What makes radar sensors different from an antenna design perspective?

Typically, radar sensors use a bit higher frequency than for communication. For example, an IoT sensor that uses a radar to sense the world around it might have a radar antenna and a communication antenna. Radar antenna would likely work at either at 24GHz or 66GHz while most communication could happen at lower frequencies below 6GHz. Due to the nature of higher frequencies and to increase the obtainable resolution, radar sensors utilize antenna arrays to increase antenna gain.

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Antenna in radar system

Radar MMIC modules typically support radar antenna arrays that are realized on PCB; the modules have 2-4 channels for both Tx and Rx separately with independent amplitude and phase control. This enables the use of beam steering without extra phase shifters and MIMO radar functionality. However, the steering is normally done electrically in one plane only as the number of channels is limited. In addition, fixed beam arrays are quite typical due to lower complexity. If more steering capabilities are needed, MMIC modules can be cascaded or the complexity of the RF frontend can be increased with the introduction of phase shifters, amplifiers, or beamformers.

Typical frequencies are:

  • 24GHz used for long-range detection
  • 66GHz used for shorter range but more accurate sensing
  • 77GHz used for accurate automotive radars

In addition to the above, 6.5 to 8GHz UWB radars are an option when sensing through an obstacle is needed at small distances. The lower frequency radars require a larger physical area to achieve similar performance as mmWave radars and this often limits the possibility to have narrow beamwidths for them. However, their penetration capabilities are superior.

Radientum Services for Radar Antennas

Due to the higher frequencies, the importance of antenna simulations is amplified. Radar antenna structures are too small for hand modifications which means that the purpose of prototypes is only to validate the design done in simulations. Testing of mmWave radar sensor antennas is different from an embedded communication antenna. You can read more about it on the antenna measurements page.

Radientum is your premium R&D partner for customized radar antennas and RF integration. We can design cost and performance-optimized microstip, waveguide, and lens antennas. With our help, your radar products get to the market faster, with lower cost, and with higher performance. Contact us for more details!

Check out our posts related to radar and sensing applications:

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