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Title:
RF SIGNAL AGGREGATOR AND ANTENNA SYSTEM IMPLEMENTING THE SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/074999
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The disclosure concerns a signal aggregator component designed to couple with an antenna element to form an antenna system, wherein the resulting antenna system can achieve one-hundred percent or greater efficiency in receiving mode. In addition, the antenna system can achieve specific polarization and gain in different sectors of the antenna radiation pattern. The signal aggregator functions to dynamically enable or disable any number of its RF ports to select the RF input signal to aggregate.

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Inventors:
PAJONA, Olivier (Inc.5501 Oberlin Drive, Suite 10, San Diego California, 92121, US)
DESCLOS, Laurent (Inc.5501 Oberline Drive, Suite 10, San Diego California, 92121, US)
Application Number:
US2018/055129
Publication Date:
April 18, 2019
Filing Date:
October 10, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ETHERTRONICS, INC. (5501 Oberline Drive, Suite 100San Diego, California, 92121, US)
International Classes:
H04B1/16; H01Q23/00
Foreign References:
US20050001760A12005-01-06
US20060234627A12006-10-19
US20110260806A12011-10-27
US20110105055A12011-05-05
US20140127989A12014-05-08
US20120146742A12012-06-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WORKMAN, J., Parks (Dority & Manning, P.A.P. O. BOX 144, Greenville South Carolina, 29602-1449, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A radiofrequency (RF) signal aggregator component, comprising:

a common port;

a plurality of discrete ports;

a plurality of transmission paths, each of the transmission paths connecting one of the discrete ports to the common port such that each of the discrete ports is coupled to the common port via a distinct transmission path extending therebetween;

an RF signal bus, wherein the common port is coupled to each of the plurality of transmission paths at the RF signal bus; and

one or more sub-components integrated in each of the plurality of transmission paths.

2. The RF signal aggregator component of claim 1, wherein the one or more subcomponents comprise a CMOS RF reflective isolator.

3. The RF signal aggregator component of claim 1, wherein the sub-components are individually selected from the group consisting of; a circulator, isolator, diode, transistor, coupler, amplifier, and a gyrator.

4. The RF signal aggregator component of claim 1, further comprising a duplexer integrated within a volume thereof.

5. The RF signal aggregator component of claim 1, further comprising a circulator integrated within a volume thereof.

6. The RF signal aggregator component of claim 1, further comprising an RF' switch integrated within a volume thereof.

7. The RF signal aggregator component of claim 1, further comprising an active component, the active component coupled to one of the transmission paths for matching an impedance of a corresponding discrete port connected to the respective transmission path and active component.

8. The RF signal aggregator component of claim 7, wherein the active component comprises a voltage-controlled tunable reactance component or a switch,

9. The RF signal aggregator component of claim 1, further comprising an active component, the active component coupled to the common port for matching an impedance at the common port for maximizing power transfer therefrom.

10. The RF signal aggregator component of claim 9, wherein the active component comprises a voltage-controlled tunable reactance component.

1 1 . An antenna system, comprising:

a radiofrequency (RF) signal aggregator component including:

a common port;

a plurality of discrete ports;

a plurality of transmission paths, each of the transmission paths connecting one of the discrete ports to the common port such that each of the discrete ports is coupled to the common port via a distinct transmission path extending therebetween;

an RF signal bus, wherein the common port is coupled to each of the plurality of transmission paths at the RF signal bus; and

one or more sub-components integrated in each of the plurality of transmission paths, and

a plurality of receive antenna elements, each of the plurality of receive antenna

elements being connected to one of the plurality of discrete ports of the signal aggregator component,

12. The antenna system of claim 11, said plurality of receive antennas comprising a first receive antenna element disposed at a top of the antenna system; a second receive antenna element disposed at a left-side of the antenna system; a third receive antenna element disposed at a right-side of the antenna system; a fourth receive antenna element disposed at a front-side of the antenna system; and a fifth receive antenna element disposed at a rear-side surface of the antenna system; wherein the antenna system is adapted to receive signals from a plurality of distinct directions.

