With the proliferation of digital phased arrays in commercial and aerospace and defense applications, there are many engineers working on various aspects of the design who have limited phased array antenna familiarity. Phased array antenna design is not new, as the theory has been well developed over decades; however, most of the literature is intended for antenna engineers well-versed in the electromagnetic mathematics.

As phased arrays begin to include more mixed-signal and digital content, there are many engineers who could benefit from a much more intuitive explanation of phased array antenna patterns. As it turns out, there are many analogies between the behavior of phased array antennas and the discrete time sampled systems that the mixed-signal and digital engineers work with every day.

  • Introduction to beam steering with a phased array
  • Equations to calculate phase shift across the array for beam steering (derived and shown graphically)
  • Array factor and element factor defined with observations of how the number of elements, spacing between elements, and beam angle impacts the antenna response
  • Comparison of antenna patterns in cartesian vs. polar coordinates