This paper presents a novel, easy-to-fabricate and operate, single-layer leaky-wave antenna (LWA) that is capable of digitally steering its beam at fixed frequency using only two values of bias voltages, with very small gain variation and good impedance matching while scanning. Steering the beam of LWAs in steps at a fixed frequency, using binary switches, is investigated, and a new half-width microstrip LWA (HW-MLWA) is presented. The basic building block of the antenna is a reconfigurable unit cell, switchable between two states. A macrocell is created by combining several reconfigurable unit cells, and the periodic LWA is formed by cascading identical macrocells. A prototype HW-MLWA was designed, fabricated, and tested to validate the concept. To achieve fixed-frequency beam scanning, a gap capacitor in each unit cell is independently connected or disconnected using a binary switch. By changing the macrocell states, the reactance profile at the free edge of the microstrip and hence the main beam direction is changed. The prototyped antenna can scan the main beam between 31° and 60° at 6 GHz. The measured peak gain of the antenna is 12.9 dBi at 6 GHz and gain variation is only 1.2 dB.
- binary switch
- Fixed-frequency beam steering
- Leaky-wave antenna (LWA)