The Boeing Company (Chicago, IL)

An high-gain, conformal antenna (“HGCA”) is described. The HGCA is comprised of a number of dielectric layers, which form the dielectric structure. The array of dielectric layers includes a top dielectric with a top layer. The HGCA further includes an inner conductor, a cavity, an antenna patch (“PAE”) as well as an antenna slot. The cavity and the inner conductor are created inside the dielectric structure. The PAE is positioned over the cavity, and also inside the antenna slot is inside the PAE. The HGCA can be used to support an electromagnetic transverse (TEM) signal within the dielectric structure.

1. Field

The present disclosure is related to antennas and more specifically, to patch antennas.

2. Similar Art

There is a need for antennas that fit non-planar surfaces like aircraft wings and fuselages as well as ships, land vehicles and buildings, as well as cellular base stations bases. Conformal antennas are small-profile and create minimal visual intrusion. They also reduce aerodynamic drag and radar cross-sections.

Phased array antennas are generally composed of a range of elements, including dipoles or patch antennas which have been incorporated with electronics that control the shape and/or the frequency of the elements. These antennas with phased arrays can be integrated into surfaces of objects. They are usually complicated and costly. Phased arrays that are in use today may be vulnerable to electromagnetic interference caused by the surfaces they are placed, especially if these surfaces are made from metal (e.g. aluminum, steel and titanium). or carbon fiber, which are electrically conductive due to their nature. In order to adjust, phased arrays need to be designed to suit the surface they will be placed on. They aren’t able to be used for a variety of types of surfaces, platforms, or uses.

The antennas that are in use today typically are able to make a trade-off between thickness of the antenna as well as the bandwidth. An antenna with a thin thickness such as this one is more flexible, however it has a smaller bandwidth. Antennas constructed from patch antenna elements possess a gain-bandwidth property (“GBWP”) which is proportional to their thickness. Conformal antennas, therefore have a lower GBWP. This is the reason a conformal antenna is needed.

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