13. The antenna system of claim 12, wherein at least two of the first through fifth antenna elements comprise distinct circularly polarized radiation patterns.

14. The antenna system of claim 13, wherein each of the first through fifth antenna elements comprises an antenna designed with resonances for GPS or GNSS signal reception.

15. The antenna system of claim 1 1 , further comprising one or more transmit antenna elements.

16. The antenna system of claim 15, wherein the one or more transmit antenna elements are coupled to an RF switch.

17. The antenna system of claim 16, wherein each of the RF switch and the RF signal aggregator component are coupled to a duplexer or circulator. 8. The antenna system of claim 17, wherein the duplexer or circulator is further coupled to an RF connector for connecting with a transceiver.

19. The antenna system of claim 18, wherein one or more of the receive or transmit antenna elements comprises an active multi-mode antenna element.

20. The antenna system of claim 19, wherein the active multi-mode antenna element comprises: band switching, impedance matching, null steering, beam steering, or a combination thereof.

Description:
Inventors: Olivier Pajona; Laurent Desclos Applican 'Assignee: Ethertronics, Inc.

BACKGROUND

[0001] Antenna systems are widely implemented in conventional devices for connecting these devices to cellular networks, wireless local area networks, global positioning, and the like. These antenna systems generally function to receive signals at a receiver circuit ("reception" or "RX"), transmit signals at a transmitter circuit ("transmission" or "TX"), or both receive and transmit at a transceiver circuit.

[0002] The laws of physics dictate that a single passive antenna cannot exceed one- hundred percent efficiency (0 dB). A passive antenna, that is, an antenna with a fixed radiation pattern, cannot create energy, rather it may only shape that energy from one state to another,

[0003] However, if it were possible to circumvent the laws of physics, there is a significant need for an antenna system which achieves one-hundred-percent or greater efficiency, and such would be a groundbreaking innovation. There is further a need for such an antenna system which could maintain a specific polarization in different sectors of its radiation pattern.

SUMMARY

[0004] This disclosure concerns a radiofrequency (RF) signal aggregator component designed to couple with one or more antenna elements to form an antenna system, wherein the resulting antenna system can achieve one-hundred percent or greater efficiency in receiving (Rx) mode. In addition, the antenna system can achieve specific polarization and high gain in different sectors of the antenna radiation pattern.

[0005] The signal aggregator component generally comprises a plurality of transmission paths, each transmission path coupling a common port of the signal aggregator to one of a plurality of discrete ports thereof, such that each of the discrete ports is coupled to the common port via a distinct transmission path extending therebetween. The signal aggregator further comprises an RF signal bus, wherein at the RF signal bus each of the transmission paths may be aggregated. Further implemented between each discrete port and the RF signal bus may be an RF reflective isolator that can be a complementary metal-oxide- semiconductor (CMOS) component or a ferromagnetic material based component . The reflective isolator serves to prevent undesired feedback in the direction of a respective discrete port, and an antenna element configured to be coupled therewith,

[0006] Alternatively, each of the reflective isolators may individually be implemented as a multi-port RF circulator, a diode; transistor; coupler; amplifier; or gyrator.

[0007] In addition, one or more sub-components may be implemented for matching one or more of the discrete ports and the common port, respectively, the sub-components may be individually selected from: a switch, tunable capacitor, tunable inductor, transistor, other voltage-controlled tunable components, and the like as would be appreciated by one having skill in the art.

[0008] In this regard, the signal aggregator functions to dynamically enable or disable any number of its discrete RF ports to select one or more of the RF input signals of the discrete ports, respectively, to aggregate.

