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Reliable, tuneable and inexpensive antennas by collective fabrication processes


The project aims at developing a reliable and low cost solution for agile beamsteering in Ku- or Ka-band onboard mobile platforms, such as planes and satellites. It is based on the global concept called ReflectArray and the industrial implementation is cle arly a lower cost alternative compared to active antennas. It will allow a high data rate connection between the mobile platforms and therefore enabling: - Live TV and Internet onboard to every passenger - Internet flight monitoring using the plane-satell ite link The first objective with its associated services of the web will improve passengers' comfort and support quasi uninterrupted daily services for the citizen, whether for personal or professional purposes. It is also envisioned that this system cou ld bring an added value to ATM functions, whatever the distances from the platforms to the airport areas, by participating to in-flight monitoring of flight parameters or for safety and security (live video) related purposes to generate early warnings an d advised external help to the crew. Technically, the spatial steering of the beam is based on coherent combining of elementary EM cells radiation. Such a concept has been validated since some years now by using today's low cost PIN diodes for the basic k ey function, the phase shifter. Although successfully applied, it still has major inconveniences that outweigh by far the initial low cost of the diodes. Therefore, two alternative solutions will be considered in parallel within the project. - High-power handling RF-MEMS technologies - High-power handling ferroelectric materials They are considered by the consortium as the best technical alternatives for phase shifters up to Ka-band today and are foreseen to levelup the performances while keeping the co sts at the lowest level. The project will lead research in the two domains and has a decisive milestone to choose the most suitable technology for the final reflect array approach.

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