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Deployable Fresnel RingsDeployable Fresnel rings (DFRs) significantly enhance the realizable gain of an antenna. This innovation is intended to be used in combination with another antenna element, as the DFR itself acts as a focusing or microwave lens element for a primary antenna. This method is completely passive, and is also completely wireless in that it requires neither a cable, nor a connector from the antenna port of the primary antenna to the DFR. The technology improves upon the previous NASA technology called a Tri-Sector Deployable Array Antenna in at least three critical aspects. In contrast to the previous technology, this innovation requires no connector, cable, or other physical interface to the primary communication radio or sensor device. The achievable improvement in terms of antenna gain is significantly higher than has been achieved with the previous technology. Also, where previous embodiments of the Tri-Sector antenna have been constructed with combinations of conventional (e.g., printed circuit board) and conductive fabric materials, this innovation is realized using only conductive and non-conductive fabric (i.e., "e-textile") materials, with the possible exception of a spring-like deployment ring. Conceptually, a DFR operates by canceling the out-of-phase radiation at a plane by insertion of a conducting ring or rings of a specific size and distance from the source antenna, defined by Fresnel zones. Design of DFRs follow similar procedures to those outlined for conventional Fresnel zone rings. Gain enhancement using a single ring is verified experimentally and through computational simulation. The experimental test setup involves a microstrip patch antenna that is directly behind a single-ring DFR and is radiating towards a second microstrip patch antenna. The first patch antenna and DFR are shown. At 2.42 GHz, the DFR improves the transmit antenna gain by 8.6 dB, as shown in Figure 2, relative to the wireless link without the DFR. A figure illustrates the relative strength of power coupling between the first and second microstrip antennas with and without the DFR. Typically, a DFR is designed for use at a particular frequency; however, testing of a DFR indicated a relatively wide operational bandwidth of approximately 8.2%. Wider bandwidth operation and multi-band operation are anticipated by extending the known art of conventional Fresnel rings to the DFRs. Increasing the number of rings used to construct a DFR antenna increases the gain, with the upper bound limited often by the largest practical dimensions that can be tolerated for a given application. The maximum theoretical improvement in gain for a single ring is 9.5 dB. Experimental results are within 0.9 dB of this theoretical value. Adding rings increases gain, and theoretically, improvements of 10 to 13 dB above that of the primary antenna gain can be achieved with two- and three-ring versions.
Document ID
Document Type
Other - NASA Tech Brief
Kennedy, Timothy F. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Fink, Patrick W. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Chu, Andrew W. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Lin, Gregory Y. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
March 26, 2014
Publication Date
January 1, 2014
Publication Information
Publication: NASA Tech Briefs, January 2014
Subject Category
Communications and Radar
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
U.S. Patent No. 8,384,614
Patent Application

Available Downloads

NameType 20140002358.pdf STI

Related Records

IDRelationTitle20140001109Analytic PrimaryNASA Tech Briefs, January 2014