A symmetric reflectarray, consisting of variable-size square patch elements with a commonly used mathematical model for the horn in the form of a cosine function, has been designed using the transmit mode technique for different f/D ratios with –10 dB edge taper. Subsequently, the antennas were analyzed for the radiation pattern and gain. The infinite array model was used to determine the reflection phase of each patch element in the design and analysis codes. By displacing the feed laterally, the scan characteristics were obtained, such as the beam deviation factor, gain loss, and pattern degradation. The properties of reflectarrays were compared to those of the conventional paraboloidal reflectors. The same procedure was used to study the scan properties of offset reflectarrays. There is no cross-polarized radiation in the principal planes for a symmetric system. Cross-polarized radiation exists in non-principal planes off broadside in symmetric systems, with greater levels for larger values of subtended angles. Such cross-polarized radiation level increases with subtended angle just as cross-polarization level increases with decreasing values of f/D ratios for symmetric paraboloids in non-principal planes. Pattern distortions and gain loss were found to be more severe in the case of a microstrip reflectarray compared to the conventional parabolic reflector. The scan performance of the reflectarrays was found to improve with f/D ratios as is true for paraboloids. In general, scanning by means of displaced feed is limited to a few beamwidths in reflectarrays.

Feed displacement in the axial direction of a symmetric reflectarray was investigated and compared to that of paraboloids. The gain loss due to the defocused feed of a reflectarray was found to be nearly the same as that of a paraboloid of the same subtended angle for larger values of f/D, and for displacements away from the antenna. The gain loss of an axially defocused reflectarray was found to be greater than that of a paraboloid for displacements closer to the antenna, especially for smaller values of f/D.

In general, the performance of a defocused reflectarray was found to be poorer than that of a comparable paraboloid reflector.

This work was done by Sembiam Rengarajan of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-47550