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Precision Alignment of Two mm-Wave Antennas Using an Improved Optical Alignment Tool

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2 Author(s)
Joshua A. Gordon ; Electromagnetics Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, CO 80305 USA ; David R. Novotny

In this paper, we present an optical imaging tool, the Overlay Imaging Aligner (OIA), developed to aid in the mechanical alignment of antenna components in the mm-wave and low-THz frequency regimes (50-500 GHz). In these regimes, the millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelengths pose significant challenges for alignment. The OIA uses a polarization-selective, machine-vision approach to generate two simultaneous and overlaid real-time digital images along a common axis. This allows for aligning two antenna components to within fractions of a wavelength in the mm-wave and THz frequency regimes. The overall concept, optical design, function, performance characteristics, and application examples are presented. Preliminary data at specific frequencies in the WR-2.2 band are presented that compare the alignment achieved with the OIA to an electrical alignment.

Published in:

IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 4 )