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Compact 3D‐printed reflector antenna for radar applications at K‐band

Reis, J. R. ; Ribeiro, C. ; Caldeirinha, Rafael

IET Microwaves, Antennas and Propagation Vol. 1, Nº 1, pp. 1 - 12, March, 2021.

ISSN (print): 1751-8725
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: 1,187 (in )

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1049/mia2.12095

Abstract
A compact parabolic reflector antenna aiming at radar applications in the K‐band is presented. It is mainly composed of a thermoplastic material and using classical additive techniques (also known as 3D printing), the proposed high‐gain antenna exhibits a novel and unique form factor, particularly of interest for applications with low payload capacity, for example unmanned aerial vehicles. The antenna is composed of four parts: (i) a paraboloid shape embodied in a supporting polylactic acid (PLA) material; (ii) a metallic
coating applied to the paraboloid surface of (i), to enable it with electromagnetic reflecting properties; (iii) a PLA spacer that ensures the physical separation (i.e. focal distance) between parts (i) and (iv) and, finally, (iv) a microstrip patch antenna with a reduced ground plane to reduce feed blockage. Subsequently to an overview on the theoretical formulation of parabolic reflector antennas, an antenna targeting 20 dBi and a minimum bandwidth of 500 MHz operating in the 24 GHz ISM radar band have been dimensioned, optimised in CST Microwave Studio and validated against measurements performed on a physical prototype. The simulation and experimental results are in good agreement with the prototype yielding 18.3 dBi of gain and 2.2 GHz of useful bandwidth, clearly demonstrating the potential of the proposed antenna design.