Patent 6317094 Issued on November 13, 2001. Estimated Expiration Date: May 24, 2019. Estimated Expiration Date is calculated based on simple USPTO term provisions. It does not account for terminal disclaimers, term adjustments, failure to pay maintenance fees, or other factors which might affect the term of a patent.
A suspended microstrip line structure for feeding a tapered slot antenna has a ground layer separated by means of an air gap from a dielectric slab with a strip line conductor feed running on the surface of the dielectric. The strip line may run along the surface of the dielectric which faces away from the ground layer, or the structure may be inverted such that the strip line runs along the surface of the dielectric which faces the ground layer. These suspended microstrip line structures exhibit lower transmission loss. In another embodiment, a printed transmission line having a slot in its ground layer feeds a tapered slot antenna element which lies in a plane which intersects, and so is not parallel to, the printed transmission line structure. The ground layer slots cut the current on the ground of the transmission line and couple energy from the line to the tapered slot antenna element. Altering the configuration of the ground layer slots allows the antenna to efficiently operate within different frequency bands without changing the dimensions or parameters of the tapered slot antenna or the printed transmission line. The printed transmission line is preferably a suspended microstrip line. One and two dimensional arrays of these antenna elements fed by a parallel beam forming network (BFN) may also be assembled.
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