Millimeter wave (mm-wave) is today’s breakthrough frontier for emerging wireless mobile cellular networks, wireless local and personal area networks, simultaneous energy/data transfer, wearable networks, vehicular communications and radar. Directive antennas emerge as a key component in most of these applications driven by the requirement to meet stringent link budget specifications and/or provide good imaging resolution. Many practical scenarios, (requiring e.g. continuous service when an obstacle blocks the line of sight, tracking of mobile terminals placed on a moving vehicle or scanning within a given field of view) further poses the need for antennas with beam-steering capabilities. Coupled with commercial viability constraints, the development of mm-wave directive antenna systems with beam-steering capabilities that also maintain compatibility with low-cost mass-manufacturing process and easy integration with the front-end has emerged as a key challenge for both communication and sensing applications.

Among the traditional in-package directive antenna solutions, phased arrays involve a cumbersome feeding network which is impractical for mass-market mm-wave applications. Reflector and lens antenna architectures, although compatible with a simpler feeding network, are bulky and typically require mechanical reconfiguration to perform beam scanning, adding significant complexity and cost, increase power consumption and significantly limiting the scanning speed.


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