Metasurface antennas offer an alternative architecture to electrically large beamsteering arrays often used in radar and communications. The advantages offered by metasurfaces are enabled by the use of passive, tunable radiating elements. While these metamaterial elements do not exhibit the full range of phase tuning as can be obtained with phase shifters, they can be engineered to provide a similar level of performance with much lower power requirements and circuit complexity. Due to the limited phase and magnitude control, however, larger metasurface apertures can be susceptible to strong grating lobes which result from an unwanted periodic magnitude response that accompanies an ideal phase pattern. In this work, we combine antenna theory with analytical modeling of metamaterial elements to mathematically reveal the source of such grating lobes. To circumvent this problem, we introduce a compensatory waveguide feed layer designed to suppress grating lobes in metasurface antenna arrays. The waveguide feed layer helps metasurface antennas approach the performance of phased arrays from an improved hardware platform, poising metasurface antennas to impact a variety of beamforming applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics