Light-Weight, Low-Cost Surveillance Electronic Scan Antenna

Period of Performance: 06/01/1998 - 06/01/2000


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Malibu Research Assoc., Inc.
3760-A Calle Tecate
Camarillo, CA 93012
Principal Investigator


Malibu Research believes we have a new approach for a light-weight, low-cost electronic-scan antenna, based on the merging of two proven technologies; out FLAPS EM phased-surface technique and high resolution plasma displays. A principal product of ours for microwave/millimeter wave antennas is the FLAPS phased-surface. It utilizes arrays of varying length dipoles to control beam shape and direction. By dynamic variation of the dipole pattern, electronic beam scanning will result. The specific means of accomplishing this is by means of programmable plasma-display technology --similar to plasma-display television and laptop computers. The resulting antenna would feature truly low-cost, based on plasma-display monolithic manufacturing processes, as well as being low-profile, light-weight, rugged and highly reliable; all proven features of plasma displays. The Phase I effort successfully addressed key technical and design questions of this concept including laboratory measurement of various gas-discharge plasmas and demonstration of X-band plasma excitation beam scanning using discrete elements. The proposed Phase II effort includes tasks for; a) Concept validation and optimization based on plasma element reflectivity measurements as a function of configuration, gas, pressure, drive, electrodes and RF frequency. b) Antenna design including single and dual-band configurations. c) Construction and test of full-up antenna (72' * 10" X-band nom) including plasma panels, feed and BSU.