[0009] In another aspect of the invention, an antenna system is disclosed comprising one or more RX sub-antennas and up to any number of TX sub-antennas, each RX sub- antenna being coupled to an RF signal aggregator component as disclosed herein. In this regard, each of the RX sub-antennas can be designed with distinct polarization, gain, radiation pattern, and frequency band resonances. As such, the antenna system is capable of being constructed to have radiation pattern properties that would not be achievable with classical passive antenna designs. For example, a circular polarization could be achieved in all directions with an antenna system implementing a plurality of circularly polarized antennas and an RF signal aggregator, whereas a passive antenna can only achieve a circular polarization in a few parts of its radiation pattern.

[0010] In some embodiments, one or more of the sub antennas may comprise an active multi-mode beam-steering / null-steering antenna (herein referred to as a "modal antenna"). Examples of modal antennas are described in commonly owned U.S. Pat. Nos. 9,240,634, 8,648,755; 8,362,962; and 7,911,402, the entire contents of each of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

[001 1] In yet another aspect, a method is disclosed for aggregating signals using the

RF signal aggregator component or an antenna system implementing the same.

[0012] Other features and advantages are herein described in the appended detailed description, BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. l shows an RF signal aggregator in accordance with an embodiment.

[0014] FIG.2 shows an antenna system configured for transmit and receive function, the antenna system implementing an RF signal aggregator in accordance with another embodiment.

[0015] FIG.3 shows an antenna system configured for receive function only, the antenna system implementing an RF signal aggregator in accordance with yet another embodiment.

[0016] FIG. shows the antenna system of FIG.3 configured with multiple distinct polarizations for communicating with a plurality of sources on a GPS or GLONASS network.

[0017] FIG.5 shows an RF signal aggregator with active components for enabling/disabling transmission paths for aggregating and/or for tuning an impedance of each distinct RF port, respectively.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] In furtherance of the details provided above, the following description is provided to enable one having skill in the art to appreciate, make and use the invention as described and distinctly claimed herein. Because the specific combinations of individual features would yield a large number of practical embodiments within which the invention may be practiced, and in the interest of providing the reviewer with a reasonably clear and concise description, only the preferred embodiments will be presented to herein. However, it should be recognized that other embodiments which are not explicitly described herein can be similarly practiced without undue experimentation by one having the ordinary level of skill in the art. As such, any assessment concerning scope of the invention should be directed to the claims as distinctly provided herein, and interpreted considering this specification in its broadest reasonable interpretation and taken into consideration the ordinary level of knowledge and skill in the art. Nothing in this description is intended to be limiting as to the spirit and scope of the invention.

[0019] Now, as indicated above, this disclosure concerns a radiofrequency (RF) signal aggregator component designed to couple with one or more antenna elements to form an antenna system, wherein the resulting antenna system can achieve one-hundred percent or greater efficiency. [0020] In addition, the antenna system can achieve specific polarization and gain in different sectors of the antenna radiation pattern.

[0021] The RF signal aggregator may function to dynamically enable or disable any number of its RF ports to select the RF input signal to aggregate.

[0022] The RF signal aggregator is preferably manufactured as an integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip), which is generally a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon. However, it is possible to implement the RF signal aggregator as a printed or other circuit in accordance with the ordinary level of skill in the art.

[0023] The RF ' signal aggregator, and the antenna system implementing the same, can achieve super-efficient performance on the receive side, for example 0 dB.

[0024] The RF ' signal aggregator is generally not applied to the transmission side of the antenna system, however, an antenna system implementing the RF signal aggregator on the receive side may further implement conventional transmit antennas, for example, with the integration of a duplexer or other technique known to one with skill in the art. In this regard, such an antenna system may implement RF signal aggregation using the RF signal aggregator component, and may further support transmission function.

[0025] The RF signal aggregator generally comprises a plurality of transmission paths, each transmission path coupling a common port of the signal aggregator to one of a plurality of discrete ports thereof, such that each of the discrete ports is coupled to the common port via a distinct transmission path extending therebetween. The signal aggregator further comprises an RF signal bus, wherein at the RF signal bus each of the transmission paths may be aggregated and further directed to the common port. Further implemented between each discrete port and the RF signal bus may be a reflective isolator, such as, for example, a complementar metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) RF reflective isolator or a ferrite based reflective isolator. The reflective isolator serves to prevent undesired feedback signal in the direction of a respective discrete port, and an antenna element configured to be coupled therewith.

