Design & Optimization of Large Cylindrical Radomes with Subcell and Non-Orthogonal FDTD Meshes Combined with Genetic Algorithms

Abstract
The word radome is a contraction of radar and dome. The function of radomes is to protect antennas from atmospheric agents. Radomes are closed structures that protect the antennas from environmental factors such as wind, rain, ice, sand, and ultraviolet rays, among others. The radomes are passive structures that introduce return losses, and whose proper design would relax the requirement of complex front-end elements such as amplifiers. The radome consists mostly in a thin dielectric curved shape cover and sometimes needs to be tuned using metal inserts to cancel the capacitive performance of the dielectric. Radomes are in the near field region of the antennas and a full wave analysis of the antenna with the radome is the best approach to analyze its performance. A major numerical problem is the full wave modeling of a large radome-antenna-array system, as optimization of the radome parameters minimize return losses. In the present work, the finite difference time domain (FDTD) combined with a genetic algorithm is used to find the optimal radome for a large radome-antenna-array system. FDTD uses general curvilinear coordinates and sub-cell features as a thin dielectric slab approach and a thin wire approach. Both approximations are generally required if a problem of practical electrical size is to be solved using a manageable number of cells and time steps in FDTD inside a repetitive optimization loop. These approaches are used in the full wave analysis of a large array of crossed dipoles covered with a thin and cylindrical dielectric radome. The radome dielectric has a thickness of ~λ/10 at its central operating frequency. To reduce return loss a thin helical wire is introduced in the radome, whose diameter is ~0.0017λ and the spacing between each turn is ~0.3λ. The genetic algorithm was implemented to find the best parameters to minimize return losses. The inclusion of a helical wire reduces return losses by ~10 dB, however some minor changes of radiation pattern could distort the performance of the whole radome-array-antenna system. A further analysis shows that desired specifications of the system are preserved.
Description
Bibliographic reference
Navarro Camba, Enrique Antonio Portí, Jorge A. Salinas, Alfonso Navarro-Modesto, Enrique Toledo-Redondo, Sergio Fornieles, Jesús 2021 Design & Optimization of Large Cylindrical Radomes with Subcell and Non-Orthogonal FDTD Meshes Combined with Genetic Algorithms Electronics 10 18 2263