Dual-Band RF/Optical Antenna
A dual-band antenna is provided that combines two normally disparate communications modes into a single compact aperture minimizing overall mass and volume, while maintaining high performance efficiency and reciprocity of each individual mode. The antenna is compatible with both optical (near-IR/visible) and RF (microwave/millimeter-wave) transceiver subsystems for high bandwidth communications, applicable primarily to long- to extremely long-range (space-to-ground) link distances. The optical link provides high bandwidth while the RF provides a lower data-rate weather backup, accommodation for traditional navigation techniques, and assistance in cueing the extremely tight optical beam by matching the RF beamwidth to an optical fine-steering mechanism field-of-regard. The configuration is built around a near-diffraction-limited high performance primary mirror shared by both a direct-fed RF antenna design and a Cassegrain optical telescope. Material properties are exploited to combine the optical secondary mirror with the RF feed structure, providing a collimated optical beam interface at the antenna vertex.
Patent Status: U.S. patent(s) 8094081 issued.CONTACT:
Mr. J. E. Dietz
Phone: (443) 778-8782