[0026] The RF signal aggregator component may comprise a common port and at least two but up to any number "n" discrete ports. Each of the discrete ports is configured to couple a respective antenna element. Each antenna element therefore may obtain a distinct receive signal, and may then communicate the distinct receive signal through the respective discrete port. Each distinct receive signal passes through a reflective isolator, or equivalent sub-component or circuit, for preventing undesired feedback. The distinct signals of each discrete RF port can then be aggregated at the RF ' signal bus and coupled to the common port for connecting to a receiver or transceiver.

[0027] In some embodiments, a switch or other sub component is implemented, and the RF signal aggregator component is adapted to isolate a single transmission path, discrete port and antenna element, such that the isolated path and antenna element may be utilized for signal transmission. Note that in such embodiments, signal aggregation is not performed, rather, the component is configured in reverse to provide a single transmission path (non- aggregated) to transmit a signal. In other embodiments, the RF signal aggregator is not utilized in any state for the purpose of transmission, and instead the signal aggregator component is implemented for receive function only.

[0028] For example, in some embodiments, the common port can be labeled a first port (PI), whereas the discrete ports may be labeled as the second port (P2), thru n tl! port (FN), Each combination of P2P1; P3P1; P4P1; ... ; PNP1 represents a single path (non- aggregated) between the common port and one of the distinct RF ports, and such path and corresponding configuration can be used for transmission function.

[0029] It may be desirable to couple a passive antenna element to each respective discrete RF port of the RF signal aggregator. In this regard, the combination of passive elements can provide a distinct polarization in each sector of the radiation pattern, a benefit which cannot be achieved with a single passive antenna element.

[0030] Alternatively, any one or more of the receive antenna elements and transmit antenna elements may comprise an active multi-mode null-steering/beam-steering antenna element, otherwise known in the art as a modal antenna. The active multi-mode antenna element may further comprise a band switching antenna; an active impedance matching antenna for adjusting to detuning effects; or a beam-steering/null-steering antenna.

[0031] Now, turning to the drawings, FIG. l shows an RF signal aggregator component 10 in accordance with an embodiment. The signal aggregator component 10 comprises a common port 12 and a plurality of discrete RF ports 11a; lib; lie; lid; ... ; lln. While five discrete ports are illustrated, the signal aggregator component may comprise as few as two discrete ports, or as many discrete ports as may physically fit on the component itself; i.e. can be dozens, scores, or even hundreds of discrete ports. Here, each of the five discrete ports ll(a-d, n) is connected to a distinct transmission path 12(a-d, n), respectively. Each transmission path is coupled to a signal bus 14, and the signal bus is connected to the common port 12. A sub-component 13a; 13b; 13c; 13d; ... ; 13n is coupled to each transmission path 12{a~d, si), respectively. [0032] The sub-component 13(a-d, n) may preferably comprise a CMOS RF oneway reflective isolator. Alternatively, the sub-component may comprise: a three-port or four port RF circulator; isolator; diode; transistor; coupler; amplifier; or gyrator.

[0033] While not shown in FIG.l, the RF signal aggregator component may additionally comprise one or more impedance matching techniques or devices to compensate the impedance at the respective discrete ports of the component. In this regard, matching each discrete port may achieve optimal power transfer.

[0034] In addition, the common port may be modified with an impedance matching technique or device to compensate the impedance at the common port of the component. In this regard, matching the common port may achieve optimal power transfer through the component.

[0035] In some embodiments, not shown in FIG. l, the RF ' signal aggregator component may further comprise an embedded a duplexer, circulator, and/or switch to separate receive and transmit streams.

