High reflective materials in the microwave region play a very important role in the realization of antenna reflectors for a broad range of applications, including radiometry. These reflectors have a characteristic emissivity which needs to be characterized accurately in order to perform a correct radiometric calibration of the instrument. Such a characterization can be performed by using open resonators, waveguide cavities or by radiometric measurements. The latter consists of comparative radiometric observations of absorbers, reference mirrors and the sample under test, or using the cold sky radiation as a direct reference source. While the first two mentioned techniques are suitable for the characterization of metal plates and mirrors, the latter has the advantages to be also applicable to soft materials. This paper describes how, through this radiometric techniques, it is possible to characterize the emissivity of the sample relative to a reference mirror and how to characterize the absolute emissivity of the latter by performing measurements at different incident angles. The results presented in this paper are based on our investigations on emissivity of a multilayer insulation material (MLI) for space mission, at the frequencies of 22 and 90 GHz.
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