Department News

Prof. Warnick Contributes to a New IEEE Standard for Antenna Terms

Dr. Warnick and Dr. Brian Jeffs in the ECEn Department began working nearly ten years ago in the area of array antennas for radio astronomy instruments. This work was supported by several million dollars in funding from the National Science Foundation, and led to developments like the most sensitive cryogenic phased array receiver ever demonstrated. This system was tested on world-class radio telescopes at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Along the way, the work produces some key insights into the theory of complex phased array antenna systems. After publishing the work in journals and presenting it in conferences to the worldwide antenna community, Dr. Warnick collaborated with Marianna Ivashina and Rob Maaskant of Chalmers University and Bert Woestenberg of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy to codify the results into a set of new antenna terms for key properties of phased array antennas. Dr. Warnick also refined some of the fundamental theory for this work while on sabbatical with Prof. Peter Russer at the Technische Universität München in Germany, and many students who are now alumni of the ECEn Department contributed to the research.

The antenna terms use microwave noise theory to extend certain antenna parameters that in the past were only measurable for simpler antennas to complex phased array antenna systems, including active arrays with electronic components tightly integrated into the antenna. This work will have impact in the development of next-generation antennas for radio astronomy, satellite communications, and other applications.

The new terms are included in the recently released IEEE Standard for Definitions of Terms for Antennas, IEEE Std 145-2013. Dr. Warnick served on the IEEE Antenna Standards working group and helped shepherd the terms through a complex process of review, refinement, and approval by the IEEE Standards Association. The last time the standard was updated was 20 years ago, so this is a major milestone for the antenna community.

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