[0036] FIG.2 shows an antenna system 100 configured for transmit and receive function, the antenna system is shown implementing an RF signal aggregator 10. Here, the antenna system may house an RF duplexer or circulator 20, such as for example a three-port circulator, which is further coupled to each of: (i) an RF switch 30 and one or more transmission sub-antenna elements 70a; 70b connected therewith, and (ii) an RF signal aggregator component 10 and a plurality of receive sub-antenna elements 60a; 60b; 60c; . . . ; 60si connected therewith. RX transmission lines 80r, and TX transmission lines 80t are illustrated. The circulator or duplexer is shown being further coupled to an RF connector 40 for further connecting with a transceiver.

[0037] The RF signal aggregator component may contain or embed in its volume an

RF switch, duplexer or circulator, and/or other sub-components therein. Alternatively, as shown, the RF signal aggregator component forms an individual and distinct component that is coupled with an external RF switch, duplexer or circulator, and other components, the combination of which may be commonly housed in an antenna system module.

[0038] The antenna system which comprises a plurality of receive sub-antenna elements coupled to the RF signal aggregator may comprise distinguished antenna elements, that is, each of the receive antenna elements may individually comprise distinct polarization, gain, radiation pattern, and resonant frequencies associated therewith. The receive sub- antenna elements may be the same, or may comprise distinct antennas altogether. [0039] Accordingly, it is possible for the antenna system to comprise radiation pattern properties that would not be achievable with classical passive antenna design, for example, circular polarization could be achieved in all directions, whereas a passive antenna can merely achieve circular polarization in only a few sectors of its radiation pattern,

[0040] FIG.3 shows an antenna system 200 configured for receive function only, the antenna system implementing an RF signal aggregator 10 in accordance with yet another embodiment. Here, the receive antenna system 200 comprises five RX antenna elements, including: a first antenna element 60a positioned on a top surface of a module for implementing the antenna system, a second RX antenna element 60b and third RX antenna element 60e each positioned on opposite sides (left and right, respectively), and fourth and fifth RX antenna elements 60d; 60e, respectively, being positioned at a front side and rear side of the antenna system module. Each of the RX antennas is coupled to a discrete RF port of the RF signal aggregator component 10. The component 10 is further coupled to an RF connector at the common port.

[0041] While the five antennas are shown positioned on multiple sides of a modular antenna system, it is possible to provide the antennas without a common volume or module; i.e. the antennas can be interconnected with supports or otherwise as would be appreciated by- one with skill in the art.

[0042] FIG.4 shows the antenna system 200 of FIG.3 configured with multiple distinct polarizations 250a; 250b, 250c; 250d; and 250e for communicating with a plurality of sources, here satellites 300a; 300b; 300e; 300d; and 300e, respectively, on a GPS or GNSS network. The antenna system is positioned above a ground horizon 225, and due to the plurality of antenna elements may concurrently receive signals from a plurality of satellites in the open sky. Accordingly, by using the antenna system shown and the disclosed RF signal aggregator component, it is possible to capture, concurrently (at the same time), signals from different GPS/GNSS satellites positioned all over the sky.

[0043] FIG.5 shows an RF signal aggregator in accordance with another embodiment, wherein the signal aggregator component comprises active components 15a; 15b; 15c; 15d; . . . ; 15n for enabling/disabling transmission paths for aggregating and/or for tuning an impedance of each distinct RF port, respectively. For example, the active components may comprise control lines 16, wherein a processor can control signals sent to the active components, such as voltage signals, for reconfiguring a state of each of the active components in real time. Here, the state of the active components can be controlled individually to vary a tuning state, for example impedance state, or to vary an "on" / "off characteristic, for example where the active component is a switch. Accordingly, the impedance can be matched or the transmission path can be enabled/disables, depending on control signals provided and the type of active component implemented. Examples of active components may include any voltage controlled tunable reactance component, or switch, or may include a solid-state device, diode, transistor, or other voltage controlled tunable component.

[0044] In yet another application, the antenna system implementing a plurality of receive antennas coupled to a signal aggregator component as disclosed herein may be used to obtain signal in VHF/UHF/FM bands.