Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) have patented a modified probe feed design for planar patch-type antennas that provides for simplified integration of circuitry to improve system performance. A key element in the design is that the outer conductor of the coaxial cable extends through the thickness of at least one dielectric layer and is connected to both the ground-plane conductor and a radiator-plane conductor. This configuration simplifies the incorporation of such radio frequency integrated circuits as power dividers, filters, and low-noise amplifiers. It also simplifies the design and fabrication of stacked antennas with aperture feeds. JSC's modified design allows for simple manufacturing, compact packaging, and reliable performance. JSC has received patent number 6,903,687 for this technology.
- Simple manufacturing: Eliminates blind or nearly blind solder joints
- Flexible: Interfaces with integrated circuit elements such as power dividers, filters, and low-noise amplifiers
- Variable: Allows for antennas to be stacked, so that the layered antenna assembly can have multiple coverage bands
- Reliable: Increases performance; much of the antenna's top surface can be available for another use, such as an array of solar cells
- Lightweight: Reduces packaging, so that for the same weight the antenna can have broader coverage; for the same coverage, the antenna can be lighter than those with conventional feed designs
- Multiple communication channel implementations, such as aircraft-to-aircraft, aircraft-to-satellite, satellite-to-satellite, and air-ground-satellite communication
- Autonomous networks of unmanned aircraft, unmanned vehicles, drones, and balloons
- Portable personal electronic devices that need multiple coverage bands
- Remote sensing locations, such as buoys and weather stations
- Wireless sensors for detecting motion, vibration, proximity, intrusion, atmospheric conditions, and hazardous materials
- High-value radio frequency identification (RFID) systems
- Surveillance (tracking animals, vehicles, people, and objects)
Johnson Space Center has received patent protection (U.S. 6,903,687→) for this technology.
This technology is being made available through JSC's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.
If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA's technology transfer program, please contact:
Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center