PhD International Position in Ka-band Planar and Low-loss Antenna Design for SATCOM Applications

  • Phd
  • Salaried
  • 31 July 2021

Information about the project The PhD project will be a collaboration among Chalmers University of Technology and the industrial partners Satcube AB, Gapwaves AB and Forsway Scandinavia AB. Among the industrial partners, Satcube AB will have a leading role in the project and other the industrial partners will have a supporting and complementary role.

The PhD studies will be partially funded by Satcube AB also, and hence the research will be carried out in close collaboration with Satcube's R&D staff. The candidate will have the opportunity to spend approximately half of her/his time at Chalmers' and Sactube's facilities respectively, in order to ensure that the candidate gains adequate insights into the application-specific antenna requirements. The ultimate research objective is to identify novel planar antenna designs that are applicable to Satcube AB’s applications and use cases. Hence, the PhD studies has a clear industrial focus.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) initiated new activities in March 2017 to study the role of the satellites in the 5G wireless network. It has been concluded that SATCOM can significantly enhance the 5G network reliability by ensuring service continuity, in cases where it cannot be offered by a single or a combination of cellular networks. SATCOM can guarantee the 5G service ubiquity in unserved (deserts, oceans, forests etc.) or underserved areas (urban areas, emerging economies etc.), where a cellular network does not exist, or is too impractical/cost-ineffective to reach. Thus, actors such as SpaceX, OneWeb, Telesat and Amazon are planning to launch 100000 LEO satellites in the next decade to provide global broadband coverage.

However, the cost of satellite user terminals is still excessive and limits the large-scale deployment of commercial satellite-based high-throughput networks as is envisioned by the 3GPP working groups. One of the major cost driving components in today's satellite user terminal is the high gain circular polarized (CP) antenna which must be pointed accurately towards the satellites. This project will involve design/fabrication and measurement of the innovative low-cost, high efficiency and wideband circular polarized planar array which will be one of the key building blocks in the future satellite terminals providing increased data connectivity all over the world.

Major responsibilities

  • Electromagnetic design of highly efficient dual circular polarized gap waveguide antenna array for fixed beam application scenario around 20-30GHz frequency band. In this case, the tracking to the satellites will be performed by mechanical tracking system.
  • Electromagnetic design of highly efficient dual circular polarized gap waveguide antenna array suitable for beam scanning applications around 20-30GHz frequency band. In this case, the active antenna will be able to track the satellite easily and no extra tracking mechanisms will be required.
  • Design and selection of a suitable array topology which will allow simple feeding geometry for passive antenna case. Also design of the suitable array which allows easy signal routing and feeding from the active beam former chips for dual polarized active array.
  • Finally building a demonstrator of the proposed gap waveguide array solution and evaluation of the performance of the array.
  • The above four points correspond to the initial two years of the PhD. During the subsequent two years of the PhD project, the candidate is expected to analyze and improve the antenna design further. This includes evaluating other low loss techniques than gap waveguide-based antenna arrays, and incorporating aspects related to ease of industrialization of the design.
  • Responsibilities as PhD student is also to pursue own doctoral studies. Also, to develop own scientific concepts and communicate the results of the research verbally and in writing. The position generally also includes teaching on Chalmers' undergraduate level and MSc. level corresponding to 10-15% of working hours.
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Applicants should have, or expect to receive, a Master of Science degree or equivalent in a relevant electrical engineering or applied physics discipline. In addition to the formal qualifications, selection is also based on the performance of the candidates in other works (e.g. thesis and advanced level courses), as well as through interviews and assignments. Besides good subject knowledge, emphasis will be on creative thinking, motivation, ability to cooperate, initiative to work independently and personal suitability for research training. Previous experience in the area of Electromagnetic fields and Antenna theory as well as proficiency in using Fullwave solvers such as HFSS and CST is considered to be an advantage.

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