirable multi-beam performance can be achieved using a single-feed. Local and global phase-only optimization techniques have been implemented. Two Ka-band quad-beam prototypes with symmetric and asymmetric beams have been fabricated and tested. • Different approaches for beam-scanning with reflectarray antennas are also reviewed and it is shown that for moderately wide angle beam-scanning, utilizing a feed displacement technique is more suitable than an aperture phase tuning approach. A feed displacement beam-scanning design with novel aperture phase distribution is proposed for the reflectarray antenna, and is further optimized to improve the performance. A high-gain Ka-band prototype achieving 60 degrees scan range with side-lobe levels below 15 dB is demonstrated. • The feasibility of designing reflectarray antennas on conformal surfaces is also studied numerically. A generalized analysis approach is presented and the radiation performance of reflectarray antennas on singly-curved conformal cylindrical platforms are studied and compared with their planar counterpart. It is revealed that conformal reflectarray antennas are a suitable choice for a high-gain antenna where curved platforms are required. In summary, different challenges in reflectarray analysis and design are addressed in this dissertation. On the element design challenges, bandwidth improvement and infrared operation of reflectarray antennas have been studied. On the system level challenges, multi-beam designs, beam-scanning performance, and conformal platforms have been investigated. Several prototypes have been fabricated and tested, demonstrating the novel features and potential applications of reflectarray antennas.

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