Radio antennas can be produced by printing conductive antenna patterns of suitable substrates. These technologies have several advantages compared to traditional antennas; printed antennas have a low weight, can be produced with low costs, and allow flexible forms. The antennas can be also produced in very high volumes with “reel-to-reel” production.
The performance of an antenna depends on the design and materials. A printed antenna has the potential to achieve as good of a performance as a traditional antenna with optimization of patterns, layer thicknesses and materials. If the design, material choices or manufacturing processes are not well chosen, the antenna performance will be sub-optimal. Due to the material and manufacturing tolerances, over-the-air wireless performance testing during product development stage is essential to ensure good performance.
Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd’s printed antenna
Earlier this year we performed OTA antenna testing to a printed antenna developed by a Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd in a Business Finland funded DroLo project. This printed antenna was developed to be utilised in a drone application. We performed passive antenna radiation pattern measurements and efficiency measurements for the antenna. The tests were performed in the frequencies of 1.8GHz-6GHz. The antenna was tested in a free space and in a drone mock-up to determine the performance experienced by the end user. The test results demonstrated that the antenna has a wide bandwidth, and works well.
OTA testing for printed antennas
Printed antenna OTA testing does not differ from other antenna measurements, but there are some details that need to be taken into consideration. For example, special fixtures which take into account the flexibility and forms of antenna, RF feed and matching to antenna.
Antenna radiation pattern measurements
The radiation pattern of an antenna demonstrates how the antenna radiates radio frequency energy. The colour red indicates that the antenna is transmitting power to that direction powerfully. Green indicates weaker transmission power. Verkotan laboratories can produce accurate 3D antenna radiation patterns of any wireless device containing an antenna.
Below you can see a 3D antenna radiation pattern of the measured Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd’s printed antenna.
3D Antenna radiation pattern of the Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd’s printed antenna
Additional information – Verkotan
We provide over-the-air test services, beamforming antenna measurements, RF exposure evaluations, SAR-testing and comprehensive tailored test solutions. We actively participate in EU R&D projects with research institutes and other leading companies, and we are continuously seeking for new state-of-the-art solutions. We are a fast, flexible, and reliable partner in our customers’ R&D process. Our laboratories are located in Oulu Radio Valley, Finland. If you have any questions, contact us. We are always ready to help!
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