Conventional feed horn antennas such as corrugated horns are difficult, time consuming and expensive to manufacture in the mm and sub-mm range (~100 GHz to 1THz), due to the need to fabricate small sized, quarter wavelength (~100 – 400 µm) deep corrugations.
Also, the metal walls for corrugated horns need to be thick enough to accommodate these corrugations. At lower frequencies (~ 5 GHz – 100 GHz), where deeper corrugations are needed, this constraint on wall thickness can make the weight of these horns too large for key applications such as space telescopes and communication systems.
The Oxford invention gives high performance smooth walled feed horn antenna arrays that can be rapidly manufactured and inexpensively compared to corrugated feed horns.
The Oxford high performance, smooth walled feed horns overcome these problems and aims to replace the conventional corrugated horns for many applications. The horns are designed using a fully automated suite of horn design software that uses a genetic algorithm. The proposed horn design offers excellent predicted patterns over a bandwidth of 20 – 30%.
Also the Oxford horns:
enable fabrication of lower cost mm-wave microwave receivers
allow 10 to 100 times more horns to be integrated into an antenna’s focal plane as an array (see image above) at no added cost whilst increasing the sky mapping speed and scientific output for mm/sub radio telescopes
There is an extensive commercial opportunity for the feed horns within the multibillion-dollar scientific and communications markets. The key cost and manufacturing advantages for these smooth walled antennas opens up further opportunities such as use in both ground-based radio telescopes and the satellite communication market.
The initial target markets would include research groups building mm and sub-mm astronomical receivers. We are also investigating the market potential of these horns for remote earth sensing.
Oxford University Innovation would like to talk to companies or investors interested in commercialising this opportunity. Request more information if you would like to discuss this further.