Computer Simulation Technology AG (CST) is demonstrating its powerful new antenna array design tool in CST STUDIO SUITE®, the Phased Array Wizard, at European Microwave Week (EuMW) 2014, booth 109.

Aerospace engineers use CST STUDIO SUITE to design and optimize antennas and arrays, to analyze their installed performance, and to calculate cosite interference between antenna systems. The upcoming release of CST STUDIO SUITE 2015 will significantly enhance its antenna design offering with the integration of the new Phased Array Wizard.

Their efficiency and flexibility mean that antenna arrays are beloved by engineers who need to design high-performance antennas with low power consumption and compact size. However, the number of elements involved and the complexity of the interactions between elements can make arrays difficult to design. The Phased Array Wizard allows users to create arrays from single elements. It complements the antenna synthesis features available in Antenna Magus for a fuller array design workflow.

The wizard first sets up a “unit cell simulation” project for the single element, from a small number of parameters that describe the geometric arrangement of the unit cell and the required scan angles. The unit element can be directly modelled in CST STUDIO SUITE or imported from Antenna Magus from Magus Pty. In phased array design, all valid scanning directions have equal importance. The array needs to work well for any scanning angle, and it's the worst case performance over all possible angles that is of interest. The primary outputs of the infinite array simulations are the active element impedance and the active element pattern, which can be used for optimization for all scan angles and frequencies. This pattern can be multiplied by an array factor to predict how the full array might perform.

Once the individual element has been optimized, the Phased Array Wizard can produce a full 3D model of the entire array, together with the excitation. Elements can be omitted and set to passive by simply selecting them on a map. Edge and corner elements are accounted for in this finite array simulation, and the user can also specify other parts of the system – e.g. feed or calibration lines – and geometric elements like mounting brackets or a radome. The 3D model can be used to generate accurate nearfield and farfield sources, with the main lobe directed at different scan angles, for further analysis – for example, an antenna placement study.