The reconfigurable aperture (RECAP) is a reconfigurable antenna consisting of a dense array of electronically controlled elements, which can be manipulated to support many antenna functions within a single architecture. RECAPs are explored herein as an enabling technology for future software defined and cognitive radio architectures, as well as compact wireless devices supporting many bands and services. First, the concept of a parasitic RECAP is developed and analyzed for various communication applications. This begins with the analysis of existing RECAP topologies (e.g. planar and parasitic) using a hybrid method combining full wave simulations and network analysis. Next, a performance versus complexity analysis is performed to assess the use of a parasitic RECAP for the most critical communications functions: pattern synthesis, MIMO communications and physical-layer wireless security. To verify simulation results, a prototype parasitic RECAP is also built and deployed in real propagation environments. Given the potential of adaptive and reconfigurable architectures for providing enhanced security, an idealized reconfigurable antenna is analyzed, resulting in the concept of secure array synthesis. The objective is to find optimal array beamforming for secure communication in the presence of a passive eavesdropper in a static line-of-sight (LOS) channel. The method is then extended to the case of multipath propagation environments. The problem is solved by casting it into the form of a semi-definite program, which can be solved with convex optimization. The method is general and can be applied to an arbitrary array topology with or without antenna mutual-coupling. Due to complexity of the problem, initial attention has been restricted to idealized reconfigurable antennas (smart antennas), where excitation amplitude and phase at each element can be controlled independently. Lastly, reconfigurable antennas are investigated as a solution to support the emerging application of over-the-air (OTA) testing in a low-cost and compact way, resulting in the concept of the reconfigurable over-the-air chamber (ROTAC). First, an idealized two-dimensional ROTAC is analyzed, revealing that the fading distribution, spatial correlation, frequency selectivity, and multipath angular spectrum can be controlled by proper specification of the random loads. Later, a prototype of ROTAC is built to study the fading statistics and angular characteristics of the multipath fields inside a practical chamber.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Reconfigurable antennas, RECAP, OTA testing, MIMO Communications, physical-layer security, secure pattern synthesis, ROTAC, ERRC