Coordinator: Dean Arakaki
The Cal Poly EE Department operates a microwave-band Antenna Anechoic Chamber to complement coursework and projects in the antennas and RF (radio frequency) area. Wireless communications systems continue to experience substantial growth. Cell phones, personal data assistants, and wireless internet connections (wireless fidelity or WI-FI) are now commonly used. These high-technology applications require continuous wireless system advancements; hence, qualified wireless communications, RF/microwave, and antenna engineers are in great demand.
The Antenna Anechoic Chamber Laboratory is available for Fee-For-Services antenna radiation pattern, RF absorber, and S-parameter testing. Students also assist in test configuration development and parametric characterizations. Past projects include:
- Eeonyx Corporation (Pinole, CA) carried out absorber testing in Cal Poly's Antenna Anechoic Chamber on multiple absorber panels: eeonyx-rf-absorber-testing
- Oceanit Laboratories (Honolulu, HI) carried out reflectivity testing in Cal Poly’s Antenna Anechoic Chamber on a multi-layer glass absorber over the 1 to 18 GHz frequency range: oceanit-rf-absorber-testing
The Antenna Anechoic Chamber Laboratory was developed on-campus to provide students entering the wireless area with a practical working knowledge of RF, microwave, and antenna systems. It also offers the local engineering community a low-cost option for wireless system qualification testing.
The new chamber is used to provide an opportunity to apply theoretical concepts presented in antennas and electromagnetics courses. Foundation courses in this area were traditionally taught as theoretical lectures. In keeping with Cal Poly's 'Learn By Doing' principle, a laboratory component--a series of experiments utilizing the chamber--is being developed. Antenna chamber utilization for radiation pattern measurements also supports future antenna research.
The Cal Poly Antenna Chamber supports development activities of other on-campus programs including Cal Poly’s PolySat program and courses involving RF/antenna systems including EE 533 (antennas), EE 502 (microwave systems), and EE 440 (wireless communications). Courses outside the EE department can also utilize the Anechoic Chamber to complement course concepts including AERO 448 (spacecraft design), PHYS 256 (electrical measurements laboratory), and MATH 212 (computational mathematics II).
PolySat Program, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo:
The chamber development itself served as two senior projects and six MS theses, as the project involved extensive planning and construction, RF material characterization, and calibration and operating procedure development.
Absorber Foam and Positioner Donations
Standard Gain Horns
The Cal Poly EE Department provided support in terms of RF absorbers (2' height pyramid shape, 240 ft2), foam adhesive (15 gallons), and student labor. The Antenna Anechoic Chamber measures 20'(L) x 10'(W) x 9'8"(H) and can characterize antennas in the range of 2.4GHz to 20GHz. Completed chamber photos appear below.
Completed Antenna Anechoic Chamber
For More Information
Support for chamber development has been in the form of equipment and material donations from industry totaling over $100k. Donations have included over 300 panels of anechoic chamber absorber foam (both pyramid and wedge shape from Raytheon Systems Company), RF test equipment, antenna azimuthal positioners, controller instrumentation, and software (Deskin Research Corp), and several pairs of standard gain horns spanning the range 1.7GHz to 26GHz (Deskin Research Corp, additional grants).
RF instrumentation including network and spectrum analyzers are currently being sought. To help support continued development of the Cal Poly EE Department Antenna Anechoic Chamber, please contact Dean Arakaki.