Active Transmitter Antenna Array Modeling for MIMO Applications

Abstract: The rapid growth of data traffic in mobile communications has attracted interests to the Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output (MIMO) communication systems at millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies.  MIMO systems exploit active transmitter antenna arrays for higher energy efficiency and providing beamforming flexibility. The close integration of multiple PAs and antennas increases the transmitter analysis complexity. Moreover, due to the small antenna element spacing at mm-wave frequencies, isolators are too bulky and cannot be used. Therefore, including the effects of interactions between the antenna array and PAs is a significant aspect in the analysis of MIMO transmitters. For large active arrays, applying joint circuit and EM simulation tools for the analysis is a complicated and time-consuming task. In these occasions, behavioral models are the key to the fast and accurate evaluation of active transmitter antenna arrays. In this thesis, a technique for modeling the active transmitter antenna array performance is presented. The proposed model considers the effect of PAs nonlinearity as well as the coupling and mismatch in the antenna array. With this model, a comprehensive prediction of radiation pattern and signal distortions in the far-field is feasible. The model is experimentally verified by a mmWave active subarray antenna for a beam steering scenario and by performing over-the-air measurements. The measurement results effectively validate the modeling technique for a wide range of steering angles.   Furthermore, a linearity analysis is provided to predict transmitter performance in conjunction with beam-dependent digital predistortion (DPD) linearization. The study reveals the model potential in evaluating different DPD approaches as well as predicting the performance of linearized transmitters. The demonstration shows that the variation of nonlinear distortion versus steering angle depends significantly on the array configuration and beam direction. In summary, the proposed model allows for the prediction of the active transmitter antenna array performance in the early design stages with low computational effort. It can provide design guides for developing large-scale active arrays and can be employed for evaluating the DPD and transmitter linearity performance.