ECE Seminar

Low-Cost Ultrawideband (UWB) Phased Array Antennas Importance, Challenges, and Inroads

Dr. Marinos N. VouvakisUniversity of Massachusetts, Amherst

The two prevailing trends in modern communication and sensing systems are increased information throughput or functionality, and size miniaturization. From the prospect of physical-layer electronics such as RF and antenna engineering, these trends translate into hardware with wider bandwidths and higher operating frequencies. Yet, when it comes to the design of antenna arrays, that are necessary in wireless communications, stand-off sensing or electronic countermeasure systems, these treads are in direct conflict with one another. Ultrawideband (UWB) phased arrays are significantly more challenging to design and build than their narrowband counterparts, where manufacturability constraints above X-band severely limit the effectiveness of many bandwidth enhancement methods.
Established UWB phased array technologies are either too complicated to build at EHF, or use performance-limiting feeding methods, or are cumbersome to install and maintain due to lack of aperture modularity. This seminar will focus on a novel low-cost UWB phased array, the planar ultrawideband modular antenna (PUMA) that overcomes all these limitations. The PUMA array is extremely simple, making it easy to build with standard low-cost microwave fabrication PCB technologies even above Ku-band. Moreover, the carefully laid-out PUMA aperture allows for modular manufacturing with tiled assemble, leading to certain cost, installation, maintenance and robustness benefits.

After a brief introduction in ultrawideband/multifunctional systems and phased arrays, the talk will focus on the basic PUMA array topology,variations, principles of operation and modeling, design and manufacturing approaches. The design, fabrication and measurements of an exemplary 7-21GHz PUMA array will be used to concretely demonstrate the technology. Several newer computational prototypes will be presented that operate at higher than 6:1 bandwidths.

Dr. Marinos N. Vouvakis (S'99, M'05) is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he conducts research and teaching in the areas of microwave and antenna engineering, and Computational electromagnetics.
Dr. Vouvakis received the Diploma degree in ECE from the Democritus University of Thrace (DUTH), Xanthi, Hellas in 1999, he holds a M.S. from Arizona State University (ASU), Tempe, AZ and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus OH, both in ECE. Since 2005 he is with the Umass ECE faculty as a member of the Center for Advanced Sensor and Communication Antennas (CASCA) and the Antennas and Propagation Laboratory (APLab). His main research interests are in computational electromagnetics (CEM), where he has contributed in the areas of domain decomposition methods, finite element methods, fast integral equation methods, hybrid methods, and model order reduction. His recent research also include experimental work on ultrawideband antennas and low-profile ultrawideband phased arrays.

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