Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Title: Higher-Order Finite Element-Momentum Method Modeling Techniques for Conformal Antenna Applications

Investigator: Notaros

The central goal of the proposed research is the development of a new, highly efficient and accurate, hybrid higher-order computational electromagnetics (CEM) method for modeling, analysis, and design of conformal antennas. Conformal antennas have many advantages over traditional protruding antennas because of their low weight, low drag, low cost, unobtrusive nature, and great flexibility. A new higher-order finite element method (FEM) and a new higher-order method of moments (MoM) will be developed, and the two methods will be hybridized into a higher-order FEM-MoM method of great capabilities. The modeling techniques will use generalized hexahedral finite elements and generalized quadrilateral boundary elements of higher geometrical orders in conjunction with higher-order hierarchical field/current basis functions. The new MoM will employ the surface integral equation formulation using Green's functions for free-space or unbounded homogeneous media, thus avoiding use of the dyadic Green's function (for canonical geometries). The new FEM-MoM method will enable modeling of cavity-backed conformal antennas with arbitrary material complexities that are conformal to platforms of arbitrary (canonical and noncanonical) shapes and with possible material overlays. In the final stage of the project, FEM-MoM will be hybridized with the physical optics (PO) method, which will enable efficient modeling of conformal antennas on very large platforms. Finally, conformal patch and slot cavity-backed antennas on vehicles will be analyzed by the new FEM-MoM-PO method. Experimental validation of the new simulation techniques will be carried out in the newly established Telecommunications (Antenna) Laboratory within the new Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center (ATMC) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. All educational aspects of this proposal are fully integrated with the proposed research. Two Ph.D. graduate students will work on the project as research assistants supported by this proposed grant for three years. A number of other graduate and undergraduate students will be engaged in the project periodically, thorough course projects and seminars. The results of this proposed CEM research will be disseminated broadly, at all stages of the project. The application to modeling and characterization of conformal antennas is also of a broad interest, because of their great practical importance to modern wireless systems. It is likely that findings of this research will be useful to other researchers in their own endeavors in CEM, as well as in other computational disciplines of science and engineering, in both FEM and MoM (or boundary element method) applications. Every possible effort will be made to broaden the participation from underrepresented groups in the proposed activities.