QUPES: Tailoring the details of the antenna surface
A reflectarray antenna is a flat or curved reflector surface with printed elements on its surface. Each element is constituted by a chosen unit cell element, defined by certain parameters such as length and width of parts of the unit cell element. The specific design of all unit cell elements on the surface gives the reflectarray antenna its “shape” and the surface its properties, which, in turn, defines the antenna performance. In this sense, the unit cell design of a reflectarray is similar to surface shaping for reflector antennas that may be carried out using TICRA’s POS software.
Around 2009, TICRA was approached by several customers who had an interest in designing reflectarray antennas in our flagship product GRASP. Due to the similarity of (shaped) reflector and reflectarray antennas, TICRA together with DTU – Technical University of Denmark initiated an industrial PhD project, the outcome of which in 2012 became a prototype software.
The prototype software was useful not only for the design of reflectarray antennas, but also for frequency selective surfaces and transmitarray antennas, and was used in numerous research activities and presented at conferences in the following years, resulting in several paper awards. This allowed TICRA together with partners to propose several innovative antenna solutions, including new types of contoured beam antennas, four-colour spot-beam antenna configurations with fewer apertures, and advanced frequency-selective surfaces, among others.
In 2019, the prototype software was further matured and finalised for commercial release as a new product in the TICRA Tools framework. As the software is capable of analysing not just reflectarrays, but in principle any kind of QUasi-PEriodic Surface, the product was called QUPES.
Today, QUPES is the only antenna design tool that can be used for optimising tens of thousands of surface variables for quasi-periodic surfaces. Therefore, QUPES is the tool to consider for designing state-of-the-art reflectarray, frequency-selective surface and transmitarray antennas.