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This article gives an overview of applications of radio frequency (RF) microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology in radio detection and ranging (radar). RF MEMS components for radar include attenuators, limiters, (true-time-delay) phase shifters, transmit/receive (T/R) switches and tunable matching networks. Radar subsystems that benefit from RF MEMS technology include active electronically scanned arrays (T/R modules), passive electronically scanned arrays (lenses, reflect arrays, subarrays, and switched beamformers), and radomes. Using a bottom-up approach, the figures of merit for RF MEMS technology are related to the figures of merit for radar subsystems. The article also discusses ultrawideband RF MEMS reflect array and T/R module design as examples. First, electronically scanned array, radar and RF MEMS fundamentals are briefly introduced.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2009