Innovative antennas for emerging terrestrial and space applications: concerted European research action (COST)

March 19, 2002

Brussels, 18 March 2002

European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research - COST Secretariat. Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of a European Concerted Research Action designated as COST Action 284 "Innovative Antennas for Emerging Terrestrial and Space-based Applications." Brussels, 15 March 2002 (document COST 224/02). Full text

Delegations will find attached hereto the text of the abovementioned Memorandum, signed in Brussels on 8 February 2002 by Estonia, on 13 February 2002 by Germany and Spain, on 21 February 2002 by Denmark, on 6 March 2002 by Hungary and on 12 March 2002 by Italy.

The Signatories of this Memorandum of Understanding, declaring their common intention to participate in the Concerted Action referred to above and described in the Technical Annex to the Memorandum, have reached the following understanding:

1. The Action will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the document COST/400/01 "Rules and Procedures for Implementing COST Actions", the content of which the signatories are fully aware of.

2. The main objectives of the Action are to progress and innovate in the theoretical modelling and in the multidisciplinary design and development of new architectures, components, circuits and test techniques for antennas. The focus will be on antenna arrays, active and adaptive antennas and their beam forming, in support of broadband applications up to millimetre waves.

3. The overall cost of the activities carried out under the Action has been estimated, on the basis of information available during the planning of the Action, at roughly Euro 11.2 million in 2001 prices.

4. The Memorandum of Understanding will take effect on being signed by at least five signatories.

5. The Memorandum of Understanding will remain in force for a period of four years, unless the duration of the Action is modified according to the provisions of the document referred to in point 1 above.

A. BACKGROUND

A.1. Applications and requirements for innovative antennas

Emerging terrestrial as well as space-based communication, and remote-sensing applications as well as localisation and Intelligent Transportation Systems will require multi-function antennas with broadband or multi-frequency capability, operating up to millimetre waves and even beyond.

A variety of very small terminals with multi-band low directivity antennas will be required, in particular for mobile users and with dimensions of the order of the wavelength or even much below.

These antennas will be needed to equip multi-function personal communication handsets, vehicle terminals for intelligent transport services, radio tags for data collection, search and rescue aids etc., many of them compatible with both terrestrial and space-based networks. A number of these will operate in UMTS L- and S-bands.

Innovative solutions will be required to meet the conflicting requirements of small size, wide frequency bandwidth, interference limitation and low cost potential.

Small directive antennas with low-cost potential, will be required for home, nomadic, portable (laptop) or vehicle terminals. Many will require adaptive beam tracking and transmit receive capability, in particular for mobile communications via satellite.

Here again multi-band operation will be required, in particular for two-way multimedia communications via satellite (interactive TV, Internet, tele-services).

A number of these will operate in the Ku- and Ka-bands and possibly above.

On the user terminal side, constant adaptation of the beam shape and of the polarisation will be required to keep the link optimised while the user and/or the relay (e.g. satellite) is moving. This will be particularly true for interactive systems with simultaneous optimisation of both receive and transmit beams.

Current passive and active phased-array technology, mostly developed for military applications, is too costly for private users and here again, innovative solutions will be required to meet the requirements of this growing market (one example is the potential use of MEMS micro-switches for beam reconfiguration).

With the foreseen extension of broadband wireless communications and of active 2D and 3D remote sensing, new multi-beam antennas will be required on board satellites (for S-UMTS and X/Ku/Ka/Q-bands), and for outdoors and for indoors base stations.

Technologies for planar and conformal arrays as well as for reflectors and their feed arrays have been addressed, in particular for satellites and base stations, during COST Actions 245 and 260, but the demands of broadband multimedia applications will require innovative beam forming solutions.

Geo-stationary satellites will have very large (10 to 40 meters?) multi-feed reflector antennas for S- UMTS mobile communications and very versatile arrays and array feeds at Ku, Ka and Q-band.

Terrestrial base stations will require sophisticated adaptive multi-beam antennas to cope with increasing frequency re-use and interference limitation requirements.

Communications requiring directive beam(s) with full azimuth coverage will call for conformal arrays where the antenna is integrated to its support and follows its shape. This is particularly suited for relay stations, for local area wireless LAN both indoors and outdoors and for automobiles, trains, aircraft and other vehicles for which air drag has to be minimised. Generation of broadband/multi-frequency beams from spacecraft in low Earth orbit also calls for innovative conformal or multi-faceted array antennas.

With the planned growth of broadband communications it is already foreseen to use antennas at millimetre wave frequencies: at 40/50 GHz for satellites and 60 GHz for local area wireless LAN.

Some extension of the technologies and techniques used in the Ku- and Ka-bands is possible but new possibilities of "antennas on a chip" can be considered at these frequencies.

Finally the expected proliferation of multi-function, multi-frequency and multi-beam antennas, required to operate in many different states with varying interactions from their environment (hand and head of handset user, antenna support, user vehicle, multi-path...) and the extension of operation to millimetre wave frequencies call for a new generation of antenna measurement techniques and facilities.

Some of the developments initiated for current military, communication (in particular under COST Actions 259 and 260) and for space applications will be applicable, but it is expected that new requirements will require new developments in this field....

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