Accurate Beam Prediction Through Characteristic Basis Function Patterns for the MeerKAT/SKA Radio Telescope Antenna
Journal article, 2013
A novel beam expansion method is presented that requires employing only a few Characteristic Basis Function Patterns (CBFPs) for the accurate prediction of antenna beam patterns. The method is applied to a proposed design of the MeerKAT/SKA radio telescope, whose antenna geometry is subject to small deformations caused by mechanical or gravitational forces. The resulting deformed pattern, which is affected in a nonlinear fashion by these deformations is then sampled in a few directions only after which the interpolatory CBFPs accurately predict the entire beam shape (beam calibration). The procedure for generating a set of CBFPs-and determining their expansion coefficients using a few reference point sources in the sky-is explained, and the error of the final predicted pattern relative to the actual pattern is examined. The proposed method shows excellent beam prediction capabilities, which is an important step forward towards the development of efficient beam calibration methods for future imaging antenna systems.
characteristic basis function patterns